The Close Season is now officially…. CLOSED
Over the last few days, we have been sharing stories from a number of national broadcasters revealing details of their national selections, and in some cases, even announcing their artists at this very early stage. Even Junior Eurovision has now drawn to a close. Before we know it, Albania will be hosting the Festivali i Kenges and at that point we will be officially into the intense rollercoaster of the National Final season.
So what has been happening since that day in May 2017 when Salvador Sobral gave Portugal their first ever Eurovision win?. Have Eurovision fans taken a deep breath, relaxed and forgotten about the contest for 6 months?, for some maybe, but for many Eurovision fans there is no true ‘off-season’. In reality, the months of June to November can be seen as the ‘party season’ or the ‘convention season’.
Over recent years, a number of events have stood out as the top go-to events attracting fans from all parts of the continent and further afield, attracting strong line ups of Eurovision artists, and other fun activities to keep fans entertained until the next set of national finals begin. These events are also important to Eurovision artists, who are always keen to keep in touch with their fanbase.
This year, members of our team were excited to be able to attend a few of these events, and we will be sharing our thoughts and recommendations. Starting with Eurostarz in Concert, London’s most recent addition to the ‘off-season’ schedule.
Eurostarz in Concert is now in its second year, and is fast becoming one of the top draws for fans wanting their summer fix of eurovision. This year the Eurostarz team summoned a great, and diverse line up with guests including Anne-Marie David (Lux 1973); Anjeza Shahini (Alb 2004); Mihai Traistariu (Rom 2006) and Kurt Calleja (Malta 2012). They were joined by UK preselection artists Selena Mastroianni (2017) and Karl William Lund (2016). Karl also acted as the compere for the evening.
The artists all performed their eurovision songs, but we were also treated to covers of other eurovision classics (including a fantastic medley performed by all the artists together), album tracks, new material, and even a few show tunes!
We were lucky enough to be able to interview each of the acts, and ask them why events like this are so important in their calendars. Look out for those interviews over the next few days.
Eurovision Weekend: Berlin Now in it’s sixth year, the Eurovision Weekend is becoming one of the biggest get-togethers for fans. Organised annually by the German fan groups (OGAE Germany and EC Germany) and in collaboration with another international group. Following on from Finland, Israel, UK, Denmark and The Netherlands, this year it was Malta’s turn to co-host.
The weekend saw live performances from Claudia Faniello; Kurt Calleja; Glen Vella; Alex Feige and Martina Barta, but it also saw an opportunity for the fans themselves to be the stars of the show. The OGAEvision contest is a key part of the weekend and enables each OGAE group to nominate a singer to sing a cover of a eurovision song.
Keep an eye on their site at http://www.eurovision-weekend.de/ to see who they will team up with next year!.
The Eurovision Cruise – Organised by OGAE finland and in it’s eighth year, The Eurovision Cruise is a gathering with a difference. Acts are booked to perform on the ship as it sails from Helsinki to Tallinn and back again, with eurovision karaoke and disco throughout the evening. Not everyone booked on the trip is there for the Eurovision themed events, many are just local people taking a chance to stock up on cheap drinks, but everyone gets into the Eurovision spirit.
This year the team booked not one, but two Eurovision winners – Alexander Ryback and Ruslana. They were joined by a number of artists from this year’s contest – Sunstroke Project from Moldova; Koit Toome from Estonia and of course Finland’s own representative – Norma John.
The organisers also arrange for entertainment either side of the cruise itself to make it a weekend long event, with a club night on the Friday evening, and a pre-cruise lunch on board a smaller boat, of course with a eurovision DJ!
The Eurovision cruise has been a highlight in the calendar for a number of years and has attracted a number of big name artists including Loreen, Charlotte Pirelli and Nicki French.
Eurofest – Whilst the big annual events are great, sometimes we need more regular opportunities to meet up with fellow fans and friends to dance the night away to our favourite Eurovision songs, and London’s EuroFest gives us just that. Held four times a year, and attracting fans from across the continent, they offer a selection of the best eurovision and europop, often with a special guest.
Guest stars have included Eurovision acts and stars from Melodifestivalen, as UK fans seem to have a real fondness for schlager and all things swedish. The most recent addition to the list was Poli Genova, following on from Dinah Nah, Magnus Carlsson, Hera Bjork, Omar Naber and Nicki French. Keep an eye on their website at http://www.eurofest.org.uk/ for news of the next event!
So it’s true that there really is no such thing as the ‘off-season’, Eurovision truly is an all-year round occasion. Of course these are just a few of the growing number of regular ‘off-season’ events for fans, and there are many others we will be looking to try out next year, but we’ll certainly be returning to each of these events. Have you been to any others recently that you would recommend, or have you any other highlights from the ‘off-season’?, if so let us know in the comments section.