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Exclusively from the archive: The Rules of 1956!

The official Eurovision Song Contest archive at the EBU headquarters in Geneva contains hundreds of folders and video tapes, and access is restricted to only those who manage it. Thousands of documents show a detailed picture of the contest's 53 years of history, most of them never seen by more than just a few pairs of eyes.

From the archive, exclusively reveals a scan of the first ever Eurovision Song Contest rules, distributed amongst EBU Members in early 1956. The document, titled Reglement Du Grand Prix Eurovision 1956 De La Chanson Europeenne, is one of the very few documents preserved from the 1956 running of the contest. It was only made available in French.

Download: The Rules of the 1956 Eurovision Song Contest (.pdf) (copyright EBU)

The document describes the very basics of the Eurovision Song Contest format, of which many are still part of the show. It describes the composition of the orchestra and the jury procedure, as well as details on the live broadcast of the programme from Lugano, Switzerland.

In 1956, the chairman of the jury only announced the winner during the live show. The full results were never made public and are not present in the official archive. Seven countries were represented, each by two songs. Lys Assia won the competition with the song Refrain.

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