The 60th anniversary of the world’s biggest entertainment show the Eurovision Song Contest will be celebrated with an array of special events and commemorations over the coming months by its creator the European Broadcasting Union.
The event was first staged in 1956 and the 60th edition will be hosted by Austrian EBU Member ORF in Vienna between May 18 and 23.
Two key events marking the anniversary will be held in London in the run-up to the event itself in Vienna.
A selection of well-known Eurovision artists will perform in front of an audience of fans at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith on Tuesday March 31. The event entitled “Eurovision’s Greatest Hits”* is a co-production between the BBC and more than 20 other EBU Members and features winners including Nicole from Germany, Sweden’s Herreys, Lordi from Finland, Denmark's Emmelie De Forest and Austria’s 2014 champion Conchita Wurst.
Luxembourg's Anne-Marie David, two-time winner Johnny Logan from Ireland and The Danish Olsen Brothers will also appear. The winners line-up is completed by the UK's Brotherhood of Man, Loreen from Sweden, Russia's Dima Bilan and Dana International from Israel.
On Friday April 24 the “Eurovision Song Contest: 60th Anniversary Conference” will take place at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly. This EBU event will explore the impact the Song Contest has had on the European public sphere over the last six decades. Academics, who have studied the power of the Song Contest, together with commentators and past performers will examine how Eurovision has been used as a platform of expression for diverse communities, to create national and European identities and as a tool for nation branding.
The EBU is also producing, in collaboration with Swiss Member SRG SSR, a series of short films entitled “Eurovision Milestones” that will look at key moments in the 60-year history of the Eurovision Song Contest including the four-way tie of 1969, the expansion of the Contest to Eastern Europe in the 1990s and the introduction of Semi-Finals in 2004. The videos are being made available to EBU Members for broadcast around the Vienna competition in May.
In addition, a special microsite detailing the history of the world’s biggest musical competition year-by-year is online here.
"The EBU is immensely proud of the Eurovision Song Contest and the impact it has had in the last 60 years,” said EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre.
“This is truly an event that builds bridges between nations and encapsulates the values of Public Service Media. In this anniversary year it is with pride that we look back at how the Contest has influenced the public sphere in Europe and look forward to the event remaining a huge part of the European cultural landscape for many more years to come.”
Jon Ola Sand, the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest since 2011, added; "It is an incredible privilege to celebrate the anniversary of the world’s greatest entertainment event that has united people across Europe and beyond for six decades. Throughout this time it has been a platform for diversity and national pride but, more than that, having grown from seven participating countries in 1956 to 39 this year; it has become a true European institution that has led the way in TV entertainment."
*”Eurovision’s Greatest Hits” will be broadcast by the following EBU Members: ORF (Austria), VRT & RTBF (Belgium), BNT (Bulgaria), DR (Denmark), YLE (Finland), France Televisions (France), NERIT (Greece), RÚV (Iceland), RTÉ (Ireland), IBA (Israel), NRK (Norway), RTP (Portugal), TVR (Romania), C1R (Russia), SMRTV (San Marino), RTVSLO (Slovenia), SVT (Sweden), SRG SSR (Switzerland), RTVE (Spain), BBC (United Kingdom). EBU Associate Member SBS in Australia will also broadcast the event.