Eurovision Pre-Party Riga 2017: Press conference over…and the concert awaits!

Sveiki, Latvia! And hello, Europe! The Eurovision Pre-Party Riga 2017 takes place on Saturday evening at 20:00 local time, officially marking the start of the Eurovision pre-party season. Five of this year’s competing acts — Naviband from Belarus, Martina Barta from Czech Republic, Triana Park from Latvia, JOWST from Norway and Kasia Mos from Poland — will do their best to make a solid first impression. They’ll share the stage with Eurovision 2016 star Justs and Eurovision 2004 winner Ruslana. It snowed this morning, but the heat is most definitely on…

Earlier this morning journalists — including wiwibloggers William and Edd — joined Martina and JOWST for a sightseeing tour of the city.

When we saw JOWST in front of the National Opera we just had to grab the moment and say hey hei haaaay.

The hands-on performers were full of good cheer, despite rocking mostly black outfits. Black is the new black, y’all!

We also had the good luck of rubbing shoulders with “My Turn” singer Martina Barta, whose bold red lip drew us over like a moth to a flame.

The girl is understated but she still sizzles as you can see in this photo. And yes: Unlike in her Eurovision 2017 video, she was fully clothed.

After a very soggy morning it was time for the press conference, where we had our first chance to see a large group of Eurovision 2017 singers together on the same stage.

The guys from Belarus and Norway were clearly very excited, and they took a moment to snap the audience of bloggers, journalists and cameramen before them. Awww.

If you’ve got 26 spare minutes, you can watch the entire press conference below. They acts all say what Eurovision means to them, sound off on which pre-parties they are most looking forward too and let us know what other songs they’ll be singing tonight. JOWST make it clear they’ll be singing just one song. After all, they’ve only known each other for two months…

Unfortunately Kasia Mos was having issues with her flight in Krakow and the severe delay meant that she hadn’t yet landed in Riga. But we look forward to hearing her slay this evening.

Ruslana is a big deal. So it’s only natural that organisers decided to give her her very own press conference.

She encouraged visitors not to read into negative headlines about Ukraine and expressed her wish for people to see the beautiful Ukraine that she knows.

Early on during her press conference, a journalist asked for her thoughts about Ukraine’s ban on Russia’s Yulia Samoylova. She said that Ukraine was “absolutely right” to ban the singer because “it’s about Ukrainian law.”

We pulled out that segment of her press conference above. But she had lots of other things to say, so be sure to check out the full Ruslana press conference video.

“I think all Ukrainians are waiting for this moment,” she said.

“It’s very important for us to feel that Europe is with us. We are Europe and Europe is with us. It’s for us an event that is more than a music celebration. It means we stay together.”

She’s confident the show will come off without a hitch.

“At the same time I am happy about the team who try to organise Eurovision to the best…I am happy about the team of EBU and I have a lot of meetings with the production group, and I know that a lot of Ukrainian young musicians want to show the new music from Ukraine.”

You can watch all of our interviews from Riga in the playlist below.

Watch more Eurovision videos on the wiwibloggs YouTube channel