Prior to the broadcast of the first Semi-Final, there was a joint press conference of the host broadcaster ORF, and the EBU. Representing ORF were Executive Producer Edgar Böhm and Director General, Dr Alexander Wradetz, and from the EBU Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand and Event Supervisor, Sietse Bakker.
ORF were delighted to be hosting this 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, which they have been working on since Conchita Wurst won last year...374 days ago. During that period they had to make many important decisions, not least as to where exactly to stage this huge event.
A Green Eurovision
As they were very keen to make it a Green Event, the logical option was to host it in Vienna, as it is one of the most central of European cities and is well served by public transport and air and rail links. This would save visitors having any additional flights or transportation to another city.
The fantastic stage itself will be 100% recycled after it has served its purpose on the 23rd of May, which should contribute towards the event being officially awarded a green certificate.
With the logo of "Building Bridges", they are pleased at being able to build a bridge between three continents together, Europe, Asia and for the first time Australia. It is also bridges between past and future, between the different styles of music, from classical music to the modern music we will see in the contest.
The values they wan to encompass with the contest are tolerance, respect, diversity, peace and creativity.
The EBU also hopes to make future contests 'green events', though this will depend on the locations.
Facts and figures
- 3,000 Persons working at the contest; Technical Crew, Security, Volunteers, Catering.
- 1,800 Journalists
- 3,500 Tons of equipment
- 180km of cable
- 315 square metres of LED boards
- 45 countries broadcasting the shows - the 40 participating countries plus Ukraine, Kosovo, China, Canada and New Zealand.
- The contest will be live streamed on Eurovision.tv as well as, for the first time on Youtube.
- 7 Languages available as a second screen option of the new official Eurovision app. This is becoming one of the most popular methods by which people can vote, and those who sue the app tend to vote more.
- In addition to an audio description of the contest to assist the blind, there will be, for the very first time International Sign language will be used.
There were three main topics discussed by the contest's Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand.
- The Voting
- Audience booing
He emphasised the various measures that are in place to make sure the voting is as fair as possible, and this has been covered by Eurovision.tv on several articles in recent months, including publishing the names of the jury members, and that the full results breakdown will be published on Eurovision.tv following the Grand Final. All with the aim of making it very transparent for the audience. Unannounced visits, by independent notaries,i n the week leading up to the contest, is another example of measures in place.
On the televoting there is a team of 70 people based locally and in Cologne to monitor the televoting to make sure there is no attempt to rig the results.
Have a look at our short video to remind you of the voting process.
Jon Ola Sand was the Executive Producer of the 2010 contest, before he became the Executive Supervisor of Europe's Favourite Tv Show, and even back then he noticed the sheer number of people whom were accredited at the event. Many he felt seemed to serve no particular function, and tended to be friends of friends, business partners etc, and this is becoming unsustainable.
Over the last few years they have worked to improve upon this, but nevertheless some 10,000 accreditations have been printed off over a lot of different time periods, ie Day Passes. This includes for Press, Fans, Volunteers, Catering and of course Crew. The EBU has decided they need to be much stricter in order to make it a safe and secure environment for everyone to work in.
The last topic Jon Ola Sand covered was audience booing, and in particular reference to the booing at the 2014 contest of the Russian participants. He considered it disrespectful. and he recalled meeting the two Russian girls last year afterwards, who were in tears at what had happened. They shouldn't, and can't be held responsible for what happens in
Leave politics outside the venue
There are rules in place at the contest to make sure there are no political or commercial messages in the contest, whether that be in the song lyrics, on banners, or flags of countries that are not officially recognised, to ensure that the event doesn't become a political circus.
The contest should be a "friendly battlefield....not a political battleground".
The EBU itself works on the rights of freedom of speech with many journalists in their work around the world to ensure their safety.
Jon Ola Sand was confident that they would have a good contest in 2015.