Romania has forgotten its first ever non-qualification and is planning to continue its centennial celebrations with the revival of the Eurovision-inspired singing festival Cerbul de Aur (Golden Stag). Eurovision alums Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Lidia Isac and John Karayiannis are among this year’s candidates — as well as a host of other national selection entrants from the UK, Armenia, San Marino, and so on.
The festival was born 50 years ago, in 1968. Loosely inspired by Eurovision — which Romania was not a part of until 1994 — the Golden Stag quickly became the most important music competition in Eastern Europe. It also attracted young talents from the West, most notably Julio Iglesias. Ever since its inception, the festival has been taken place in the Transylvanian city of Brasov, which also hosted the Selectia Nationala final in 2014.
This year, the festival will take place between 29 August – 2 September, in Brasov’s Sfatului Square.
The Golden Stag has been running from 1968 to 1971, then from 1992 to 1997, from 2001 to 2005 and from 2008 to 2009. This year, TVR aims to resurrect the singing competition once more and restore its glory days.
Unlike the Eurovision, which is a song contest, the Golden Stag festival is a singing contest and there is no televote. However, the festival has always been wildly popular among Romanians, primarily because of its pomp that aims to emulate Italy’s Sanremo.
This year, a jury will choose a winner who will go home with the trophy and a cash prize of 25,000 euro. Other prizes will also be awarded, to the total amount of 65,000 euro.
This year, 18 candidates from 15 countries will fight for the trophy. These are:
- Inis Neziri (Albania)
- Amaliya Margaryan (Armenia)
- Kaye Olivier Fabian C (Belgium)
- John Karayiannis (Cyprus)
- Kelly-Joyce Bale (France)
- Ryan O’Shaughnessy (Ireland)
- Omer Netzer (Israel)
- Damiano Borgi (Italy)
- Tiziana Camelin (Italy)
- Dinara Kairova (Kazakhstan)
- Antonia Gigovska (FYR Macedonia)
- Karl William Lund (Great Britain)
- Lidia Isac (The Republic of Moldova)
- Dora Gaitanovici (Romania)
- Ovidiu Anton (Romania)
- Raluca Blejusca (Romania)
- Sebastian Schmidt (San Marino)
- Jorge Gonzalez (Spain)
Eurofans will quickly recognise Eurovision alums like this year’s Irish act Ryan O’Shaughnessy, the 2015 singer from Cyprus John Karayiannis, as well as Moldova’s 2016 representative Lidia Isac. Moreover, we recognise the names of Selectia Nationala winner from 2016 Ovidiu Anton, the Selectia Nationala 2018 hopefuls Dora Gaitanovici and Tiziana Camelin, as well as this year’s Albanian FiK candidate Inis Neziri and Armenia’s Depi Evratesil singer Amaliya Margaryan. Also, Karl William Lund from UK’s Eurovision: You Decide national selection will also be vying for the Golden Stag trophy, alongside Sebastian Schmidt, Jessika and Jenifer’s backing singer in Lisbon. Antonia Gigovska was also a backing vocalist for Eye Cue. Last but not least, Jorge Gonzalez might very well be the Spanish singer whose claim to fame is Operación Triunfo. So Romania’s Golden Stag will feel like a Eurovision party, chock-full of familiar faces!
The 18 artists have been chosen from a pool of 111 candidates from 22 countries by an expert jury. Between 30 August – 1 September, the 18 singers will perform two songs each, one in Romanian and one in their native tongue, a stage that has been a permanent feature of the festival from its inception. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see the likes of Ryan O’Shaughnessy perform in Romanian.
In the past, famous singers like Tom Jones, Diana Ross, Christina Aguilera and Patricia Kaas have been performing as guest stars. For Romania’s centennial year, the Golden Stag stars will be local: Delia, Andra, Loredana, Horia Brenciu, The Motans, Carla’s Dreams and Romania’s Eurovision 2018 act The Humans will grace the stage for special performances.
The Golden Stag festival will be broadcast live by TVR, also online on tvrplus.ro.
Will you be following Romania’s Golden Stag festival? Are you excited about the line-up? Let us know in the comments!