On Saturday we were back at the Stadthalle for a more comprehensive briefing, which kicked off with a workshop (for all 800 or us!) with a samba drumming workshop. From there we were taken through a series of presentations covering everything from how to charter a bus to a crash course in Austrian Sign Language. It also featured a surprise guest appearance from Ann Sophie, Germany’s entry this year, who sang a couple of lines of Black Smoke (before breaking off, apparently because she’d forgotten the words!).
After lunch, the Delegation Hosts were shown how to work the twitter-linked selfie sticks for each delegation: Song Contest decidedly moving with the times. We were then free for an hour or so, and decided to make the most of the last day of our passes functioning as Access All Areas so we headed to the stage where a few dancers were rehearsing. It soon became apparent that the chic, incredibly slim woman sat just in front of us was none other than the ‘Queen of Eurovision’ herself, Conchita! As if that weren’t exciting enough, it wasn’t long before the man with a megaphone was calling for a run through of the interval act, meaning we got to see them all perform!
We were stopped as we left the auditorium and sheepishly started our apologies, expecting a telling off for being in what would soon become hallowed artist-only territory, but we were actually being asked if we minded being ‘light doubles’ for the opening of the first semi-final. Including the chance to go on the stage. Umm yes please!
Each of us was given a country – I was Finland – and sat at the appropriately-adorned table to watch Conchita sing her most famous song, Rise Like A Phoenix. Halfway through, she broke off to welcome the audience, before turning to us, the artists, and announcing “the stage is yours!” We then paraded past the Green Room, past a beaming Conchita, lots of cameras, through a cheering crowd and up onto the actual stage! The hall didn’t seem quite as big as I’d expected but the atmosphere was fantastic, even if it was only the production crew and a handful of backing dancers cheering us on.
As if the day couldn’t get any better, we bumped into Ann-Sophie on our way out of the Stadthalle and she was lovely enough to take a photo with us. I love Eurovision.
Steph is a British languages student currently spending a year abroad working in Vienna.
As a long term Eurovision fan, she jumped at the opportunity to get involved behind the scenes and is thoroughly enjoying her role as an Irish Delegation Host.
Picture Credit: Facebook.com/EurovisionSongContest