Ukraine is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time after Jamala won the competition last year in Stockholm, Sweden. What does hosting the contest mean to Ukrainians?
Rehearsals are underway in Kyiv ahead of the live broadcasts of the Eurovision Song Contest. This is Ukraine's second time that it has hosted the competition and the country is taking this as a serious opportunity to promote itself on the world stage.
Investing in the future
UA:PBC, the Host Broadcaster of the 2017 contest is proud to host one of the largest TV shows in the world and the team have worked around the clock to ensure that everything from the crew catering to the press centre is ready on time.
Viktoriia Sydorenko, International PR Manager for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest shared her thoughts on the contest: "For me, personally Eurovision is a chance to showcase Ukraine in a completely different light, to show that the country celebrates and shares its values, history and heritage. It's an opportunity to send a positive wave of energy to the entire world and to put the country on the map, so that everyone will recognise it," she said.
Ukraine has been in the news in recent years and the challenges of hosting the competition have been well-documented however for many in the country, staging the contest is an opportunity to invest in Ukraine's future. Viktoriia explained that the young democracy is still developing and making its way on the world stage. "The contest is a huge investment into the image of Ukraine as it draws much attention and interest towards our country as well as develops tourism industry," she added.
Made in Ukraine
The Eurovision Song Contest differs every year and 2017 is no exception. "This year the contest will incorporate modernity and Ukrainian features, starting from presenters’ costumes tailored by Ukrainian designers and ending with the outstanding artists who will perform," said Green Room Host Timur Miroshnychenko.
For many Ukrainians the contest also offers an opportunity to showcase the country's hospitality as well as culture. "Hospitality and generosity run in our blood. We strive to show that we are tolerant, modern and always ready to move forward," added Timur.
A journey of self-discovery
Hosting the Eurovision Song Contest also serves as a reminder for many in Ukraine as to how far the country has come since independence in 1991. "Ukraine is hosting this competition at the highest possible level, we want to make our people proud," said Timur (pictured below, left)
Viktoriia Sydorenko explained that Ukrainians often lack confidence in themselves and the Eurovision is an opportunity to change this. "We are hosting one of the largest TV events in the world, the eyes of the world will be in our country, we should be proud," she said.
On Sunday evening the Red Carpet and Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest will take place which marks the start of the event week leading up to the Grand Final on Saturday 13th May.