Yesterday, I returned home from what can only be described as a fantastic week away in Sofia for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2015. Yes, I was there to work hard and provide you with fantastic coverage of the contest, but we had great fun too. I hope throughout this editorial, I can share some of this adventure with you.
Welcome Party & Red Carpet
As you are all fully aware, this was suppose to take place on the evening of Sunday 15th November. However, due to the events that had taken place in Paris, in the days leading up to the event, the Red Carpet was delayed to Tuesday 17th November as part of Bulgaria’s three days of national mourning. The Running Order draw still took place as a non-televised event on the Sunday evening, closed to the Press.
On the Tuesday evening, the Welcome Party and Red Carpet took place in the Palace Of Culture. Normally, I would stand at the edge of the Red Carpet and take photos of the participants – not this time. For those of you who know Terry Vision is, you’ll probably know what is coming up. I helped with the lighting throughout this sequence and it took place behind the Red Carpet, somewhere the Press aren’t normally allowed to go.
Video: Ewan Spence/ESC Insight
As with the events that had taken place in Paris, it was understandable that Security would be increased for the whole event. There was a heavy presence of Police at the official hotel (where I was staying) and at the venue – Arena Armeec. For some, this would be unnerving, but I was rather pleased that BNT had taken these precautions – especially as Children were involved. The Delegation buses had Police escorts – which we travelled on at points throughout the week – it did make the journey to and from the arena a lot quicker! We were also lucky enough to have this Police escort to the airport too yesterday!
Podcasts are a feature on every Eurovision Song Contest and Junior Eurovision Song Contest. If you know the ESC Insight team, you’ll know that they produce daily Podcasts throughout the events. I was involved with most of these over last week and if you can guarantee one thing, laughter is in full flow. The Daily Podcasts also were broadcast on Radio Six International throughout last week at 17:00GMT for half an hour.
Source: Sam Ross/Recording the “Eurovision Insight Podcast”
Also, during the week, I pre-recorded a one minute feature for “The Euro Trip”. My preview went out on Rob Lilley’s show on Wednesday 18th November. I’ll be recording another feature to recall my Junior Eurovision Song Contest experience, as well as talk about the results over this next week.
“The Euro Trip” from Rob Lilley can be found via MixCloud. The “Eurovision Insight Podcast” can be found via the ESC Insight website.
Food & Drink
Food was certainly a feature that provided a lot of laughter throughout the week – mainly from the Press Centre at lunchtime. We arrived for our first lunch on the Monday and straight away we realised there would be a language barrier! Thankfully, Viara Ankova, the Director General of BNT was on hand to translate for us! By Wednesday though, there was a menu printed in English awaiting us each day. It was nice to have access to hot food this year, because in Malta in the Press Centre, we only had free fruit.
On Thursday night, the Eurovoix, EuroDummies and ESC Insight teams all went out to an authentic Bulgarian restaurant to experience the local cuisine. The menu was varied, with a range of vegetable dishes, salads and meat dishes. I sampled a delicious head of lamb.
Source: Richard Taylor/Head Of Lamb
As you know, these people work very hard to support their artists and also co-ordinate with the Press. With the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, we tend to know these people a lot more. In fact, this year, Garrett Mulhall changed from Editor-in-Chief of Eurovision Ireland to Head of Press with the debuting Irish Delegation from TG4. We know other people on other delegations, however, been Garrett’s first contest in this new role, we lived his ups and downs. Everyone is proud of what you achieved Garrett and we hope you and the rest of the Delegation from TG4 return to the next Junior Eurovision Song Contest.
Video: Garrett Mulhall/Eurovision Ireland
Garrett was very good as Head of Press by capturing a number of Video Diaries over the course of the week. For more of these, visit the Eurovision Ireland.
For people that have never worked in the Press Centre at either the Eurovision Song Contest or the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, won’t realise the friendships that bond throughout the contest periods. This bond is a lot closer at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest as we pull our resources together. I joined together with ESC Insight, Eurovision Ireland and EuroDummies to provide the best coverage possible. We have such a laugh while working all together. While people help each other out at the Eurovision Song Contest, it is nothing compared to what we did for each other last week.
Source: Richard Taylor/End of week Group Photo
The future for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest seems to be bright. We have at least five countries that possibly want to debut or return next year (Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania) and I’m sure with Malta likely to host, we could see even more countries knocking on the door. Sadly though, I think we will be seeing a withdrawal from the FYR Macedonia from what my sources have told me. The Junior Eurovision Song Contest is here to stay and I’ll be returning for sure.