Sweden: How will Malmö’s budget of 30 million Swedish crowns be used for Eurovision?

A bit more than six months have passed since SVT revealed that Malmö will be the host city for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, on July 7.

There will be televised semi-finals on 7 and 9 May. On Saturday 11 May, the final will be broadcast all over the world from Malmö Arena.

This week, Malmö‘s top politicians hammered out how Malmö‘s taxpayers’ money should be used around the giant event. The Chair of the Municipal Executive Board Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh said on the matter:

“A completely unanimous municipal executive board supported the distribution. Much of the work will be done out in the committees and therefore we set aside money there.”

Already last autumn, in last year’s budget, agreements were signed for around SEK 10 million – including with Malmö Arena, Malmömässan and Malmö Live.

The rest of the money that is supposed to be used for the music festival was invested by the municipal board this week:

  • The Technical Committee will receive SEK 6.6 million for the work on Eurovision Park and Eurovillage at Folkets Park.
  • The Culture Committee will receive SEK 1.8 million for its work on programmes and communication.
  • The Recreation Committee will receive SEK 3.3 million for the work with 600 unpaid volunteers and for city decoration, such as flags and banners that will fill Malmö.
  • The Municipal Executive Board is also allocating SEK 6.3 million to a wide range of general extra costs linked to the giant event.

Despite galloping inflation, this year’s Eurovision Song Contest will not be more expensive for Malmö‘s taxpayers than the contests ten years ago says the city of Malmö‘s project manager Karin Karlsson:

“More people are contributing content than they did ten years ago. We are trying to work with the business community in a much more comprehensive way than we did then.”

Already in a couple of weeks, on January 30, Farah Abadi and Pernilla Månsson Colt will lead the draw for places in the two semi-finals. At the same time, the world is under pressure from major international conflicts, such as the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

Shortly after the announcement that Malmö will be the host of the Eurovision Song Contest, the Swedish Security Service raised the terrorist threat level in SwedenOn 1 November, a total bag ban was introduced at major eventsIt is still unclear what additional and stricter security measures may be required ahead of the giant competition in MalmöBut politicians know that it could lead to new costs for the city. Karin comments:

“As far as security is concerned, we are waiting for information from the police. This will have consequences for the centre of Malmö as a whole. We are already working preventively by trying to choose places with perimeter protection and places we are used to working with.”

“In the first instance, public transport will be offered.” says the municipal board’s decision document. One can assume that this will be offered to the volunteers and press that are attending to work on the contest. But would that also mean that the artists will also travel by bus or train to the competition arena in Hyllie? Karin Karlsson responds:

No, that’s where the line is drawn. We have a special responsibility to ensure that they arrive on time. The participants will travel in rented buses or electric cars. It’s Malmö’s advantage that we have such good public transport. It’s also a way to save money. We want the whole event to be used by public transport.”

Source: Sydsvenskan
Photo: Martin Meissner

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Sweden: Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in a geopolitically-unstable time!

Sweden is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in a geopolitically-unstable time.

In Finland, more than 1300 people from the music industry have signed a petition calling for Finland to boycott the contest in Malmö if Israel participates. Similar demands have been made in Iceland in the past.

And recently, demonstrators gathered outside the NRK headquarters in Oslo, demanding the exclusion of Israel from Eurovision because of the war in Gaza.

Ben Robertson, who covers Eurovision for ESCInsight, comments on the Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Malmö this May that it could be the most politically sensitive in Eurovision‘s history:

“It will be very tough to organise the Eurovision Song Contest this year. It demands a lot from Malmö and SVT. It’s not just about Israel. It’s about Sweden too, about the high terrorist threat.”

Ben also notes that this will be another season of Eurovision in the shadow of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine. Ukraine is participating in this year’s competition. So does Armenia, which came into focus last autumn due to the conflict with Azerbaijan and also says he will neither be surprised if artists and songwriters choose to address political issues this year nor will he be surprised if fans demand that artists who travel to Malmö take a stand in the Israel Hamas conflict.

The Eurovision Song Contest is organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). The EBU‘s members are public service broadcasters in various countries, especially in Europe. But countries such as Israel, Morocco and Lebanon are also members of the EBU.

In recent years, two countries have been excluded from the EBU and banned from the Eurovision Song Contest. Belarus was expelled because the country violated the rules of the competition and refused to change a song lyric with too political a message. Russia was expelled after the attack on Ukraine, reflecting a concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry would bring the competition into disrepute.

Now voices are being raised that Israel should also be expelled. But Paul Jordan, who comments on Eurovision for British media, believes Israel will participate this year. He says the situation is different than when Russia was excluded.

“When Russia was excluded, it had been banned from other international events. The EBU watched the World Cup and others who didn’t want Russia there, and then it would have looked very strange if Russia had participated in the Eurovision Song Contest.”

The idea behind Eurovision is that countries should be able to put aside conflicts and bad relations for one night. In the UK, Olly Alexander, who will represent the country in Malmö, has made headlines with his criticism of Israel.

Paul says that there is a risk that Israel, even if it is not excluded, feels that it is not welcome to participate in Malmö.

“If the war is still going on, and we see these horrific images from Gaza, it can also be perceived as distasteful to participate in Eurovision while people are dying.”

At the same time, Eurovision is an important platform for Israel, which has participated in the contest for 45 years.

Karin Karlsson is the project manager for the Eurovision Song Contest, employed by the City of Malmö. She had the same role in 2013.

She notes that many things are different today. The target group of the competition has become younger. Social media plays a very different role than in 2013. The Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t just mean televised stage performances at Malmö Arena. There will also be a week’s festival in different places in the city. At the same time, Sweden has a high terrorist threat. Karin comments on that:

“And it’s much more complicated in terms of security, this year. We work with safety all the time, every day.”

Source: Svenska Dagbladet

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Evroaziya: Maxim Fadeev announces new Song Contest!

A few days ago, the Russian producer and composer, Maxim Fadeev announced the creation of a new Song Contest!

After the Russian government announced their plan to revive the Intervision Song Contest, producer Maxim Fadeev, revealed that he is working on a new project. In his Telegram channel, he revealed Evroaziya, the name of the new contest, which is set to take place in Uzbekistan in August.

In detail, he stated:

“It will be hosted by three countries – Russia , Uzbekistan and Turkey . Russia will be represented by your humble servant, Uzbekistan by Yulduz Usmanova, and Turkey by probably the most popular representative of the creative profession there today. I’m sure his name will be a shock to everyone.”

Furthermore, he added the following:

“Visually, Evroazija is conceived as an International Music Olympiad. We will hold the festival annually in August. Headquarters in three countries have already begun working to organize the acceptance of applications from participating countries.”

Maxim Fadeev, was invloved a couple of times in Eurovision, from which Russia is currently banned. He was the composer of the Russian entries in 2004 and 2007, while he was a judge for the Russian selection in 2005, 2008 and 2010. He was also involved in the Belarusian entry in 2010.

Only time will now tell what is about to happen with the new contest, and we’re waiting for further announcements!

Stay tuned on Eurovisionfun for all the news regarding the Eurovision Song Contest!


Eurovision 2023: Russia will not be able to vote in the “Rest of the World” category!

An interesting change coming to Eurovision 2023 is the introduction of the “Rest of the World” category, which means that people from non-participating countries will be able to vote for their favorites in this year’s contest. The votes received from all around the globe will be counted as the votes from a single country, which translates to a total of 58 points. There is slight advantage to the audience votes this year, because there will not be a “Rest of the World” category in Jury votes.

In today’s press conference, the executive supervisor of Eurovision, Martin Österdahl, mentioned that the “Rest of the World” category was inspired by Junior Eurovision that uses an Online vote since 2017.

I was taken aback that 182 countries voted in Junior Eurovision 2020 in Warsaw, and says something about Eurovision becoming a global phenomenon.

It was also confirmed that EBU will not publish the list of countries that will be eligible to vote using the “Rest of The World” platform. On the other hand, it was known that some countries will not be eligible to vote. One of these is Russia, because payment providers have suspended operations in the country.

Russia, as a result of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war since February 2022, is expelled from the European Broadcasting Union(EBU), losing its rights to participate and broadcast the EBU programs, including Eurovision. The same might apply also to Belarus, that had its broadcaster expelled from the EBU in 2021 and can reapply for membership in 2024.

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Stay tuned at Eurovisionfun for all the latest developments regarding the the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, that is held in Liverpool!

Martin Österdahl: “The decision to exclude Russia from Eurovision was hard”!

The executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest said the decision to exclude Russia in 2022 was “hard”.

In a recent interview, Martin Österdahl, the executive supervisor of Eurovision, said although the contest was not political it must always reflect the basic values of democracy.

Martin Österdahl made the comments whilst speaking to Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus, who was guest editing the flagship UK radio show, BBC’s Today program.

Asked if the decision to exclude Russia from the contest earlier this year was hard, Osterdahl replied:

Russia: EBU formally suspends Russian broadcasters!

This week, the European Broadcasting Union officially suspended its Russian broadcasters from the organization.

RTR , Channel One and Radio Dom Ostankino have now been excluded from the European Broadcasting Union, following a unanimous decision by the Executive Committee earlier this week. The confirmation of the decision was sent to all EBU member broadcasters with a statement reading:

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I would like to inform you of the decision taken by the Council on three Russian members of the EBU (RTR, Channel One and Radio Dom Ostankino) at its meeting yesterday. Based on the measures taken by the Executive Council at its last meeting on April 7, when it launched the suspension procedure, the Council unanimously decided to immediately suspend the three Russian members of the EBU indefinitely, which the Executive Board will review regularly.

The EBU  has banned  Russia from participating in Eurovision 2022, following calls from several broadcasters to do so, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. All Russian state media that were members of the EBU (VGTRK, Channel One and Radiodom Ostankino) announced their withdrawal from the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in response to Russia’s removal from Eurovision 2022.

Channel One has been a member of the EBU since 1995, VGTRK since 1993 and Radio Dom Ostankino since 1996. Their departure from the EBU would mean that they would no longer be able to compete in Eurovision or access content such as sports events, news and music programs.

Stay tuned to Eurovisionfun for all the news!

Source: Eurovoix

Latvia: Polina Gagarina and Natalya Podolskaya banned from entering the country over their support of Russia’s war in Ukraine!

Latvia’s message is clear: Polina Gagarina and Natalya Podolskaya are not welcome in the country.

On Thursday, Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs included the two Russian representatives in Eurovision, on a list of 25 Russian entertainers and artists deemed “undesirable people” for “expressing active support for the long-running aggression of the Russian authorities against Ukraine”.

As Latvian public media LSV reports, the list includes 20 people who took part in a highly criticized event in Moscow on 18 March. Artists, including Polina Gagarina, performed at the Luzhniki Stadium to mark the eighth anniversary of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and to support the country’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

President Putin appeared, stating that Russians “have not had such unity for a long time”.

But, as the BBC reports, not everyone in the audience actually wanted to be there. Many told the BBC they worked in the public sector, and that they had been pressured into attending by their employers. Students told that they had been given the option of a day off from lectures if they attended ‘a concert’. Some of the students we spoke to didn’t even know that the event was dedicated, in part, to support the war in Ukraine.

The list of undesirable persons in Latvia includes: Maria Sitela, Dmitry Guberniev, Vladimir Mashkov, Artyom Fence, Tina Candelaki, Viktor Polakov, Polina Gagarina, Nikolai Rastorgujev, Vitaly Loktev, Alexander Jerohin, Sergei Pereguda, Vasily Peguda, Vasily Denis Macujev, Nikita Mikhalkov, Valery Gergiev, Dmitry Streltsov, Alexei Tarasov, Pavel Suchkov, Alexei Kantur, Sergei Polunin, Victoria Ciganova, Stanislav Mikhailov.

Polina’s public support of the war created a negative impression Eurovision fans. Her 2015 entry — the peace anthemA Million Voices” — is completely at odds with the brutal war Russia started in the name of Putin.

Latvia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained that “those included in the list of undesirable persons for Latvia clearly justify and propagate the unprovoked and unjustifiable Russian invasion and war in Ukraine. Latvia strongly condemns Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war in Ukraine, which has lasted for almost a month and where Ukrainian civilians and soldiers are losing their lives every day as a result of the brutal actions of the Russian armed forces. Entry into Latvia is not allowed.”


The official EBU announcement regarding Russia’s participation

After SVT’s pressure to exclude Russia from Eurovision Song Contest 2022, the EBU has said that Russia remains welcome at Eurovision 2022.

Jo Waters, Senior Communications Officer of the EBU made an official statement:

As the situation between Russia and Ukraine escalates, access to trusted, factual and impartial information is more critical than ever.

All media broadcasters and the EBU as a union are focused on doing our job for the public in difficult circumstances and will not hesitate to condemn any infringements or violations of press freedom.

It is vital for journalists to be allowed to continue to operate both freely and safely, and report without hindrance. Supporting media freedom must be prioritized, not despite these challenging circumstances, but because of them.

This situation puts the EBU in a difficult position. It is not the governments that are members of the EBU, but the broadcasters. The EBU is not in the position to sanction a member based on the actions of its government. They could claim – as UA:PBC suggested – that the broadcaster violated the member’s codes of conduct – as happened with Belarus.

When the EBU suspended Yugoslavia’s membership in the 1990s, their action was based on a UN Security Council Resolution. This will not happen with Ukraine, since Russia is a permanent member of the council and has the rights of veto power.

Should the EBU choose to suspend membership from Russia, this would be the second time in 12 months that a broadcaster has lost its membership from the EBU. In July 2021, the Belarusian public broadcaster had its EBU membership suspended for failing to meet its freedom of expression obligations.

Ukraine in the top 3 of the betting odds, Russia out of the top 20!

While all of the above is happening, Ukraine has rose again in the betting odds, despite replacing Alina Pash with Kalush Orchestra. They are currently in third place, unlike Russia who has been on a steady fall over the last few hours, and as a result are in 21st place as of now.

Stay tuned to Eurovisionfun for all the developments!

Россия: Dream Team в Москве перед окончательным выбором!

Дрим Тим (Димитрис Контопулос и Илиас Кокотос) находится в Москве, судя по их аккаунтам в социальных сетях. Эта поездка в российскую столицу является ключевой в связи с представлением страны на Евровидении 2022.

Не секрет, что каждый второй год, когда Россия 1 берет на себя участие России в конкурсе, канал сотрудничает с Dream Team, что на самом деле приносит им много хороших результатов до сих пор. Также не секрет, что одним из имен, с которыми Dream Team хотела бы сотрудничать на Евровидении 2022, является суперзвезда Клава Кока. На самом деле, певица была в Афинах несколько месяцев назад и в студии Димитриса Контопулоса, вероятно, записала потенциальную песню для конкурса.

Конечно, ничего не следует принимать на веру, так как если артист, которого выбрала Россия 1, не удовлетворит Dream Team в качестве выбора, то совсем не исключено, что они в конечном итоге не поедут на конкурс от страны.

Пока неясно, какими будут решения как российского общественного телевидения, так и Dream Team. Однако пришло время окончательного решения!

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Russia: With Little Big in Eurovision 2021?

A very important speculation is circulating internet the last hour. According to the Russian Eurovision fan club VK, the CEO of the public broadcaster Channel1, Konstantin Ernst, has confirmed that Little Big will have a second chance to get on the Eurovision stage.

On 28th of September Channel 1 confirmed that it is going to be the responsible broadcaster for the selection of the representative of Russia at Eurovision 2021, since the 2020 was canceled. In Russia, there are two broadcasters that are members of the EBU, Channel 1 and RTR. Therefore the project is undertaken alternately by each channel.

If the speculation of the fan club VK is true, then Little Big will raise the number of the returning artists from 2020 to 23.

It is unknown yet when the speculations will be confirmed from Channel 1, since we are used to get the news from Russia at the very last moment.

Let’s remember the entry that was meant to compete at the 2020 contest, and was one of the hot favourites.