Many fans travel from far away, even from other continents whilst others have been coming to the contest since the 1980s! For some of them Kyiv 2017 was their first experience in the world of Eurovision. We talked to some of them during the rehearsals in Kyiv.
Brent Davidson comes from Australia and this is his Eurovision story: "It was around the time I was in year ten in high school, but a group of kids who avoided doing real sport by doing drama instead. I managed to convince them to let us run an assembly and we (well, I) turned it into our very own, and very bad version of Eurovision, with songs and dance and lip-syncing. The most memorable of all was my hosting - complete with what I now realise was a somewhat offensive "European Accent." Safe to say the school was stunned, but it didn't stop us from having lots of fun, lets just hope the footage stays lost in history!”
Samantha Ross makes her way to Europe from the States every year: "I am originally from New Jersey. It’s this incredible crazy family of people. There’s nothing like it on the surface of the planet. It’s the closest comparison I can make it’s like the most incredible Star Trek convention. These are people that I get to see only two weeks every year and for that I feel lucky. It’s also about the music of course and travelling to a new city every year. It’s a mix between my love of travel and meeting all these people. I heard about the Eurovision Song Contest when I was growing up, also at University where 20% of the students were non-American. Every spring all my friends started talking up about what song is better and then I started watching the songs and learning about the history of the contest. I started blogging about it in 2009 and in 2011 I came to the contest for the first time and I’ve been addicted ever since!"
David Elder comes from Edinburgh, Scotland and went to the contest for the first time in 1990 in Zagreb but also attended the Dress Rehearsal in 1988 and even met the winner Celine Dion! "It was so different back then. The press centre was tiny compared to this which is great. A very small number of people were there. It was a much more intimate event. Far fewer countries took part in those days, but it was very exciting because I had never done it before. This is my 28th contest and I think my favorite was Jerusalem in 1999 because it was such an exciting place to go, not somewhere I thought I was going to visit on my own accord. I’ve been a fan since a I was a little boy and got to be in the UK jury in the 1980s and the first year I was there I said I need to this every year."
Ismo Puljujärvi is 23 from Finland and came to the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time this year: "I’ve been watching Eurovision since 2005 when it was here in Kyiv and I thought this was my moment to come here. I voted for Jamala so I thought since it was the first time that my favourite won, it was time to go. It feels so unreal. When I was in the hall during the shows you feel the amazing atmosphere all the time and when the countdown was on, 15 seconds before the show started. It was an amazing feeling, I had dreamed about it for years!"