Month: September 2018
ISRAEL – Ronen Levin, set designer for the 1999 contest in Jerusalem, spoke of the requirements, citing the importance of international involvement.
“The main share of the set-up in such an event is actually a combination of video and lighting, so in any scenario a team of designers from different specialization fields is needed.
There are very talented people in Israel, but cooperation with international artists can always be fruitful and enriching.
In this production everyone knows that there is not only no room for error, but that there is an opportunity here to impress the world, especially since not every country has directors with experience of stage building of this magnitude.
The stage of the last ESC in Lisbon will not be remembered for the better. It was inspired by four points of Portuguese culture and history – navigation, sea, ships and maps.
It was not particularly beautiful, and certainly not a breakthrough. Will be remembered mainly because there were no basic screens and because of the low budget allocated for the competition.”
NORWAY – NRK, the state broadcaster for Norway, has confirmed that the date for Norwegian National Selection ‘Melodi Grand Prix’ is March 2nd 2019.
HUNGARY – Hungarian broadcaster kicks off the 2019 edition of A Dal, the show through which the country will decide its participation in Israel. Submissions window opens on 8/11 and closes on 14/12.
CYPRUS – Eleni Foureira tops the LOS40 chart in Spain and announces new single Tomame. Along with joining the TANGA! party in London. Held in Madrid, this year a special Eurovision guest has been invited. Eleni Foureira will be performing live at the awards show airing November 2nd.
PORTUGAL – Gonçalo Reis and Nuno Artur Silva awarded by Meios & Publicidade for their achievements in the revamp of Festival da Canção and the hosting of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The event took place at the Altice Arena.
SWEDEN – 2,295 songs submitted to Melodifestivalen 2019. The amount of songs submitted ahead of next year’s contest were the lowest since 2015 when only 2,177 songs were submitted.
CROATIA – Head of delegation Željan Klašterka, where they stated: “As a new project manager and the head of Croatian Eurovision 2019 delegation, I confirm that HRT (Hrvatska radiotelevizija, Croatian national broadcaster) will participate in this contest.” He didn’t reveal any further detail and it is yet to be discovered which method of choosing this year’s act will they use.
MONTENEGRO – Montegrin broadcaster applied to compete at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest and hopes to join the list of countries who will participate in Tel Aviv. It is, therefore, likely that Montenegro will join the competition in Israel next year.
SPAIN – Amaia joins forces with Bono and U2 during sold-out Madrid concert.
IRELAND – Representatives of the Irish campaign for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 in Israel, on Wednesday, held a meeting with the Director General of RTÉ Dee Forbes.
At the meeting, at which Rory Coveney, Strategic Advisor to the Director General of RTÉ, and Michael Kealy, Head of RTÉ’s delegation for Eurovision, were also present, a petition signed by over 11,000 people was handed in. The campaigners explained the strength and breadth of support for a boycott in Irish society – including from Irish and international public figures like Roger Waters, Brian Eno, Wolf Alice, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Charlie McGettigan, Mike Murphy, Carrie Crowley, Paul Brady and Doireann Ní Bhriain and many others – due to Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.
During the meeting, the RTÉ representatives stated that they “will take away all that has been said and think about it,” and noted that there “will not be any sanction against anyone from within RTÉ who doesn’t wish travel on conscientious grounds.” RTÉ also said that they are “well aware that the Irish people are very concerned about and supportive of Palestinians” and that they “will not just be covering it as an entertainment event, and bearing in mind everything that has been discussed [they] will be covering it more widely.”
John Dorman, Vice Chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “We thank RTÉ for meeting us today and allowing us the opportunity to speak on behalf of over 11,000 people who are deeply concerned about the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel and who are asking RTE not to have any involvement in the Eurovision if it is to be held in Israel in 2019.”
“RTÉ may argue that the Eurovision is a cultural event that should not be politicised but that is exactly what Israel is doing, shamelessly using the Eurovision as part of their Brand Israel strategy. Israel is determined to put forward a pretty face to hide its ugly regime of settler colonialism, apartheid and brutal military occupation. RTE representing Ireland, the first country to say no to Apartheid South African 40 years ago, should now listen to the Irish people by taking a stand and saying No to Apartheid Israel by withdrawing from the Eurovision. This simple act of solidarity with the oppressed would send out a very powerful message to Israel that we will not stand on the wrong side of history and will support the Palestinian people in their darkest hour,” Mr. Dorman said.
Betty Purcell, well known former RTÉ producer and former member Irish Human Rights and Equality Commissioner said: “I am aware that a number of RTE journalists and programme personnel are deeply concerned about this. They are seeking trade union and legal advice on their position, should they refuse to travel to Apartheid Israel. RTÉ has a chance here to be on the right side of history, to heed the petition of over 11,000 Irish people who would like their national broadcaster to refuse to support the whitewash of Israeli war crimes, and to not travel to Israel for Eurovision in 2019.”
Catherine Ann Cullen, a poet, former Eurovision judge and member of PalFest Ireland, and organisation that fosters cultural links between Irish and Palestinian artists, said: “As a signatory of the Irish Artists Boycott of Israel, which more than 630 cultural workers have signed, I am particularly concerned about fellow artists under Israeli occupation. I was on the Irish Eurovision jury with Johnny Logan many years ago and it was a hugely enjoyable and light-hearted experience. Taking any part in a Eurovision in Israel, however, could not be light-hearted. While Israel continues to refuse equality to Palestinians, while Palestinians cannot attend events or travel freely inside or outside of Israel, the Eurovision is tainted with apartheid.”
ISRAEL – Before worrying about tourists, accommodations have to be made for all delegation members arriving in Israel. The official demand is to set aside no less than 3,000 rooms for a two-week period, although this number is expected to drop. A conservative estimate is that the costs of the room will be over 6 million euros just to host the official representatives and accompanying media.
Eli Ziv, the director general of the Tel Aviv Hotel Association, believes that thousands more will come besides the representatives set to come, and many of them will end up in other cities like Herzliya and Netanya. Ziv added, “May is a business month in Tel Aviv when occupancy rates are at their highest for the year.”
Anyone trying to order rooms privately for Eurovision has already encountered rising prices for the weekend of May 17-19. A random check of prices on booking.com showed that the Crown Plaza and Carlton Tel Aviv are asking $809 and $911, respectively, for two nights that weekend. The weekend after costs just $524 and $763 for two nights at the respective hotels.
Hotel industry sources say that the prices are expected to climb even higher, and the biggest benefactors are expected to be Airbnb owners. There are approximately 9,000 available rooms for short-term rentals, and they are expected to be fully occupied.
Besides preparing for the tens of thousands of tourists who will arrive for the semifinals and finals, there is significant tourist potential for the Euro Village that the city is to set up. Just a day after Barzilai’s victory, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said that his ministry would launch a campaign in Europe inviting tourists to visit Israel.
“The Eurovision has an impact on two points in time – both during the run-up to the event next year, and during it,” said Levin. “There is no doubt that the victory generated interest in Israel.” Despite this, the Tourism Ministry has been in no hurry to comment how it expects to draw tourists to the event or what role it will play in the preparations since the announcement that the contest would be held in Tel Aviv and not in Jerusalem.
Tel Aviv municipal officials get the enormous potential. Eitan Schwartz, director general of the municipality’s City, World and Tourism Administration, said that a task force has been established, the goal being to look at how the city prepares for tourists and “leverages this event for additional benefits.”
Booking.com reported an immediate spike in reservations for accommodations in Tel Aviv within minutes of Israel’s winning the contest. The website noted that although no decision was made at the time of the victory whether the event would be held in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, the company saw an immediate rise in reservations for both cities. The Israel Association of Travel Agencies and Consultants, which is also preparing for Eurovision, commented, “Our colleagues abroad have already begun to inquire about packages and ground arrangements for the week of Eurovision.”
The major problems that organizers expect to run into are transportation, high prices, language difficulties and tough border controls that do not cater to tourists, who often are grilled upon entry to or exit from Israel. Eitan Schwartz said city hall hopes to preempt such ordeals. “We established a municipal task force to prepare for the event at the operational level, from the moment the tourist arrives at Ben-Gurion International Airport to his or her departure,” he said. “It is easy for us to think that Old Jaffa is wonderful, and that we hold a special exhibition there, but that is not the story. Rather, the story is transportation, visibility, information and the high prices here. Even if these matters are not under the authority of the municipality, we are prepared to solve them.”
Schwartz says representatives of the tourism and transportation ministries as well as the Airports Authority are part of the task force. “They have specific missions. For example, placing bus route maps in all the bus stops and increasing the number of shared taxi service lines to solve the public transportation issue on Shabbat,” he said. “Additionally, we are in discussions with the taxi drivers’ association. We are interested in getting to a point where there will be a clear price list for taxis and an explanation about the meter, passengers’ rights and the like.”
UKRAINE – An event which can jeopardise Ukraine’s participation in the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, occurred in the country.
The EBU is extremely concerned about the future of public service media in Ukraine after broadcasts from EBU Member UA:PBC were terminated.
The state-owned Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Television Company of Ukraine cut-off analogue distribution of UA:PBC across the majority of the country due to the broadcaster’s debts.
The EBU has been leading calls to secure appropriate funding for UA:PBC in line with Ukrainian law and European standards. This year the broadcaster, which already has one of the smallest budgets in Europe, only received around half the budget defined by national law.
It is critical that citizens have access to independent, pluralistic news and information. This is especially important in the run up to next year’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
EBU Director General Noel Curran said: “We are dismayed that the authorities have taken the decision to deprive the Ukrainian people of this important public service.
“We urge the authorities to restore transmissions immediately and allocate the necessary funding to allow public service media to fulfil its critical role to society and to democracy in Ukraine.”
HUNGARY – Joci Pápai released his new music video entitled Kirakós (Puzzle) in which he recollects the key events that took him to his current state: being one of the most successful artist in Hungary. He tells his journey from the Hungarian national selection show „A Dal”, through the magnificent Eurovision Song Contest stage in Kyiv, playing sold out gigs and receiving awards in Hungary. At the end he pays homage to his fans who stayed with him on this remarkable trip.
THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch singer Glennis Grace is out of TOP5 of the America’s Got Talent Final: “It was an experience of change. AGT was my affirmation platform in America.”
BELARUS / UKRAINE – Belarusian and Ukrainian national broadcasters are the next confirmed participants for the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest.
SPAIN – Toñi Prieto, director of entertainment at RTVE will be facing court on the 3rd October but has just been awarded an honorary prize at the Latino awards, for promoting culture and music, as well as her longevity within the industry. In recent comments she is confident that nothing will come from the court case, a case which comes about from an accusation that songs were slightly altered, so that they were considered new and therefore able to claim royalties which were distributed among members of SGAE (a society of Spanish music authors) and other subsidiaries. Toñi Prieto has found herself involved in this situation because her daughter works for Sony Music, the company who were behind the choice of Manel Navarro for Eurovision in 2017, a decision that has found numerous detractors, to a stage where the Spanish government opened an investigation on the selection process followed for Eurovision by RTVE. the amount of influence which Toñi Prieto has at RTVE cannot be ignored, colleagues claim that she works countless hours to ensure everything is exactly as she wants it to be but that she is also not as popular with people precisely because of this need to control every step of the process. Needless to say, more news will likely be released once the court date nears and the situation heats up.
CYPRUS – The European Broadcasting Union has selected Cyprus as the hosts for the news conference. The event will take place in April 2019 in the city of Limassol. Over 100 journalists from 30 countries will attend the event, covering the contest in Tel Aviv.
UNITED KINGDOM – North London’s alternative rock band Wolf Alice defended their decision to sign a letter boycotting Israel’s hosting of the 2019 Eurovision song contest in an interview with The Independent. According to The Independent, Wolf Alice signed a letter calling for a boycott of the event together with fellow musicians Roger Waters and Brian Eno in addition to writers, theatre directors and filmmakers.
IRELAND – Former Irish Eurovision contestant Brendan Murray has made it through to the Six Chair Challenge on The X Factor. The Galway singer, who was also previously a member of the boyband Hometown, which was managed by Louis Walsh, was one of 60 out of 130 chosen by judges Simon Cowell, Ayda Field, Robbie Williams, and Louis Tomlinson to proceed to the next round of the ITV show. Murray impressed the judges at his initial audition with his rendition of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work although he had to pause during his performance and received some encouragement from Cowell.
DENMARK – SuRie, Fabrizio Faniello, Anne-Marie David, Rasmussen, Ace Wilder will attend the Eurovision Song Concert 2018 on October 27 in Copenhagen. Tickets are available here: https://billetto.dk/da/e/eurovision-song-concert-2018-billetter-252948
SWITZERLAND – Romanian artist Ovi Jacobsen has revealed on his Facebook page that he has been invited to feature on the International Expert Jury at Switzerland’s Eurovision national selection process.