12points was at the offical opening party to the Eurovision Song Contest in Baku last night. We've summed up our experiences in the twelve points below.
"1" | "The Red Carpet"
All the artists were granted a grand entry, arriving by buss and then walking a red carpet were they were welcomed by the hosts of the contests and a crowd of fans and press. An hour after the start still less than ten of the deleagtions were weldomed, later on it speeded up, but we decided to go in because we were getting a bit hungry....
"2" | "The Food"
Uhm, or no food in this case. We only spotted one waiter serving some small snacks, and then he was gone and there was no food anymore....
"3" | "The Drinks"
All alcoholic beverages were free of charge, for soft drinks however we had to pay. How can an islamic country promote alcohol drinking more than this. We surrendered and drank beer.
"4" | "The Location"
In Istanbul the Opening Party was organised in a beautiful garden surrounding a local palace, in Belgrade we were welcomed in Tito's old palace, in Helsinki the prestigious Finlandia Talo was the location of the opening party. This year the Euroclub was chosen, the club where we already have been hanging out every night this week. Baku spend such a lot of money on the entire contest, it's a pity that there was no budget for a better opening party location.
"5" | "The Music, Part I"
When we enetered the Euro Club, a cover band was playing pop tunes. The kind of band you would expect at your yearly company party.
"6" | "The Music, part II"
At some point things changed for the better when some of this years artists jumped on the stage and did spontanic performances of their entries. We were really impressed by the acoustic version Soluna Samay and her team presented to us.
"7" | "The Music, part III"
In a euro Club you should hear Eurovision music. The Azeri's have a different view on this. It's been a continuous struggle to get Eurovision music played there, and yesterday the OGAE fan DJ wasn't allowed on stage at all. Dissapointed, most people left the place. So for us this meant an early return to our apartment.
"8" | "Flags"
When entering the Euro Club a huge pile of flags welcomed us to take our pick, all national flags as well as this year's Eurovision flag were there for the grab. A great idea, but it is a bit unpractical to have everyone walk around with huge flags (on sticks) during a party.
"9" | "The Delegations"
Talking with some of the delegations we heard that they were very happy about the red carpet part of the evening, but not at all about the rest of the party. There was not enough space at the VIP deck, there was no food and the sound quality on stage was not good enough for most delegations to allow their artists on stage.
"10" | "Feathers"
Not only Joan Franka from the Netherlands was wearing her feathers last night. Also Tooji did! A Dutch TV station was trying to capture as many artists as possible wearing an ornage copy of Joan's feathery headdress, asking them about the Dutch chances for qualifying.
"11" | "The Press"
Unexpectedly there was not a lot of press at the red carpet. We didn't mind, because that gave us a great oportunity to see all the artists and take some snap shots
"12" | "Corruption"
The little food that apparently was served backstage was free of charge. But some waiters seemed happy to take money for it, which without receipt probably went straight into their own pockets.