Martin Bender Interview: Are You Ready To Party Copenhagen Style?

Ok, step 1, everyone get a cow. Step 2, prepare to milk. Step 3… just kidding.

You may not have heard of Martin Bender, but if you’re a Eurovision fan you soon will. Martin is the man responsible for planning all of the events and activities that will take place around Copenhagen during the Eurovision Song Contest. I recently caught up with Martin and he dished on the city’s plans for EuroClub, a scheme to loan fans bicycles, and the EuroVillage. I’ve summarized the most important bits below, but you can also listen to the full interview at the bottom of this post.

The EuroClub

store_vegaThe Euro Club will be the hottest nightclub in Europe for the two weeks of Eurovision. They have booked Vega which has two concert halls and three or four nightclubs. They will extend what is used based on what is happening, how many people, and what is put on. So the experience will be different most nights. He thinks most of (maybe all) of the acts will perform there on various nights. When else will you have so much talent gathered under one roof anywhere in Europe?

I also asked if the beer selection would be good (in Malmo it was Heineken, which is similar to making love in a canoe – it’s freaking close to water). There are a lot of microbreweries in Copenhagen, so they’ve got the beer. Martin said if the Vega contract does not require just one beer company, then you’ll see beers from all over the world.

The EuroClub will close at 4:00 on the weekdays and 5:00 on the final. So those of you that need to party as late as possible, you get your wish.

Everyone Gets a Bike

Next comes transportation. It will all be set up to make it very easy for cyclists as lots of Danes bike. In addition, if you don’t have a bike, they’ll lend you one (I assume you don’t get to keep it). This is a really interesting idea as you can move a very large number of people simultaneously that way. And it pulls people into the Danish lifestyle where the bike is a central mode of transportation.

They are still working on a transportation plan. They will have ways to get people between the official hotels and the island. It will include buses and boats. You can also walk there from the metro station.

The Fan Mile

Or the Fan 2.2K for those of you on the metric system.

The Fan Mile runs along the major pedestrian street in Copenhagen (see map at top) and will have Eurovision centered activities all along it. The EuroVillage will be located there. They have invited musical groups from the other large cities in Denmark as well as from Australia (the crown princess of Denmark is an Aussie), China, and Germany to give performances along the street. He says this will make all of Copenhagen a giant EuroVillage.

In the EuroVillage they will have large outdoor screens showing the broadcasts. And for the final, they’ll also have large screens outside the city hall. So lots of places to watch it if you don’t have tickets, with several thousand others who are also enjoying the show.

He also mentioned several times that there will be surprises that will challenge us. It might be on a boat in the harbor or on the canals. They clearly have some things planned that they’re not telling us about so it is a surprise. That should be fun.

His focus on a lot of this is to show us the city of Copenhagen as a wonderful place. That’s nice for all of us, but also for them as we then tell all our friends about the great time we had there, and they then come later as tourists.

And What Else?

I asked if someone was going to see one non-Eurovision thing in Copenhagen, what should that person do. He responded that the best is to take a canal tour. That lets you see the amazing architecture, from thousand old buildings to brand new ones. And all of it amazing.

On the topic of the future of the Island, they’re not looking past Eurovision right now. So it will probably be built up in the future, but no plans at present. He also likes how the facility looks at present, as this stark ex-shipyard.

Martin wants to make Copenhagen the benchmark for future Eurovision host cities. But when I asked if they were doing all the right things to make it successful, is reply was that he hopes so but we will have to wait to see. This is a great answer as it means he is evaluating what will work best rather than assuming he knows all the answers. Generally this leads to a much better result.

What Will Make The Best Experience?

Martin ended the interview asking for suggestions on how Copenhagen can be the best ESC host city ever. So please, post any suggestions in the comments here. He has promised to read them.

David T is a Colorado-based correspondent for wiwibloggs.com. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.