"The media industry, whether we talk about television or journalism, has changed a lot the past decade. However, the event weeks of the Eurovision Song Contest have not changed. Over the past months, we've spoken to many of the parties involved and came to a slightly different approach," says Sietse Bakker, Event Supervisor of the contest at the EBU.
Delegations, journalists and fans mainly criticised the lengthy and thus expensive stay at the host city and the usually low attendance at the delegations' first out of two press conferences.
Meanwhile, numerous artists expressed their wish to have a first rehearsal without media attending, filming and taking photos, allowing them to get used to the stage, light and sound, before revealing fully their act to the world via the press and social media.
What does this mean, concretely?
The event weeks will kick off on Monday, 6th of May, one day later than usual. The EuroClub will open the same day
Until Thursday, 9th of May, all Semi-Finalists will rehearse once behind closed doors. Journalists and fans can follow their rehearsal on screens at the EuroClub, which will facilitate the basic needs of the press. After their rehearsal, artists will be transported to the EuroClub, where they can give a short statement, do one-on-one interviews and photo shoots
On Friday 10th of May, the Press Centre will open, right next to the Malmö Arena. A kick-off press conference will be given by the EBU and SVT in the early afternoon
A second round of rehearsals, which lasts from Friday, 10th of May until Sunday, 12th of May, is open to the media and will start at 16:00
After their second rehearsal on stage, the artist will give a 20-minute press conference, which can be followed by one-on-one interviews and a photo shoot as usual
The 'Big Five' (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom) and host country Sweden will rehearse on Sunday 12 May and Wednesday, 15th of May
The Dress Rehearsals and live shows will take place following the usual schedule, from Monday 13th to Saturday 18th of May
Sietse Bakker adds: "This solution gives artists the privacy they want, journalists the opportunity to do their work efficiently and fans to enjoy the EuroClub from the very start of the event week. For those who wish to attend the full period, we save one day in the host city, and there is that very good option to join on Friday, 10th of May when we scale up the preparations. This setup works particularly well in Malmö, where everything is very centrally located."
The 2013 Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden, on 14th, 16th and 18th of May. Traditionally, participants, their delegations, journalists and fans come together in the city the preceding week to prepare and enjoy the so-called Eurovision weeks, during which the host city becomes the buzzing capital of European music.