Fans in focus: "Eurovision is a symbol of my dreams"12 August 2013 at 19:24 CEST
We recently called out for stories from you, our fans, about what the Eurovision Song Contest means to you, receiving an overwhelming response, right here on Eurovision.tv as well as our Social Media channels. These touching testimonies reaffirm that the competition goes far beyond just the music, leading to life-long friendships, providing comfort in times of hardship and broadening cultural horizons.
We have chosen just a few of the many wonderful submissions to display to you here, but you can see many more by looking at the comments of our previous article and by looking at our Social Media updates.
In the weeks to come, we will also be looking closer at individual fans who all have a different relationship to the Eurovision Song Contest, to demonstrate the diversity of our community and to thank you all for your unwavering love and support.
Brandon McCullough (Traveling_Phoenix86) - United States
I became a Eurovision Song Contest fan by chance and I LOVED it ever since! It all started with 2010's Moldovan Entry song Run Away. It was a catchy song I heard used in a YouTube video so I searched where it came from and found the Eurovision Song Contest. The first time I watched it, I was in awe.. I thought "It's a singing competion on a semi-Olympic scale!!" And then...I saw the live webcasts....OMG. It made me feel like I was part of Europe itself and now it's become my yearly guilty pleasure. Thank you Eurovision!
Brian Reece (fizz4444) - United Kingdom
I have been a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest since 1976, and have been going to all the live shows since 1998 when it was held just 15 miles from where i live. I loved it so much, that I have gone to every show since. It's a great night, with a great atmosphere.
El Kirks - Australia
I came across the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993 and have recorded and watched every year since! I love that this contest brings unity and peace through music by any means. In recent years, the Eurovision Song Contest has meant meeting with friends and Eurovision lovers all over Australia on Twitter to converse and vote (unofficially) and enjoy the evenings. I love that the Eurovision Song Contest now includes Australia in some way. I would love to attend a contest one day.
Luke Borg (eurovisionlukefan) - Malta
I am 17 years old and I'm from Malta. I have been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since I was 8 years old (2004) and a fan for the past 6 contests (since 2008). I never had any real friends and Eurovision filled this empty space. Every time I listen to an emotional song or watch an amazing performance, I get a feeling that nothing else gives me (It sounds weird but that's how I feel). Besides this, I also collect Eurovision Song Contest merchandise such as CDs and books, and also signed postcards. I also love taking photos with Eurovision stars. My absolute favourite is one I took with Johnny Logan this summer at a concert in Malta. My life's dream is to someday go to the Eurovision Song Contest, and when I fulfill that dream; my next one will be to someday see Malta winning and hosting the contest!!!!!
Ingrid Gräsbeck (ESC_LOVER95) - Finland
Me and my family have always been watching the Eurovision Song Contest, but the first time that I actually fell in love with it was in 2003 when I was 7 years old (I absolutely LOVED Spain's Dime). The most amazing thing about that moment was that I didn't only fall in love with Eurovision, it was the moment when I got my "calling" for stage. From that moment on, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, which now has turned out to be Musical Theatre! Back then my only dream was that I would someday be representing my own country in the Eurovision Song Contest. As I grew up I got new dreams, but have never forgotten my first one, and never will! Eurovision has always been a symbol of my dreams. It does not only remind me of my home roots, or my beloved and valuable memories, or my dreams, but it also reminds me of the immense passion and work that I put in to what I love doing most! Therefore, the Eurovision Song Contest means everything to me!
Stephanie Saczawa (mysticgirl916) - Canada
I'm Canadian, and my love of Eurovision began in 2009 simply by watching clips online and then the full 1987 contest on a DVD I had purchased. From there, it grew into something more special. Over the last few years, I studied up on the contest, joined MyEurovision meeting new people from around the world, watching more clips and designing my own fan site about the 1987 event. The very first contest I watched on live stream was last year's contest in Baku. However, it was this year's season in Malmö that really sparked my love for the contest, and I have artists like Margaret Berger, Gianluca Bezzina and Takasa to thank for that as they were the three whose songs I loved the most - especially Takasa's, which I have loved since they won this year's Swiss final. There's a song for everyone at Eurovision no matter where you are in the world, and I hope one day I can travel to Europe and experience the magic for myself.
Anthony Ko (Bjorneo) - Slovenia
My experiences of being a Eurovision fan first started back in 2001. My earliest memory from that year was Nuša Derenda’s Energy. She put on a wonderful performance and I was pretty pleased with her 7th place finish. From then on, my passion for the Eurovision Song Contest simply blossomed and I have never missed a single contest since then. Thankfully, I’m not alone and I have met many friends that are also passionate Eurovision fans. It has also sparked my interest into music from artists associated with Europe’s favourite TV show, and the official Eurovision album has always been a real highlight. It is also a great feeling to see there are many fan websites dedicated entirely to the Eurovision Song Contest. However, thanks to Eurovision.tv, I was able to enjoy watching national selection shows from other countries since 2009. They say the Eurovision Song Contest unites Europe as one and from my experiences as a Eurovision fan; it has done exactly just that.
James N. (ergospaddi) - The Philippines
As a 14 year old teenager, of Asian decent, and currently living in South East Asia, I have never felt this isolation as a Eurovision fan in my life. As most of my classmates are into American pop music, I was into pop music from around the world and other genres of music I love. I am a very multicultural person. I found Eurovision about a year or two years ago when a family member told me about it. Of course, I got interested and I really liked the atmosphere and everything. I felt unique watching it. Although since I cannot watch it through TV, I watch it through the website. Eurovision is important to me because even though no one else in my school is a fan, I always have Eurovision, a proof of my uniqueness to teens in my school. After finding Eurovision, I felt like a special person ;my self worth was established. I will always be with the contest, to be who I am and be very proud of it. Eurovision made me who I am.
Kaija Laukkonen (Laukkonen) - Finland
To me, Eurovision means family. My parents divorced when I was little, and my father moved back to his native Finland, whilst my mother stayed in her native Great Britain. I lived between the two, living out of a suitcase, and was thoroughly discontented. However, the one time when we'd all come together, every single year was Eurovision Week. We'd choose a country each to support, make t-shirts of our flags, dress up as past contenders (seeing my 79 year old grandfather dressed up as Verka Seduchka was an amazing experiance) and so on, so forth. This week of music has brought my family together for years, and nothing can stop that.
Alex Spånberg Ekholm (AlexanderSE) - Sweden
As for most, my Eurovision interest started when I was rather young, with Saturday nights on the couch with my family and a bowl of popcorn since as long as I can remember. The first competition that I can remember slightly more clearly, was the finals of the year 1998. At the time I was seven years old and blown away by the beautiful and talented winner: Dana International. For a long time after that, I basically fed on her winning tune and many years later, she became a sort of idol for me and a symbol for that in Eurovision Song Contest there are no restrictions of who you can become. It is a safe haven for everyone, where everyone is welcome and celebrated and where – even if the rest of the world does not adore you – you can be a hero or a heroine for who you are, for what you love and what you create. This, is what makes Eurovision Song Contest so special and so precious.
Florin Bogdan Matei (FBMatei) - Romania
I cannot describe in words what wonderful feeling this competition gives me. It became a part of me. I love the excitement that comes with the announcement of the finalists and the votes from final. I feel proud to support my country, no matter what song it has. Why do I love this contest? First, the Eurovision collects traditions and customs from each country and brings them in one place making a family, the Eurovision family. Second, this contest is an opportunity for all the participating countries because these countries, especially the winning country, promote the culture, the history and tourism. The special atmosphere of this competition is improved year by year due to innovative ideas put into practice by the winning countries under the coordination of national television and EBU, but also because of the songs which represent the participating countries. In conclusion, the Eurovision is the start of a whole “musical marathon”, whose trophy is the success.
Geertje (Geertje) - The Netherlands
Ever since I was little, I remember watching the Eurovision every year together with my parents. Because they thought I was too young to stay up to see the entire show, my parents would record it on video tape, and I would watch and re-watch it several times in the following weeks, much to my parents' surprise. I have not missed a single edition since then, except only the final in 2006 (and I still regret going to that party that night). I still prefer to watch the Eurovision together with my parents, because they love the show as well, especially my father. However, the last two years I had to watch the Eurovision in London and New York respectively. Most people thought I was crazy, staying in several nights to see the show, while I could have gone out and explore a big city like that.
A very special memory I have of the Eurovision, is attached to the edition of 2010. On the Sunday before the first semi-final, my boyfriend broke up with me. I loved him, very, very much, and I was devastated. To make things worse, my parents left to go on vacation the same day, so on Eurovision Night I was sitting alone on the couch with my family-sized bag of M&M's, feeling miserable. But when the show started and I heard the Eurovision tune, I started to feel better. When the violin of the first act, Moldova, sounded, I felt like I was being lifted from my sorrow, and I felt like I was part of something much bigger than me.
For me, Eurovision is not about the competition. It is about the realisation that all over Europe, and in fact all over the world, people make music to deal with life, both the positive and negative parts of it. Through this music, however different it may be, we can relate to each other's experiences, and understand that we all struggle with the same things. We can truly understand each other as fellow humans. Something we do not do frequently enough in everyday life.