My expectations for the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm were sky high. The song festival was organized in Stockholm, my favorite city, and I had bought my tickets months before. Attending the Eurovision Song Contest was on my bucket list for years and I couldn’t believe I was actually going to attend it live in Stockholm, in Globen (now Avicii Arena)! Let me tell you how it was to attend the Grand Final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm and share some tips for those who also dream of going to this event.
Back in Stockholm <3
I don’t know what I was looking forward to most: attending the Eurovision Song Contest live or going back to Stockholm. Stockholm captured my heart in no time when I first visited the year before. A lot happened that year: I learned Swedish and had a much more ‘local’ experience.
Attending the Eurovision Song Contest
What’s that like, attending the Eurovision Song Contest? Awesome! Truly, an unparalleled ambiance! The crowd clearly didn’t need a warm-up. As we entered, music from past winners was playing. I can testify that the only Belgian winner, Sandra Kim, is still very popular with the Eurovision fans as the crowd went wild when J’aime la vie blasted from the speakers. As a warm-up we got the Olson Brothers. They won in 2000, when the festival was also hosted in Stockholm. The audience also went crazy when the presenters appeared and of course when Frans, the Swedish entry, performed. It was a unique experience to be there live.
Maybe you also dream of attending the Eurovision Song Contest? Or are you just curious about what goes on behind the scenes? Keep on reading as I will share some fun facts and tips.
How to get tickets for the Eurovision Song Contest?
Tickets go on sale months in advance. The number of tickets is very limited and demand exceeds supply. So the key is to be on time and have a dose of luck. When the first tickets were available, I was ready with my laptop an hour before the sale. The colleagues were my backup and joined me in the virtual queue. Make sure you are registered in advance and have all your details ready/completed. Be sure to keep your bank card(s) and your bank account at hand. Prices varied between 20 and +200 euros for the Stockholm 2016 edition.
There are not only tickets for the Grand Final but also for the semi-finals + tickets for the dress rehearsals. These tickets are a lot cheaper. I went to the family dress rehearsal on Saturday afternoon and to the Grand Final in the evening. Both were definitely worth it! In the evening it is of course for real and in addition to the ambiance you also get the exciting scoring.
No tickets? Members of OGAE (which are the official Eurovision fan clubs) sometimes also obtain tickets through the fan club.
Where to stay?
I already looked for a hotel before I had tickets but everything was fully booked! The hotels often keep rooms available for delegations from other countries who may spend the night there. The prices were skyrocketing. Stockholm isn’t a cheap place to stay, but prices of 400 to 800 euros for a night were no exception. I initially booked into a hostel. Sharing a room with 3 ladies I don’t know: not really my cup of tea but the only affordable option. Until I checked in and was so dissapointed… I couldn’t stay there and so I looked for a solution at 10 p.m.
Quality Hotel Globen
The cheapest hotel that evening (still a few hundred euros) also turned out to be the best hotel, near Globen! You can see the relief and happiness on my face, I think. So happy that I could exchange that hostel for a little more luxury and comfort. Upon arrival, this turned out to be the hotel where a number of artists and their delegations were staying. How about the free rooms? A number of countries that were staying there were already out of the competition and had returned home. So that’s how I found myself in the elevator with the male presenter, having breakfast with Amir from France and dancing at the afterparty with the Bulgarian Poli.
Is there anything else to do in town besides the live shows?
Stockholm had gone big: the Festival was welcomed everywhere with flags, fan areas and little decorations. There was Eurovillage at Skeppsbron, an entire Eurovision village at Kungsträdgården and customized shop windows at NK.
There was also a lot of ambiance around Globen. Fans from all over the world headed to the Globe Arena, decked out in their national colors and carrying their flags. I also spotted some Belgians there and fraternized with some Dutch and Swedes. Are you going to the Eurovision Song Contest? Then put on your craziest costume with glitter and don’t forget your flag! The security checks were strict but went smoothly: it is best not to take a large bag with you and good to know: only small plastic sticks were allowed for the flags. Bringing food and drinks was not allowed, but prices were very reasonable.
Eurovision songfestival 2016
It was a fantastic show and I enjoyed every second of it. The acts of the presenters were absolutely great! Yes, a lot more memorable than Justin Timberlake’s performance.
Behind the scenes
I always like to see what goes on behind the scenes. Beautiful camera work! Hats off to the crew! What you didn’t see on TV was that the Australian singer needed some help to get off her block, that in the middle of another country’s performance a screen was removed from the stage while the artist took a quick tour with the camera. and that some acts had backing singers backstage or at the side of the stage.
And how exciting was the scoring! Australia was my favorite. And I wouldn’t have mind another win for Sweden, because then they would be organizing the festival again next year. The winning song was not in my top 10. Our Belgian Laura can also be proud of her achievement! I was sitting just behind the Green Room and after the show, together with some other Belgians, I went over and congratulated her.
Yes, I had said in advance that this was a once in a lifetime, but it was so much fun that I will definitely consider going again next time it’s organized in Sweden.
P.S. The day after felt strange. I later heard from a regular Eurovision-goer that I was probably suffering from a small PED: a post-Eurovision dip! But then again, there are worse places to suffer from a PED than Stockholm.