From conferences to concerts, 2015 was a landmark year for the Eurovision Song Contest which celebrated it's 60th edition in May. Let's look back at some of the events that have shaped the past year.
When the initial decision was made to hold the first ever Eurovision Song Contest, the creators were unlikely to have thought that the programme would go on to become one of the biggest and longest running television shows on the planet. 2015 saw a range of activities planned to celebrate this milestone in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest.
In March a live television concert was organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and the BBC to commemorate the Eurovision Song Contest's 60th anniversary. Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits, staged in London and hosted by Graham Norton and Petra Mede, saw 15 acts from 13 countries perform their hits in front of a packed audience. Arguably the most successful interval act ever, Riverdance, performed a reprise of their performance from the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest whilst the first ever winner, Lys Assia, made a special guest appearance.
In April the EBU organised a 60th Anniversary Conference in London which brought together academics who have studied the Eurovision Song Contest, commentators, past performers and those who have worked on the event, to explore the impact of the Contest on the European public sphere. To commemorate the event the EBU produced a series of special Eurovision Song Contest milestone videos which are available on Youtube.
In May the 60th Eurovision Song Contest took place in Vienna, Austria and saw Australia invited to take part in the Contest for the very first time. Australian broadcaster, SBS, which has aired the Eurovision Song Contest for 30 years, were invited to submit a song in 2015. Australia's participant, Guy Sebastian finished in 5th place in the Grand Final with his song Tonight Again.
Just hours ahead of the Grand Final of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria, the EBU was awarded a Guinness World Record for Longest Running Annual TV Music Competition. EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre said, “This unique television show has been bringing Europeans together for six decades. While other music television formats have been and gone the Song Contest has endured and in its 60th year has never been more popular.”
In November the Junior Eurovision Song Contest became a teenager. The 13th edition of the song contest took place in Sofia, Bulgaria for the very first time. Malta's Destiny Chukunyere won both the jury and public vote, providing Malta with its second victory in two years. Last but not least, 2015 also saw the official Youtube account of the Eurovision Song Contest surpass 1 billion views, another Eurovision Song Contest milestone worth celebrating.
Nearly 200 million people watched the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015, as the eyes of the world turn to Stockholm 2016, the future of the Eurovision Song Contest is looking brighter than ever.