Focus 2015: Graz

Well hello guys! It’s Friday which means that it’s the weekend and if you’re wanting to see something else in your news feed other than the World Cup, you’re in for a treat today, as we’re continuing the ‘Focus 2015’ series, where we go through all the different potential host cities in the running for the 2015 Contest. After we reviewed Innsbruck and Klagenfurt, we’re gonna turn our attention to the city of Graz. So what does Graz have to offer that’ll make it like the best place for Eurovision to be held? Keep on reading to find out!

Graz is offering more than one venue in its campaign - will it help its chances?
Graz is offering more than one venue in its campaign – will it help its chances?

Graz is Austria’s second largest city, after the capital and is known for its involvement in many wars over the years. Its strategic position meant it was often subject to attack from all the different empires – from the Romans to the Ottomans to the Third Reich. Graz is also the hometown of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous actor and former governor of California , would you believe! If you don’t know where Graz is in Austria, it’s situated in the south-east of the country, close to the border with Slovenia, like Klagenfurt.

Graz is in the south of the 'head' of Austria - is it a good spot for Eurovision though?
Graz is in the south of the ‘head’ of Austria – is it a good spot for Eurovision though?

Graz was one of the first cities to put its name forward to ORF to host the Contest and now it seems to be a bit of a dark horse in this competition. Graz is offering two different areas to host next year’s Contest – it’s not as many as Vienna has, but still it offers ORF more than one chance to look at Graz as a host city. Graz is offering the Stadthalle Graz and the Schwarzl Freizeit Zentrum which translates as ‘the Schwarzl Free-time Center’ (oh I love it when my German comes in handy!). The two areas can hold 11,000 and 5,000 people respectively and both are very busy areas. The Stadthalle regularly hosts opera shows and even was the host of the 2010 Handball Championships. The Freizeit Zentrum, on the other hand hosted the Tennis Davis Cup several times and is often the hub for many cultural events throughout the year. In terms of hosting Eurovision, the Freizeit Zentrum is the least likely to win the right to host the Contest for the sole reason that it can’t hold the minimum amount of people that ORF had specified. The Stadthalle would be a strong contender for the hosting rights, as the arena can hold just about as much as the B&W Hallerne could. It would be sticking to the trend that the Swedes started with the downscale of the Contest’s arena, but we’ll have to wait and see if they get picked!

The city of Graz is accessible to many fans through its own airport, which is only 10 kilometres from the city centre. The airport’s main airliners fly to many German and Greek (Greek? Interesting…) destinations as well as other international destinations, which you can see here. However, if it’s required – you can fly to Klagenfurt in Austria or Maribor and Ljubljana in Slovenia, which is around 75 miles away and requires a long bus ride…(where have I heard that before?). As for things to see and do in Graz, the city is also famed for it’s historic Altstadt, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Remember when I said that Graz used to be attacked by all sorts of empires? Well castles were built to defend the city and many still stand today and it’s always recommended to visit one of them while on your stay there – such as the Schloßberg, or the Eggenberg Castle which now has a park surrounding it. The city is also home to RoyalKino, a cinema that plays Hollywood films with German subtitles – it’s almost like the IKEA store in Klagenfurt, it draws in people from all over the area! These and so much more are available to you if you visit Graz…if Eurovision’s there!

Speaking of our favourite show, is Graz the best city for Eurovision? The city is indeed able to put up with influx of fans and journalists that come along with Eurovision itself, but the Stadthalle may be just a little too small for Eurovision, in terms on the stage. Along with that, the staging requires a huge load of space for power and a back up in case of any technicality, but because the Stadthalle is in the middle of the city, with hardly any space around it, the OB trucks and LEDs etc will have nowhere to go, which would concern me. The Freizeit Zentrum – just no. It’s too small and ORF did say it wasn’t going to be outdoors..I wouldn’t scratch Graz off the list just yet, with the Stadthalle being their ace, but it might just be unlikely for the city to host the 60th edition of Eurovision. But who knows? Maybe we’ll all be in the city of Castles for the 2015 Eurovision? We’ll have to wait and what are your opinions on Graz?

Your views:

Do you think Graz would be the best city to host Eurovision?
Do you think Graz would be the best city to host Eurovision?

Katrina Ilanković from Serbia: No, because I couldn’t go! Then I can only go to Vienna.

Dennis Everdeen from Greece: YES! Graz has got also good places for the visitors as many hotels and also fitting venues. (Also it is much nearer to me)

Svana Lístí Agnarsdóttir from Iceland: Why don’t any of these cities have an airport that goes to Reykjavík!? Graz seems nice, but it’ll most likely be Vienna – have you seen the amount of different venues they’re thinking of?

So it seems that Graz is splitting opinions in the community – this can either be good or bad for the city. It can be good because it means that Vienna might not be the most likely city to host it, but it could be bad because most people WANT to go to Vienna for the 60th edition of the Contest. Whatever happens, at least Graz took time to think of the venues! So what do you think? Is Graz the city of your choice for Eurovision next year or is another candidate city taking your fancy? Feel free to tell us what you think by commenting below!

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