I wasn’t fooled when The European Broadcasting Union announced that there would be “multiple” Euroclub venues in Turin. After months of whispers citing high prices and an alleged lack of “corporation from local businesses” it wasn’t looking likely that there would be an official space for accredited media to network, chill, and yes—party.
For those who may not know, “Traditionally, the EuroClub has been a venue or set of venues organized by the Eurovision Host City, where those working on the event, as well as fans, press and delegations, can go during any downtime. These spaces offer the chance to either chill out during mid-afternoon with a cappuccino, or heat up around midnight with a Caipirinha. Everything from a dance floor to a dining table across which Eurovision’s guests can mingle with one another.” via Eurovision.tv
Anecdotally, my hands-down-favorite “EuroClub” experience was in Stockholm, 2016. There was a coordinated effort by the host broadcaster SVT, the EBU, and the OGAE (fan clubs) to collaborate and host a JOINT space. From comedy shows to full out performances the coordinated effort provided accredited media and delegations alike the opportunity to balance out their Eurovision experiences. Even the opening ceremony happened adjacent to this building built specifically for the occasion. Folks from all pockets of the Eurovision world work really hard and it was nice to close one’s day out in the expansive EuroClub. I remember going there for lunch and spotting Poli Genova sipping a beer and bumping into Stig Rästa sitting outside on the wonderful balcony overlooking the water. It was a unique experience that is inevitable for folks able to access EuroClub. It was an experience that made me want to come to Eurovision year-after-year.
I am missing that experience this year, and I’m not alone.
As an American, it should go without saying that I love to work. I love my job and love the work that I do when it comes to covering the Eurovision Song Contest. Sure it is fun, but it is still work and much like life there has to be a level of balance.
With the limited number of press accreditations and the consolidation of fan media into the “International” delegation there was a palpable heaviness in the lead up to Eurovision that I believed would lift after we were all able to connect and BREATH (in some cases with an Aperol-Spritz) in the eventual EuroClub.
On April 21, 2022 the EBU announced that there would be multiple EuroClubs. 10 locations were announced and to be clear:
- 2 places are actual club spaces: Supermarket Club and Pick-Up Dal 1971
- 4 are cafe/coffee shop/restaurant situations (not a club): Eataly Lingotto, Otium Pea Club, BAUHAUS, and One Apple
- 2 are “hubs” aka event spaces: La Centrale and Snodo
- 1 is a shopping center: Mercato Centrale Torino…
Perhaps the organization was worried about the optics of a single official venue for folks to mingle while the threat of COVID is still present? I argue that having a single venue for accredited media would actually be safer. With all accredited folks being regularly tested— the bubble could remain tight. With the current set-up of 10 places available to ALL, untested people could be at the establishments and exposure is more likely.
ENTER: Eurofans Club.
It’s not official, but it seems to be the consistent “move” most fans and some of the artists are making. Located not too far from the arena, this venue had a clear schedule, offered tickets online and filled a void that many had waited months for the EBU to fill.
Seeing the EuroFansClub crop up and seemingly put together quickly has some scratching their heads and wondering why the EBU hadn’t put something like that together. Perhaps signaling a shift in the focus of the Eurovision Song Contest’s overall event planning process, it could be argued that a move away from creating fan centered and/or “casual” spaces could be occurring.
According to EurovisionWorld, “OGAE International is a network of 40 Eurovision Fan clubs around the world. All countries that have participated in Eurovision Song Contest are eligible to have their own local OGAE-club.” In the future the local OGAE affiliate may ultimately need to take on more responsibility to ensure fans from around the world are plugged into organized events outside the shows.
In the meantime, where the party at?