February 11 doesn’t just mark three sleeps until Valentine’s Day. It also marks 100 Days to Eurovision! And today Eurofans around the world are using the hahstag #100DaysToEurovision to celebrate the contest. Some of you are sharing what the contest means to you, while others are sharing their favourite memories — whether that’s in the host city or on the sofa watching at home. So, in the spirit of togetherness, some of us thought we’d pause to share some of our favourite times and experiences inside this crazy, beautiful circus.
🇬🇧 Oliver: Watching Conchita Wurst win Eurovision 2014
I’ve always found solace in music, and Eurovision remains my favourite way of discovering new music. For a long time, that’s all it was. But something changed in 2014. As a young queer person struggling with my sexuality and fighting through serious episodes of depression, anxiety and loneliness, watching Conchita Wurst win in Copenhagen was truly inspiring. “Rise Like a Phoenix” filled 17-year-old Oliver with hope for his future. Europe embraced Conchita, an openly queer person, without question. And that was one of the early steps in allowing myself to embrace my own queerness. Since then, I’ve been welcomed into a community filled with people just like me. Eurovision played a big part in helping me find my identity, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
— Oliver Adams (@AlphaOliver_) February 9, 2021
🇸🇪 Tobias: Attending the press centre in Stockholm 2016 watching Ukraine win
The Eurovision Song Contest 2016 is, without a doubt, THE most memorable event I have ever experienced in my life! Hands down, it was the most intense and hectic two weeks I have ever experienced, but a memory that will last forever. To finally be part of the Eurovision family in real life, especially in my hometown, was a dream come true. Never ever would I have imagined how big Eurovision really is. It felt like the Olympic Games seeing tourists from all over the world dressed up in their national flags filling the streets of Stockholm. There was a magical atmosphere embracing the whole city. I have never felt so good as I did during these two weeks. Every day was packed with different events at Euroclub and of course our very own #wiwijam at Hard Rock Cafe (which was a huge success with stars like Sergey Lazarev, Amir and Serhat singing for the crowd and hanging out with us bloggers backstage). Besides all the partying and attending events I had the privilege to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world who I still remain friends with today. If I could I would rewind to these two weeks over and over again just so that I could re-live those special moments. I fell in love with Eurovision even more and I remember it being so exciting to be able to watch all the rehearsals in the arena and meeting all the competing artists and their teams. I found this video on my Instagram account and wanted to share it with you guys. It really catches the whole atmosphere of the press centre during the voting just before Ukraine wins. It was a magical time.
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🇺🇸 Josh: An expanding love of music, language, and cultures different from my own
I’ve always had a desire to know about other cultures and people different from myself (which isn’t always easy in my area of the world). As an über Celine Dion fan, I always knew that she got her big break by winning Eurovision in 1988, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I was able to access a live feed of the contest. Watching Conchita and The Common Linnets captivate the audience in different ways lit the flame of interest to know more about Eurovision. Then in 2015, I started watching official music videos and discovered artists like Il Volo and Polina Gagarina (who I am now a devoted fan of). By 2018, I started paying attention to national finals, and now I look forward to the selection each and every country makes every year. I fall in love with new songs, artists, languages, and music styles over and over again, and have become friends with so many wonderful people from so many different places. Each new season is like opening a new present. My eyes, mind, and heart have been opened in ways I could never have expected, and I owe it all to the contest for that.
🇳🇱 Renske: Connecting with Eurovision fans through Wiwibloggs
I started on Wiwibloggs as a commenter in 2013. In September 2020, I celebrated my sixth anniversary of being a blogger. Our readers have taught me a lot about different Eurovision songs in the past. Moreover, I’ve loved their *very opinionated* takes on a wide variety of national finals. I even found my boyfriend among our loyal readers (or rather he found me). I’ve always tried to come up with creative ideas for articles for our readers (and have spent a month on some of them in the past), and it’s the greatest gift in the world to have a person comment “This is interesting, thank you” after publication. (Oh, and I also loved having the privilege of going to Eurovision in Concert almost every year since 2015 with my friends, which is how I first met fellow Wiwiblogger Esma!)
🇻🇪 Pablo: A bright, big adventure
It’s bewildering how big of a thing ESC became to me. From meeting my current best friend to getting me in one pretty awesome writing group, the contest has expanded my musical and cultural horizons in a way that I would have never thought possible. It is really something I look forward to every year — a reason to connect with friends, enjoy music and get lost in the spectacle. Even if it’s just a week, it feels like a lifetime.
🇬🇧 Tom: Letting go of insecurities and finding new friends
People have always questioned why I like Eurovision — then I get judged for it. “It’s so cheesy”, “It’s bad music”, etc. At times in the past, I really worried what certain people may think of me. As an actor, I always want to be respected by my peers. Though I have been to the contest several times in the past, it was only when I found wiwibloggs a few years ago and joined this wonderful wiwi-family that I completely let go of any Euro-insecurities. Now I don’t give a tiny rat’s backside what anyone thinks of my love for Eurovision.
Which brings me to my friendship with wiwiblogger Lucy Percy and her fiancé Adil. They have both become incredible friends and I love having them in my life. Lucy is my Eurovision sister and I cannot wait to attend her wedding next year.
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🇳🇿 Robyn: Finding my tribe
As Eurovision fans in New Zealand or Australia will know, going to Eurovision don’t come easy and it don’t come cheap. There are no budget airlines on those routes and it requires at least 24 hours of flight, during which maybe you might get a little sleep. But you get there in the end and perhaps that’s journey is what make the experience even sweeter. When I first arrived in Stockholm in 2016 and made my way to the press centre, it felt like a magical moment, arriving at the converted ice hockey arena and finding the table with the wiwibloggs team and meeting people I admired from other Eurovision blogs. And again in 2018, it was the magic of spending a fortnight with a group of people who are completely obsessed with the same thing you’re obsessed with. This certainly isn’t unique to the Eurovision fandom, but the lesson is, even if you have to travel to the other side of the world to meet your tribe, it’s worth it!
🇮🇸 Kristín: My beloved people
My first time attending Eurovision was in Copenhagen 2014, and my oh my, the feeling of walking into the bubble, surrounded by people with the same passion as me was indescribable! I’ve been to the contest three more times since then, both as a journalist as well as a fan, meeting up with other fans and Eurovision stars. Making friends who will stay in my life forever, regardless of distance. And speaking of friends…after joining wiwibloggs in 2013! (Jeez, time flies!), my favorite moments of every single Eurovision I’ve been to are meeting my people from the blog. We interact with each other all year round, discussing Eurovision, supporting each other and having a laugh, and to be able to see those magnificent human beings, hug them, laugh and enjoy our time together is just priceless. It’s fun to meet the performers of the contest, but my beloved wiwi tribe is my #1 reason and makes every good memory even better! And I can’t wait for the time when we are reunited again.
🇺🇸 William: Going places I’d never have gone
Growing up of rather modest means, travel and seeing the world was an aspiration, but it definitely wasn’t an option. But I lived vicariously by phoning European embassies and requesting maps, and by hoarding old copies of National Geographic, collected from dentist offices, trash cans and wherever else I could find them. When I made it to Europe as an adult I never looked back. Eurovision, which I’d stumbled across in my early days in London, became the main vehicle through which I discovered new places. At first it was just through the music. But, as the blog expanded, I found myself further and further afield, led by Eurovision and its various selection shows to places I’d only read about: from Baku to Moscow, Yerevan to Tbilisi, Malta to Bulgaria and beyond. The best part of all of this has been sharing the journey with my fellow bloggers and the endless personalities we’ve encountered along the way. I could literally shout out to all of them. But for now it’ll be Jacob, a Norwegian who isn’t so visible on the site, but who traveled with me to so many events and national finals (Moldova, Latvia and elsewhere) in those early years as wiwibloggs started to find its feet. From Chisinau cemeteries to long bus rides around Ventspils to interviews with child singers in Sofia to youth hostels in Stockholm, he reminds me of more carefree times, and the joy of waking up somewhere and letting yourself get lost.
🇦🇺 Antranig: We are the world’s people
I have to echo many of my colleagues’ sentiments throughout this post. I can relate to the way Oliver felt watching Conchita win, the way Tom let go of his insecurities and I can definitely relate to Robyn’s around the world journey to get to Eurovision, just to name a few. Lisbon and Tel Aviv were both incredible experiences and meeting many of the artists was truly a privilege. Some of the highlights (and there’s really too many to list) would have to be Coco from Zibbz letting me wear her hat and polyglot Saara Aalto being just about the only non-Armenian person I’ve ever met who pronounced my name perfectly.
But when I say the people, it’s not just the artists I’m talking about. I’ve made so many incredible friends throughout wiwibloggs and the community and those friendships are invaluable. I love my Australia-Iceland chocolate exchange program with Kristín and Steinunn and travelling all the way to East Africa with Deban was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Closer to home, meeting up with Sebastian at ungodly hours of the morning to watch national finals is just as fun! There are too many incredible people to list and I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over so we can continue to make unforgettable memories.
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🇺🇸 Suzanne: The importance of love
Following the Wiwi Jam in 2019, the entire team experiences a bit of relief in knowing that “all of the hard work” is done. Even our fearless leader, the lifelong stone in my shoe, finds himself more at ease (and becomes almost tolerable). This image was taken the evening following our fantastic event at Theater Club in Tel Aviv. It’s one of my favourites that I often visit.
Such a beautiful evening in Tel Aviv. A group of us ventured outdoors, to recap 2019 highlights. There was one consecutive theme: LOVE! Love for one another. Love for Eurovision. Love for other fans! Simply so much love!
We sang. We laughed. We cried. We reiterated the importance of our 2019 theme: One must do what is right. We acknowledged the dysfunctional family that we are. My heart was full as I enjoyed dusk with these people I love so much.
I am so proud of the impact our team has on the Eurovision community. I am humbled to be amongst this hearted, hardworking, diverse group of unique individuals. I am honored to learn from them and from YOU! Thank you for letting us be part of your journey, as you are part of ours.
Now it’s your turn. What are your favourite memories from Eurovision? What do you love about the song contest? Share your thoughts and memories below!
We’re re-posting our New Year’s video below. It captures so much of what we love about ESC!