We hope Jon Ola Sand has comfortable shoes.
On July 25 and 26 Eurovision’s big boss snaked his way through Dnipro, Kyiv and Odesa — the three cities shortlisted by NTU to potentially serve as Eurovision 2017 host city. Along with the Organising Committee from NTU, he took in the atmosphere of each city, poured over their transport infrastructure and spoke with construction workers in neon green vests. Eurovision isn’t all glitter and sequins, y’all…
In the video above, released by NTU, you can follow Mr Sand’s the journey through Ukraine and take a peak inside the arenas.
Naturally there’s a cameo from Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko. As you’ll remember from our Eurovision 2013 coverage, he’s a huge fan of Zlata Ognevich.
After visiting each of the potential host cities the J.O.S. sat down for a brief interview about his experience and his view on the candidates. We’ve had a listen and paraphrase his most important impressions below.
First of all Jon Ola Sand — or as Lynda Woodruff would say, “Jon Ola-la-la Sand” — is confident that Eurovision in Ukraine will slay. Even if there’s a lot to be done — like renovating entire venues — he feels so much enthusiasm from those involved. So all of you freaking out over Ukraine’s ability to host the contest and to keep fans and contestants safe amid ongoing political tensions with Russia should really chillax.
The capital has fantastic infrastructure, two large airports and experience hosting major events.
But it’s not all sweetness and light. Jon Ola doesn’t feel that the city is 100% ready with regards to secondary Eurovision venues, including the press center and Euroclub.
Even the main performance venue has come under fire. In the video above you can see the Palace of Sports, which hosted Eurovision in 2005 and its Junior edition in 2009.
As the commentator says, nothing has changed since then… ouch! A major renovation is required. Failing that, the city plans to use its massive Exhibition Centre as a plan “B”.
Dnipro faces the same problem. Its proposed venue — the EuroArena — isn’t entirely built yet, but will have a capacity of up to 9,500 when completed.
They city — which is perhaps best-known for producing Soviet-era military equipment from the 1950s onward — isn’t a natural tourist hotspot. As such it doesn’t have the extensive hotel and tourist infrastructure that Kyiv does.
But the big boss says he appreciates their enthusiasm and sees a real desire to expand the local airport to accommodate passenger flow.
Jon Ola thinks Odessa is beautiful. But the arena isn’t ready and it currently lacks a roof.
Officials want to convert Chornomorets Stadium into a concert hall by adding a roof. That’s a big improvement over the tent-like roof they initially planned, which drew sniggers from plenty of Eurovision fans.
— ESCSamuel (@ESCSamuel) July 22, 2016
The city plans to put the Eurovision Village right next to the arena in Shevchenko park, and those Euro-cars in the above video will serve as the official Eurovision transport. Nice ride with great views – easily Odessa’s greatest asset.
Unfortunately, Jon Ola refused to name his personal favourite, towing the line in Miss Universe style and praising each of the cities. As you do.
But what is your opinion? Which of the potential host cities convinced you the most? Let us know in the comments section below.