International Eurovision fans had waited a substantial period of time before it was finally possible again to organize “Het Grote Songfestivalfeest” (trans. “The Big Song Contest Party”). Because of the global pandemic this normally annual event was two years in the making, but last Thursday (17 November 2022) the time had finally arrived! Almost 30 Eurovision acts performed in the Ziggo Dome venue in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This edition of Het Grote Songfestivalfeest was extra huge, and of course ESCplus International was present to take all the Eurovision enthusiasm in the arena during the concert, but also in the hours before during the time that was reserved for the press.
On November 17th 2022, in the hours before the concert, there was a press conference with many of the Eurovision performers of Het Grote Songfestivalfeest. This press conference was also in the Ziggo Dome in the Netherlands’ capital, Amsterdam. During the press conference the stars of the concert came to be interviewed and to take pictures with the press that was present. Among many other Eurovision news outlets ESCplus International was present. The three of us (Denis, Karen, and Michaël) had a talk with Eurovision legends like the Swedish Carola Häggkvist (1983, winner of 1991, 2006), but also the Irish Mr. Song Contest, Johnny Logan who has won the contest on 3 occasions (as a singer in 1980 and 1987, and as a songwriter in 1992). We also met the only Belgian winner to date, Sandra Kim (1986), and the Dutch 1986 formation Frizzle Sizzle. Dutch Lenny Kuhr was also present, she won in 1969 with the song “De Troubadour”. Next to this, there were also a lot more recent (winning) Eurovision acts, like: Israelian singer Netta (winner of 2018), Swedish Måns Zelmerlöw (winner of 2015), Greek Helena Paparizou (winner of 2005), TIX (2021) and Subwoolfer from Norway (2022), Australian Sheldon Riley (2022), but also Azerbaijani Efendi (2021) and Swiss Gjon’s Tears (2021).
It was so much fun to meet up with singers that we got to know during previous editions of the Eurovision Song Contest, but also to meet many of our colleagues again from all sorts of international (Eurovision) news outlets. The atmosphere in the press room of Het Grote Songfestivalfeest was so positive. It was good to talk to each other about where we have been and what our plans are Eurovision-wise and on a personal level.
Everything about this concert was grand. The stage, the number of audience members, the number of performing Eurovision stars, it was absolutely amazing! We had the best of time singing along and dancing to the beats of songs from Swedish 1984 winner Herreys, Greek 2021 contestant Stefania, Sweden’s 2012 winner Loreen, and the only Finnish winner to date, Lordi (2006). The atmosphere in the Ziggo Dome was a blast, and there was such a feeling of togetherness, really beautiful.
In the end, when all acts had performed, we could only conclude that our Eurovision hearts were whole again after years of anticipating another Songfestivalfeest. We cannot wait until next year when this Eurovision mega event will get organized again.