The Eurovision Song Contest 2011 from the view of a first-time journalist

It has been almost two months since we have seen this year’s Eurovision Song Contest taking place in Düsseldorf. For me it was a very special Eurovision. It was not only the first time that I had the opportunity to go to a Eurovision Song Contest. No, I was even able to attend it as a journalist.

How did this become possible and how did I experience the time in Düsseldorf?
It all started last year. On May 29th, 2010 Lena won the Eurovision
Song Contest, the second victory for Germany. I had been a Eurovision
fan for a long time before, but I had never been able to go to a contest
and watch it live. Right after Lena’s victory I decided that
this should be the year, but at this time I never believed that it would turn out like

In June I received an e-mail of a friend who asked me if I wanted to join a team of journalists who work for the website He told me that the website existed for a while, but they were still looking for a journalist from Germany. I was surprised and could not believe it. Me? A journalist? Okay, after some doubts and insecurity at the beginning I decided I could at least try it. So the next months I gained some experience in writing articles and in covering national finals. At the beginning of the year I was finally asked whether I would like to go to Düsseldorf. Of course I would, and not only because Düsseldorf was quite near to where I live.

The Eurovision adventure itself started on April 30th. The first team members arrived in Düsseldorf and we arranged a meeting at the arena to pick up our press accreditations. Beside the accreditation everyone received a bag with lots of information and press material. Afterwards we made a short stop at the press centre and planned the next day which would be the first day of the rehearsals. We decided that I should cover the Polish rehearsal – starting no. 1.

When I drove home I was so overwhelmed by everything and just delighted. I was looking forward to the next day, but the following night I actually lived the motto of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest Feel your heart beat. Yes, I really felt my heart beating and it beat fast, the whole night. Suddenly I was so excited and nervous, but somehow I managed to arrive at the press centre on time the following morning.

After passing the security control and leaving the stuff at the team’s table I went straight to the arena. What a feeling to stand inside this huge building! After the sound check the Polish rehearsal started. On day 1 each country was allowed to rehearse 40 minutes on stage. As we were only a few team members during the first few days I had to go straight back to the press centre to write the article about my impressions of the Polish performance before walking back the long way to the arena to cover the Albanian rehearsal. But the first day did not only consist of covering rehearsals. Every participant held a press conference which was a good opportunity to receive further information and to take photos for the website.

Beside covering the rehearsals and following press conferences there were also other tasks and events. Every evening the Euroclub was opened and several countries organized parties. Together with two other team members I was lucky to go to the Dutch party which was held on a boat on Friday, May 6th. It was a great experience to get so close to the participants and to see a lot of them performing on stage.

The next event followed just the day after – the opening ceremony at the Tonhalle. Unfortunately we did not get the permission to get inside, but two of us including myself were still lucky enough to get a red carpet invitation which meant that we were allowed to stand next to the red carpet when the participants walked in. This was a great opportunity to see the artists and take good photos and videos.

On Sunday the probably most biggest challenge waited for me – my first interview. And again I remembered the motto Feel your heart beat. In my case I could have changed it into Feel your knees turn to jelly. I was so nervous because I feared I could forget all the questions I had in mind. But what can I say, it was a very good experience and the guys from Latvia were really nice.

The following week became a little bit more relaxed than the first was. There were only the dress rehearsals left and they started a lot later than the rehearsals during the first week. As a member of the press we were allowed to watch the first dress rehearsals of the two semi-finals and the final in the arena.
The biggest challenge was to stand in a queue of people waiting for the entrance. Once arrived at the arena a fight for the best places began, but when you got a good place near the stage, it was not secure that you could also keep it. Some people from TV stations who had larger cameras also thought they would have the right to stand in the front row. So they tried to push you away which sometimes ended up in discussions.

So what can I say in general about this time? Well, it was very exciting, yes and I collected a lot of experience. In some way it was also exhausting with only a little sleep. But if I could, I would like to turn back the time because I just had the time of my life.

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