We’re in the press centre and about to go into the first run through of the second semi final. I’m looking forward to this; it’s a really string line up and there are going to be some tears before bedtime tomorrow evening, and they could be from just about anybody. Our seats tomorrow night are actually behind the stage in a tiny block there so it will be good to see it from a better angle.
I’m sorry we haven’t yet seen more of the city; it’s just been nonstop since we arrived, but I am hoping for an earlier night tonight (after rolling in at 7am this morning...). Generally things are still slightly unusual for the western visitor but interesting for the more seasoned traveller. I’m being stopped a lot on the street to be greeted and welcomed, and people are really friendly. The city is clean, and pleasant, and like any capital one of contrasts. It has a crossroads feeling to it, with more Turkic influence than Soviet, which has surprised me a little, but perhaps not unexpected given a shift towards more traditional cultural connections that more recent political ties. I’m having a great time though, and would be happy to return here for a future show.
The EBU has held a conference this afternoon, and information is available here. The dates are announced for next year, 14th, 16th, and 18th May. There is discussion that the Contest as an event could be significantly scaled down in future with a refocus on it as a TV show, which may limit the possibilities for fans and media to travel to it, but may be a perfectly logical decision based on the financial burden of such a large scale local set-up. There are also rumours that – finally – the missing 1964 Contest has been found and will form part of the planned digitised archive to mark the 60th Anniversary.
Ok, we’re almost into the hall, so we will be back with you later.