Some 1,200 fans gathered at London's Scala venue for the biggest ever Eurovision Song Contest party in the UK capital. The event, organized by the fan website esctoday.com and partners, was attended by 12 of this year's Eurovision Song Contest participants. "This proves that when passionate people really believe in it, they can put together something very special in a very short time," said Barry Viniker, main organizer of last night's party, to Eurovision.tv. "I am referring to my team, especially Kabir and Paul, the more than one thousand fans who made history with us, the artists and everyone else who helped to make this happen in a country where some people believe the Eurovision Song Contest past its prime. Tonight showed that it's alive and kicking." The party was organized in three weeks time.
Not only was the party well received amongst the many Eurovision Song Contest fans in the United Kingdom, it was also highly appreciated by the artists who travelled to London to attend. "It's amazing! I feel especially honoured to be invited," said Maria, this year's Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest representative. Vlad, who represents Romania this year together with Nico, said to Eurovision.tv: "It is great to meet some of the other participants... it's a fantastic opportunity to get to know new people." Dustin the Turkey was so excited he almost pulled out his own feathers. "Today I'm a proud turkey! Yeah, I'm a turkey, not a chicken... don't forget," the Irish super star said, making a subtile reference to Marija Serifovic' comments on "the Irish chicken".
Bucks Fizz (United Kingdom 1981, winners of the Eurovision Song Contest), Euroband (Iceland 2008), Isis Gee (Poland 2008), Nanne Grönvall (Sweden 1996), Laka (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2008), Ani Lorak (Ukraine 2008), Maria (Norway 2008), Morena (Malta 2008), Nico & Vlad (Romania 2008), Paul Oscar (Iceland 1997), Ruslan Alehno (Belarus 2008) and Sirusho (Armenia 2008) performed last night. Andy Abraham (United Kingdom 2008), Dustin the Turkey (Ireland 2008) and Deep Zone & Baltazhar (Bulgaria 2008) attended as well to promote their entries for Belgrade.
The party was attended by some 70 journalists, some coming all the way from Ireland, Poland and Belarus. Serbians living in London also took the chance to get a preview of the Eurovision Song Contest spirit, just weeks before stars from 43 countries gather in Belgrade. During a press conference, before the party, and during the event itself, it was announced that the winner of the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest will come to the next UK Eurovision Party, on the 31st of May, as part of the Winner's Tour. The announcement was rewarded with applause from the audience. London is the first Winner's Tour destination announced, more will be revealed in the next couple of weeks.