Eurovision – only a freak show or a mirror of European music and TV culture

In my last blog article I already told you about my experience at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 in Kyiv while in this article I want to pay more attention to this very TV show. I know that many of you think it’s nothing but a freak show with political voting which has completely nothing to do with music. I know that especially in the United Kingdom many people think like this as the former BBC commentator Terry Wogan only made jokes about it and made the British viewers treat it with a certain ironic distance. I want to show you what’s actually behind this TV show. The story started after the European Broadcastimg Union in Geneva, Switzerland was founded. After the Second World War the TV broadcasters all over Europe wanted to collaborate with each other and exchange TV material for new services. The first programmes being broadcasted to several countries were the so called Narzissenfest in Montreux, Switzerland as well as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in London in 1953. The EBU decided to have a stady reason each year for a collaboration. Looking to Italy were the San Remo Festival is the biggest TV event the French Marcel Bezençon proposed to produce an international music show were singers and composers make a contest in singing. The first edition was held in Lugano, Switzerland back in 1956 and in the following years the show featured stars like ABBA, Celine Dion, Julio Iglesias, Cliff Richard and many more. One of these legends is standing next to me on the picture. That’s the legendary German composer Mister Ralph Siegel who composed songs like Dschinghis Khan in 1979 or A Little Piece for Nicole in 1982. Everyone has his or her individual memories about the Eurovision Song Contest and mine started in 1997 when Katrina & The Waves won the show in Dublin with Love Shine A Light. I heard languages like Danish, Portuguese, Croatian or Hungarian which I have never heard before and this was the huge start of my passion for learning languages, travelling and of course for the Eurovision Song Contest. Since 1997 I didn’t miss any edition and when making city trips I always visit the locations where the show was held. I remember a trip to Copenhagen and Malmö with a colleague who doesn’t watch it at all and she had to go with me to the Malmö Arena where Emmelie De Forest won for Denmark with Only Teardrops in 2013. Travelling through Europe I can give you the advice that it’s much more than only a Freak show and political voting. You can learn something about music styles of each European nation and watching it learn something about quiet unknown countries like Estonia, Latvia or Azerbaijan. It’s a unique chance to discover music scenes from Iceland to Israel. For those of you learning a language it is interesting to listen to a power ballad in Portuguese or a rock song in Finnish. Europe, start travelling now and my 12 points definitely go to the Eurovision Song Contest!



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