Saturday, June 25, 2022

Why Glasgow shouldn’t be too proud to beg for Eurovision rights

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With the announcement by the European Broadcasting Union that it will not be possible to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Ukraine, responsibility for hosting now rests with the runner-up of 2022 – Douze points to Royaume-Uni.

Glasgow is in pole position among tipsters to host the annual pop extravaganza, possibly because the city’s main arena, the Hydro, already has a place in Eurovision lore – it was chosen as the location for the fictional competition in the comedy feature Eurovision Song Contest 2020 exploited : The Story of the Fire Saga.

Although Edinburgh was the film’s host city, the competition scenes were shot at the Hydro, starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as the Icelandic entry Fire Saga.

The film’s loving homage to the competition’s cheesy musical clichés was a hit with Eurovision’s hardcore fan base.

Could life imitate art?

The Hydro is certainly capable of hosting a grand pop extravaganza.

Before the pandemic, it was billed as the second-biggest arena in the world, behind only New York’s Madison Square Gardens for bookings, and in recent weeks alone the venue has welcomed Billie Eilish, Queen and the Pet Shop Boys, all of which are associated with customs brought to town.

Eurovision has a whole other dimension, with fans, artists, production teams and European media flocking to the host cities for a week that includes two semi-final shows, three jury appearances, as well as a multitude of possible fringe events, creating a well-deserved shop window for the inaugural Unesco City of Music in Great Britain.

If Glasgow wins the bid, the Eurovision Song Contest will be staged in Scotland for the second time – in circumstances similar to those in Edinburgh in 1972.

Monaco had won the competition in 1971 but could not provide a suitable venue for the show. Their loss was Edinburgh’s gain.

Performances took place at Usher Hall, while jury deliberations took place at Edinburgh Castle.

Vicky Leandros picked up the trophy for Luxembourg, while the British entry – Beg, Steal or Borrow from The New Seekers – finished in a respectable second place.

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