Friday, 20 May 2016

My Trip to Sweden | Eurovision

I have been a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest since my early teens. I absolutely loved listening to songs sung in different languages, they were different to the songs I heard everyday and I was fascinated by the performances that the musicians did, with all of their elaborate costumes, extravagant dances and amazing stage set-ups. Whenever the camera panned to the audience and I saw everyone dancing and cheering, waving their flags in the air, I always thought about how fantastic it would be to be part of that crowd. Well this year, I got to find out just how amazing it was as one of my friends & I travelled to Sweden to watch the Eurovision Song Contest live at the Ericsson Globe arena in Stockholm City! 

On Saturday 14th May, after an afternoon spent sight-seeing, we headed back to our hotel to prepare for what was going to be one of the most awesome nights of my life! As we got ready, we listened to all of the songs from the 2016 line-up and I'm sure everyone on the 3rd floor would have been able to hear us singing! :D We had already settled on our favourite songs for the final as we had been following the Eurovision for several months at this point and had also watched the two Semi Final shows a week before. My top five entries (in order) were Bulgaria, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus and Malta. My friends were Malta, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Armenia & Cyprus. Sorry United Kingdom! 

We set off to the Globe around three hours before the Eurovision finale was set to start because we knew it would get hectic. Luckily, we timed this perfectly and boarded our train just before the majority of people had set off! It was so cool to see all of our fellow Eurovision fans getting onto the train with their faces painted in the flag colours of their favourite entries and wearing huge flags as capes just like we were! We got a really good spot in the queue and the atmosphere outside was awesome! Everyone was really excited and talking about the songs, and chanting everytime a member of staff would emerge from the building. They let us into the arena early so that was great, since we could get a good spot. The quality of my photos are not great because I took them on my phone but I hope you still enjoy them!

Eurovision, Eurovision Song Contest, Globe Arena, Ericsson Globe,

I was completely in awe when I walked into the arena and I couldn't wait for the show to start! We got a spot towards the right side of the stage and we were pretty much at the front! The only thing seperating us from the stage was a massive camera. We were given some really jazzy wristbands on the way in that flashed in different colours whenever you shook your hand and they seemed to flash along with the music somehow. It was amazing to look around the arena and see so many flashes of colour coming from the wristbands and necklaces (people who were seated got necklaces) of 16,000 people! We were surrounded by lots of people from the Netherlands, plus a few English, Austrian and German people. I love how the Eurovision brought so many people together and it was wonderful to see so many people waving the rainbow flag that represents the LGBTQA+ community!

Before the show started, the screens in the arena played through years of great Eurovision songs to get us all singing along and dancing. Then an awesome group came out to perform some previous Eurovision songs and they were fantastic! As the Eurovision was about to go live, dance anthems were played so that we could get into the partying spirit before the cameras were switched on. The Eurovision kicked off with Belgium's entry, 'What's the Pressure' by Laura Tesoro. It was one of my favourite songs and it's a tune that always makes me start dancing so it was the perfect song to begin the show! Since there were so many Dutch people around us, I was almost deafened as song No.3 started! Douwe Bob's 'Slow Down' was performed so great, I absolutely loved it and it was actually one of my favourite of the night. 

Israel's song 'Made of Stars'  was beautiful! Hovi Star sang so lovely that I cried and when I looked at the people around me, they were also crying! Following this song was my absolute favourite entry! Poli Genova singing 'If Love was a Crime' for Bulgaria! It was fantastic and everyone was singing along and dancing! I couldn't stop jumping up and down with excitement even though my feet were killing me from all the walking I'd done whilst sight-seeing around the city. Australia was another song that the crowd went crazy for and its not surprising because it was an epic song. The line 'trying to feel your love through facetime' always makes me and my friend burst out laughing! Dami Im did so well with her song 'Sound of Silence'. I also really enjoyed Lithuania's performance from Donny Montell 'I've been waiting for this night', mostly because it was one of my friend's favourite songs so we sang it together! Song No.17 from Croatia sounded just as wonderful as the first time I'd heard it. Nina Kraljic's 'Lighthouse' makes my imagination run wild with gorgeous images of the ocean and the coastline. 

Russia was next and wow, was it an amazing stage performance or what!? I really loved the screen, especially when it gave Sergey Lazarev wings! From now on, everytime there's a thunderstorm, I'm gonna burst into song with 'thunder and lightening, it's getting exciting...!' I honestly thought that Russia was going to win the Eurovision with this song! I left the arena just after Spain's song because I desperate for the toilet and my friend & I were in serious need of some water because we could barely speak with all the singing and cheering we'd done! I didn't come back in until Malta's song was about to start, so it was a shame that I'd missed Latvia's song. I wasn't a big fan of Ukraine's song so I didn't mind missing that one, oops sorry Ukraine!

* Photograph taken by my friend Aaron, showing where we were standing. 

Malta's song was great and my friend's favourite so he was jumping up and down and lovin' life throughout the performance! It was great to see haha :) Song No.23 was 'Midnight Gold' by Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz. I didn't really like this song either and I was almost blinded by the intensity of the lights on stage! I was so happy when it was time for Austria's song, 'Loin d'ici' by Zoe. She is so pretty and I thought her dress made her look like a disney princess. Since we had some Austrians around us, the atmosphere was amazing when we were all singing along. Everyone loves her; she got so many cheers! I usually don't like our entry for the Eurovision but I thought Joe & Jake's song 'You're not alone' was actually pretty good compared to our previous years. They had a great stage presense and surprisingly everyone around us was singing along so they did a good job and because of their energy on stage, it turned out to be one of my favourite performances of the night. It was fun to end the songs with Armenia's 'LoveWave' sung by Iveta Mukuchyan as it's a very good song indeed. 

Something that made the Eurovision such a fantastic show was the hilarious and wonderful hosts, Mans Zelmerlow and Petra Mede. Their song 'Love Love Peace Peace' was so bloody fantastic! I thought it was really great to see so many of the previous Eurovision winners appear on stage, especially Lordi. Lordi's winning song, 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' for Finland in 2007 is actually my most favourite Eurovision song ever! I love all of the elements in the Love Love Peace Peace song and it was really funny! I've watched it on youtube so many times since arriving back home! I was very happy about the topless guy with long hair on the drum, who was directly in my eyeline of the stage and I think my friend almost died when Mans pulled his shirt open *insert fifty heart eyed emojis* The new voting system makes the results even more exciting and intense! Everyone was so passionate and this was reflected with how much they concentrated and how silent the entire arena fell in between the announcement of each vote. Poland's song was lovely, but I was so shocked when it went from 7 points to 229 points! I truely thought that even though Ukraine's entry was so popular, that Russia or Australia would win! It was so close at the end between Russia & Ukraine, and there was such a tense atmosphere in the arena! Everyone went crazy at the end because there were so many people that adored Ukraine, it was impressive that they got 534 points! Even though it wasn't the ending I was hoping for, it was still an incredible experience and I loved every minute of it. 

After the Eurovision Song Contest, we went to an official Eurovision afterparty for a few hours. It was held in the Tele2 Arena next door to the Globe, which is a massive sports stadium that can hold up to 30,000 people. It was packed with people as many of those who couldn't get tickets for the actual Eurovision watched it in the Tele2. The atmosphere was great in there too, and everyone was so friendly. I danced with and chatted to so many people from all over Europe. When we were sitting down in the food area, a German guy approached us to ask if he could swap flags with us and it was hilarious. He didn't care which country he could swap for, but he was so disappointed with Germany's results that he just wanted a new flag! I also met a guy from the UK who loved Bulgaria's song too and had their flag painted on his face. He ran up to me and we sang the chorus of 'If Love was a Crime' together, it was awesome! At about 3am, my friend & I decided it was time for bed and luckily there was a train at that time. The Eurovision Song Contest was one of the most epic experiences I've ever had. It was unforgettable and for my first holiday abroad with a friend, it was such a brilliant way to spend it. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it and reliving my time in Stockholm's Ericsson Globe arena! 

Thankyou for reading! 

Who else loves the Eurovision? What was your favourite song(s) this year? What is your favourite song in Eurovision history? Have you even been to Eurovision? 

Check out what else I got up to in Sweden: 

* Eurovision image sourced from google images, via wikipedia 

1 comment

  1. Looks like you had a great time! I'm very jealous.
    We watched it at home on the telly and my personal faves were Israel and Russia. Josh even nicknamed him 'SergBAE' :')

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