Well guys it’s now official: we have ourselves not only a host city, but a slogan and a venue (albeit an unfinished one, but we’ll overlook that for now shall we…) Next May, we will all be jetting off to Copenhagen, Denmark, to witness the 59th Eurovision Song Contest, which will be staged at the B&W Hallerne under the slogan “Join Us”!
Whilst the announcement that the Eurovision Song Contest is to be held in the hosting country’s capital city would usually be a “well duh” announcement (à la Baku, Oslo, Moscow, Belgrade, Helsinki, Athens etc etc) this year’s bidding phase has been more interesting than most; with a number of left-field proposals being seriously considered, and at some points being seen as frontrunners. Indeed, the eventual concept which has been announced by DR and the EBU today is still not what we all would have predicted (cough – Parken) but they have at least maintained the realistic approach that only their capital city has sufficient accommodation for all the delegations, press and fans who will be vying to attend.
In the run-up to this announcement, Rory put together profiles on each of the candidate cities which applied to host the contest:
So: having already given you a summary of the city and it’s amenities, all that is really left to do is to dissect this decision.
With three articles dedicated to the announcement, the EBU and DR have clearly been anticipating a big reaction. Indeed, with the final article being an interview with Executive Producer Pernille Gaardbo basically justifying why they’ve picked this venue, it would seem that the whole thing is a bit panicked and rushed. Which is ironic considering we’ve been waiting for this for four months already. But still. Maybe I’m being overly sceptical here.
It is in this interview where the mechanics of the decision are really explained – with the other two articles being very generic “look at how amazing this is going to be” displays of typical EBU political correctness. Pernille Gaardbo however, presents the proposal for 2014 to us in a way which highlights its less obvious benefits and justifies the decision better than any piece of toe-the-line journalism could.
“Right from the beginning we have had an ambition to modernise the Eurovision Song Contest whilst of course still respecting its traditions. Refshaleøen gives us the opportunity to create a totally new and unique show, because we ourselves can decide how it looks both inside and out. We can tailor the halls to our requirements and give the show its own distinct character.”
It is clear, therefore – from the stated mantra of “new” and “unique” – that DR are looking to leave their mark on the ever-evolving institution or Eurovision, just as SVT did this year. This somewhat unorthodox idea for a venue will certainly be just that! However, as Ms Gaardbo highlights, it should allow for a show tailored completely in every respect to what DR and the EBU wish to present to Europe. But have they got enough time for that?
“It is clear that when we are presented with a completely raw factory hall as a venue, we will really put a lot of effort into making sure that it will be usable in terms of sound. As part of the bidding process we partnered up with the best acousticians and engineers and they guarantee that the sound will be suitable for a professional TV production.”
Well. They have indeed decided on a “raw factory hall”, forming part of a former shipyard. There are always going to be doubts about the nature of the venue in terms of the sound quality. However, we can’t overlook the fact that for the last four months DR will have been weighing up the pros and cons of every single proposal they received, and if they have decided that the sound will be sufficient for a show like Eurovision, then that should be good enough for us too!
It’s no understatement to say that Parken Stadium, which hosted the 2001 contest was considered by many to be the obvious choice for 2014. The biggest stadium in the country – with a capacity of 50,000 – was already occupied by the local football team, who were unwilling to alter their plans to accommodate the contest as Dusseldorf did in 2011. However, the EBU’s 2012 announcement that they would aim to downsize the contest to potentially aid any financially weaker broadcasters would not have been in line with Parken 2014. In a way, I believe that even if it was free, they would have been reluctant to return, even if only to save face. The 10,000 capacity (apparently) of the B&W Hallerne is a far cry from the arenas of 2011 and 2012, and is even smaller than the 11,000 who eventually filled the Malmö Arena this year. Now in my view, the only way this is a problem is the fact that less people will be able to go and experience it live. As far as a television broadcast goes, it makes very little difference having the show in a massive arena, or a more modest hall. It will just be a shame for those fans who want to go and simply can’t get tickets. *sigh*
And, before I sign off… a word on the slogan.
It’s no better or worse than any of the other recent monstrosities. In my humble opinion, the cheese-infused taglines of recent years – “feel your heart beat” “light your fire” “we are one” – are not only cringeworthy but also completely unnecessary. Moscow 2009 functioned perfectly well without one, thanks!
Emmelie is going to have to put in a whole lot of practice into staging enthusiasm for the cameras.
Hans Leenders from the Netherlands: I think it’s far too early to judge about the accomodation. I am sure the Danish will do everything they can to make it look magical. 😉
Michael Romano from Australia: It’s perfect. They can customise the venue to however they see fit for the show. They can make it as suitable as they need it to be for the show, while creating a unique atmosphere for everyone. It will be a nice intimate setting and DR seems to have put a lot of thought into everything.
Svetlana Andriyenko from Ukraine: I liked the idea of Herning, but I think it will still be very interesting competition in Copenhagen with this venue. Join Us Europe!
Katja Marie Lund from Slovenia: This is such a fabulous news full-stop! Cph will be a kick-ass host and to be honest – Malmo and D-dorf were great hosts as well, but hosting in a capital somehow always adds an extra prestige to the contest (and a Eurovision-trademark), so – all is fine here.
So, as expected, views are somewhat divided, but in general, the decision has been met with an evaluative positivity from the fan community. At the end of the day, there is nothing anyone could do to reverse the decision, even if they wanted to, so for now all that is left to say is se jer alle i København!