Participating country flags have been raised!
In the presence of Eurovision Song Contest organisers and journalists yesterday, the flags of all of the contest’s participating countries were raised. On hand at the ceremony were the general director of Latvian Television, Uldis Grava, representatives of the Rīga City Council, as well as the executive director of the Eurovision Song Contest, Brigita Rozenbrika. Grava told the audience that the Eurovision Song Contest has now unofficially begun.
Each flag was raised by the hosts of the relevant delegation, except that the Latvian flag was raised by the country’s representatives at Eurovision – the trio F.L.Y. This earned a great deal of interest among journalists who were on hand. The Estonian flag, meanwhile, was raised by the head of the Estonian delegation with the assistance of children from a folk dance group called “Dzintariņš”, or Little Amber.
It is believed that journalists were on hand for the flag raising ceremony from Latvia, Germany, Spain, Austria and other countries.
The Eurovision Song Contest week has begun
With the stage rehearsals of the first participants, yeasterday, May 19, the Eurovision Song Contest week begun. It will close on May 24, when after the final concert this year’s winner will be anounced.
The first working day was pretty intense, since the participants not only had to do the technical rehearsals, but also attend press conferences and answer fans’ questions during the Internet chat. The participants arrived in their dressing rooms as early as at 9:00 AM (the Icelandic performer Birgitta was first to open all events both on stage and in the Press Center), while the last participants left the Skonto Hall merely at 10:00 PM, when the Latvian representatives, the trio F.L.Y., were done with chat with fans.
All in all, first four days until Thursday are devoted to rehearsals, press conferences, make-up tests, and chat with the fans. After that, on May 23, first two dress rehearsals take place, while on the evening of May 24, after the day rehearsal, the final concert will begin, that will be viewed by approximatly 150 million people worldwide.
We would like to remind you that tickets for Eurovision Song Contest day concerts (dress rehearsals) can still be purchased at all major shopping centres around Riga.
Eurovision fans chat with participants
Chat sessions with Eurovision Song Contest participants began at noon on May 19. Birgitta from Iceland was the first to sit down at the keyboard. Eurovision fans could chat with representatives from nine different countries in all – Iceland, Austria, Ireland, Turkey, Malta, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus and Latvia today. The chat sessions can be reviewed in the chat archive. During the early part of the day fans were apparently still sleepy, and there weren’t too many questions– between 55 and 65 for each session. Later in the afternoon, though, each participant faced 300 questions and more. It’s not possible to answer to such a large number of questions in half an hour, of course, and organisers hope that no one will be offended if a question is not answered. The Cypriot representative received the greatest number of questions.
Chat sessions with participants will continue until Thursday evening – watch the Internet for your chance to chat!
The second day of the Eurovision Song Contest week has been pretty intense. On Tuesday, the technical rehearsals of the participants went on, sound quality had to be checked, and the choreography had to be brought in accordance with the lighting. The rehearsals were watched by a significant number of journalists, who most probably were interested in the rehearsal of the Russian group “Tatu”, which is believed to be one of the most scandalous participants at the Eurovision Song Contest. The rehearsal of “Tatu” came about without any incidents though, and the organizers had not have to face surprises.
Work also continued in the Press Centre– all participants took part in press conferences, which were attended better than on the previous day.
Also the chat with Eurovision performers draw more attention. Approximatley 500 questions from fans were submitted for the Swedish performers Fame, but it was unfortunately impossible to answer all of them because of the restricted chat duration.
On the third day of chat with Eurovision Song Contest participants, a new record was established: about 1600 questions for the Spanish performer Beth were submitted in 30 minutes, which was filmed by a camera crew. Each new question was received with big cheering. The singer answered the questions, some of which were in Spanish, with pleasure and zeal. Beth was surprised by the huge activity of fans and didn’t even try to hide her bewilderment, caused by the huge number of people who were eager to ask her something.
No other performer of those, who took part at the chat, had raised such attention before. The Swedish representatives Fame held the previous record with 500 questions.
The chat archive is available on the Eurovision Song Contest site, in the section “Chat with participants”.
Everything in the Skonto Hall is indicative of the fact that the final concert of the Eurovision Song Contest rapidly approaches. Only one day is to go until the evening of May 24, when the winner of 2003 will be announced. To make sure that everything goes fine and to prevent possible mistakes, the first dress rehearsals took place in the Skonto Hall.
All performers took part in two rehearsals, with estimated 12 thousand people watching both shows. Children from orphanages and families with many children, who could see the concert for free, were present also. There was a little incident regarding the performance of the Russian act “tATu”, however. At first, they refused to sing and demanded the song to be started over!
The comings and goings in the Press Centre were a little bit calmer today, because the usual press conferences with Eurovision Song Contest participants are over. There was only one press conference held by the organisers of the event. The organisers had to answer different questions about the production of the Eurovision Song Contest. A few journalists complained about the restricted number of invitations for the “afterparty”.
The journalists had the possibility to follow both dress rehearsals on the big screen today as well.
The last day of the Eurovision Song Contest week was pretty tense. The latest preparations were carried out to ensure that in the evening, when the whole world will watch the Eurovision Song Contest, everything goes impeccable, and to let everyone see that the show was perfect.
Earlier today, the last dress rehearsal took place, with several thousand people watching. Besides the performances by all participants, a test of the result counting system was carried out, with the hosts in Skonto Hall connecting to all participating countries during the dress rehearsal. In the previous dress rehearsals the results were collected without connecting to the participating countries.
Tonight, at 10:00 PM (local time) the Eurovision Song Contest 2003 will start with 26 participating countries competing for the privilege to host the event next year. President of the Republic of Latvia Vaira Vaira Vīķe–Freiberga and other officials will attend the concert.
Good luck to all participants!