The year was 2003 when I visited the Eurovision host city for the very first time. I was so proud of my press accreditation, and my family couldn’t really relate to what I was doing in Riga. A total of seventeen Eurovision I’ve attended so far, including one Junior. After all those years, I was home to watch a Semi-Final for the first time ever.
And it was awesome!
But with nine years of behind the scenes work at Eurovision, and another six years of hobby journalism on my belt missing out isn’t all good. So here are some thing to consider if you’re considering to attend, or not attend, for the first time next year.
Pro: Enjoying the shows on TV
As I had been experiencing every single detail being prepared by seeing rehearsal after rehearsal, I had been destroying the element of surprise for myself. I had seen how the camera work got better at every run through. How backdrops, props and dancers were replaced or removed as they didn’t quite have the desired effect. I’ve followed Spidercam around in awe and saw what that marvel of engineering could do.
I had seen the postcards, the interval acts, the opening sequence, heard every joke the hosts had to tell – all at least three times! I barely watched the finished products, the live shows, as I had seen it all anyway.
The biggest pro for not attending Eurovision would be the opportunity to watch the shows live on TV, as they should be, without being spoiled by any intermediate results.
Pro: Getting enough sleep
Another huge pro for staying at home for those two magical weeks of May is actually getting enough sleep. Attending the Eurovision host city, especially with a (semi) professional purpose, is tiring. Long days of hard work that start early, parties and receptions in the evening and footage to edit at night does take its toll.
Con: Missing out on the buzz
At the press center, at lunch, at dinner, in the morning, at parties, all the time everybody you meet for those two weeks is thinking about one thing: Who will win the Eurovision Song Contest. They tell you their favourites, and listen to yours. You share stories about what that one artist did at that one party, and how unexpectedly nice the other artist is. You complain together about this year’s Valentina Monetta song, or are sad because she’s not taking part for San Marino this year.
All of that conversation scored by rehearsal after rehearsal, previous Eurovision songs in dance remixes and the aforementioned jokes from the host while you try to create the most awesome content for your website or Facebook profile.
It’s the buzz I miss the most. Not much buzz going on here, at my home office.
In a way I had been looking forward to an Israeli win for many years, hoping to get some really good falafel down there. And in general, I love trying out new dishes so that’s certainly a major drawback of eating at home at the dinner table.
Con: Seeing a Eurovision production in action!
Missing out on seeing the immense TV production being build up is tough. Especially during my crew years, witnessing all those props, lighting rigs, the latest and greatest in camera technology really put a smile on my face.
At each of the seventeen Eurovisions I’ve been to, I’ve enjoyed walking around and seeing all those crew members knowing exactly what to do. Many of them largely unaware of how exactly their work fits into the bigger picture, but just knowing that it does is enough. Thousands of small and large contributions combined into almost 8 hours of top notch television
Pro: All the promotional material
Yes, indeed – I consider it an advantage to not get all those promo CD’s, booklets, DVD’s, bags, caps, buttons, scarves, flutes, mugs, cups, lanyards, signs, posters, mustaches, beards, picture frames and whatever else I may have forgotten. It’s fun to receive, but at home most of it just ends up in a box that I’d rather not throw away; it’s all very cool stuff after all. So in a way, it’s better to not have it in the first place.
But I do miss the chocolates!
Con: Not seeing “The Family”
The press, fans, delegations, artists, regular crew members is almost like one big happy family. Of course there are the cool aunts and uncles, and the lesser cool ones. A distant cousin you really get on with well, and closer relatives you don’t connect as well with as you should. But it’s like that in every family. In the end, if you ever feel down and need support you just know that you can rely on your Eurovision family.
And it’s a family that only meets, in full, for those two weeks of May. Should I return to my habit of attending Eurovision next year, there are many “family” members I would have not seen for two years.
Pro: Game of Thrones
Had I been at Eurovision, I’d have had to put off watching the latest episodes of Game of Thrones as I would have been way too tired to watch it anyway. This would almost certainly exposed me to spoilers posted in the media, on Facebook and in particular from all those review, recap and WTF videos on YouTube.
Pro: Using my vacation day on vacation
Since quitting my contract at Eurovision.tv and, mostly stopping doing freelance work and starting a regular office job I’ve had to use two out of my five paid vacation weeks on Eurovision. Not doing that this year allows me to actually take the same amount of time off from work to relax instead of working even harder under the Eurovision pressure.
But hey, what’s the pressure!