Seeing as I’ve been INCREDIBLY lucky to secure tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 (I mean, I got Semi Final 2 Preview Tickets, but for a first Eurovision, I’ll take what I can get…), I think now is a good time to start a blog series about Eurovision and the progress of my journey for the next 5 months. Yes, that will mean that my blog will SLIGHTLY shift from pure, unfiltered travel stories and recommendations to include some fun ESC Content!
Now that I’m living on mainland Europe, I’ll be certainly trying my best to attend some pre-Contest events. Living in Cologne, I’m truly not too far away from places like Amsterdam which hosts, by all accounts, a pretty lit pre-Party called “Eurovision in Concert” which has performances from Eurovision legends and some of the upcoming ESC performers. Or a trip to Madrid could be on the cards too for the PrePartyES. Besides the pre-Contest events occurring, there is also the National Selections across Europe which take place, for the most part, from January to March across the EBU network of nations.
So yes, although the proceeding content will be Eurovision-centered, it will include hints, tips and suggestions to get you traveling for perhaps some ESC Events! I mean, seven years ago, in the first iteration of my blog, I tried to write content about Eurovision Season but it was so broad and not really helpful! So who knows, this may develop into something more…
First and foremost, let me get into the reasoning behind this shift in content and my background with the Eurovision Song Contest…
Background with ESC
Keeping in mind that I have some readers who are from outside Europe, the Caucuses and Australia, I’ll first give a brief overview about the Eurovision Song Contest and why it has successfully, albeit with some disdain throughout the years, stayed as a staple of international culture.
In 1956, based on Italy’s Sanremo Festival, the European Broadcast Union decided to create an international song competition with the aim of cross-cultural participation, integration and to showcase talent of each country on a massive stage. It started in 1956 with just 7 participating countries and has gone on to feature 52 countries at least feature once and to have expanded to broader markets Australasia, West Asia and Caucasia.
The current format of the Song Contest sees, across Jury Shows, 2 live-broadcasted Semi Finals and a broadcasted Grand Final, each participating country submit and perform an original song, with competing countries voting via the general public and selected jurors for other countries to determine each years’ winner!
In its upcoming 68th year, the Eurovision Song Contest has become the largest and longest running televised musical competitions as well as one of the longest running television shows. Across its 60+ year history a number of internationally renowned artists have come through the Eurovision mill including: Celine Dion, ABBA, Cliff Richard, Julio Iglesias, Olivia Newton John and has created cultural icons across Europe like Conchita Wurst, Eleni Foureira, Dana International and Loreen. From an economic point of view, the amount of money brough to various cities and countries throughout the plethora of Contest-related events is pretty staggering, with a city like Liverpool (host of the 2023 Contest) receiving reported a £55 million boost to the local economy.
The Eurovision Song Contest was something I grew up watching with my mother and grandmother for many years and in my early teens, was something I weaned myself away from (y’know, didn’t want to come across as weird in school…), and eventually became a staple in my calendar when I started to surround myself with folks from different countries through programs like Erasmus etc. In situations like that, it is quite interesting to see the perception of the contest through the eyes of Swiss people or Italians.
In recent years, excluding Covid obvs, I have been partial to having Eurovision-style parties, viewing parties or just trying to make the most out of the experience. The 2019 edition of the contest saw me co-host a Eurovision party with a number of international guests and watching the contest surrounded by food and drinks from Spain, Canada, Italy and lots of flags! The 2022 edition saw a more intimate setting of a small house party with some German, Austrian and French friends enjoying dinner whilst we routed for our respective favourites.
In short, the Eurovision Song Contest has been a unique staple in my calendar and allows me to geek out to cool pop music and interact with a lot of my international friends! I’m fortunate enough to have friends scattered across the world, a number of whom enjoy the contest as much as I do so it’s always fun to participate in remote games and do some fun activities. At the end of the day, the contest is absolutely about coming together, so with that, I may do a follow up post on Eurovision-themed parties.
If you’re an ESC Fan, you’ll be aware that getting tickets for the contest is no easy feat. For those who aren’t familiar with ESC ticketing, did you try to get tickets to any of Taylor Swift’s Era Tour shows? Yeah. That. For the past couple of years, it was always a running issue about the scarcity of tickets, the fault in certain platforms, the incredible demand for tickets and the issue of bots buying tickets and reselling on third party websites for 3 or 4 times the price.
For me, once Loreen was announced the winner of the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest, I reserved a hotel room for myself in Stockholm (with free cancellation) in hopes it would be chosen as the host city. And if it had been chosen, my hotel was incredibly well located and I would have been the envy of many with it. However, the contest was chosen to be held in Malmö. Once I saw this, literally 20 minutes after it had been announced, I went to reserve a room in Malmö but they WERE ALL GONE! I had to reserve a cute little hotel room in Copenhagen instead, which arguably isn’t the worst decision as I’ve never been to Denmark and I get to explore when I’m not partying.
My plans were simple: Plan A: Try and secure tickets. Plan B: Go anyway and go to the clubs to party but also be jealous of people going to the shows.
On November 23rd, it was announced that tickets will go on sale on November 28th at 10am via Ticketmaster Sweden. Cool. 5 days to emotionally prepare and lie to myself that “it’s okay if I don’t get any”. And to stabilize myself for the anger that would materialize from the inevitable failure that Ticketmaster processing usually provides.
I logged onto Ticketmaster Sweden at 9.30am on November 28th, without having had coffee may I add, so I was ready to fight for these tickets. I was checking Twitter/X in the meantime and that sense of “coming together” came rushing to me when I saw hundreds of people also anxiously waiting for the ticket sale to open.
09:59. My NERVES. I mean, the fact I could, after many many years, be finally going to Eurovision?! Wild.
10:00: The gates of, what I can only describe as, HELL opened. “You are in the Queue! There are 182,945 PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU. I mean, it’s cool to think that this many people were anxious to get tickets as well as I was. According to my X feed, I was somewhat lucky because some people were 300,000+ in their queue 💀.
I kept my laptop open and went about my day. Took another sleep for a little bit. Laundry. Done some shopping. 12 Midday: Still around the 100k mark. My hopes of getting live semi or live final tickets had well and truly faded but I stuck it out.
14:00: I checked back and I was 1,000th in the queue and I got flustered SO FAST. I psyched myself up for rejection. And once I got through to the ticket sale area, I was in a mad panic to see what was available but also bracing myself for the colossal price and thinking about whether or not it was worth plunging into crippling debt for.
After 5 or so minutes of scrambling and seeing nothing left for Live Semi or Live Final shows, I finally was successful in securing 2x tickets for the Live Semi Final Evening Preview on Wednesday! I mean… it’s not what I had set out for but… I’M GOING TO EUROVISION! And a Preview Show, for me, means I can watch it and then watch along with people at the clubs on Thursday whilst have an epic time in Malmö + Copenhagen! For my first time attending an ESC host city during the contest and getting a taste of it, I’m sure it’s setting me up for more contests in the future!
I’ve since signed up to the OGAE (Eurovision Fan Club) so we’ll see how I get on with that for parties and such!
Upcoming Travel with David ESC Content
Now that I am DETERMINED to keep up with my blog and regularly (as possible) post new content, I’m still deciding what kind of content I wish to make. I’m thinking to join the ranks of joining the ranks of other Eurovision bloggers/content creators in reviewing national finals, doing rankings, doing opinion pieces on the contest and it’s developments.
I’m camera-shy in regard to recorded content (ironic considering my appearances on my former workplaces’ TikTok) but I’m considering doing some TikTok posts on the contest and my upcoming travels across Europe! Who knows, I may apply for Press Credentials then 🤣
I’ll do more research on how I want this avenue of blog posts to go and the tone/style I’ll use for it and whether or not I’ll do recorded content also.
Be sure though, more content will be coming up on my current adventure of living in Germany, tips and tricks and write ups on trips I’ve taken and not posted on yet!