The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1956 and is hosted every year in a different country. The contest has featured performers from 52 countries since the competition began competing against each other for TV audience votes, with points awarded over live video link from delegations in all the participating countries at the end of the competition.
The show is always a grand event and the Eurovision Song Contest stage is considered the “largest stage in the world”. Eurovision winners bring the contest to their home country, providing the country with a major tourism boost, consisting mainly of excited youngsters and die-hard Eurovision Song Contest superfans.
In 2018, the fabulous Netta Barzilai, Israel’s representative, won the Eurovision contest in Lisbon, Portugal. This was not the first time Israel has won the competition.
Israel joined the Eurovision in 1973 and has since won 4 times. In 1978, Yizhar Cohen, along with the Aleph Bet band, won with the song “Abanibi”, which became an Israeli staple. In 1979, Israel hosted the contest in Jerusalem, causing the Eurovision to be held outside Europe for the first time.
In 1979, Gali Atari and the “Milk & Honey” band won the contest in Jerusalem.
In 1998, Dana International won the Eurovision with her song “Diva”, bringing the contest to Israeli in 1999. That year, another historical precedent was set. Due to financial complications, the Israeli Broadcasting Company request permission to host without live music on stage. The European Broadcasting Company agreed, and since 1999 there has been no live music during the shows, saving millions from the budget, so that the singers now perform to a backing track.
This year, 2019, The Eurovision will be held in Tel Aviv, following Netta Barzilai’s win with the song “Toy” last year.
Israel will be represented by 27 year old Kobi Merimi, who won the pre-Eurovision show “The Next Star”, and has quickly become the new Israeli national sweetheart.
The Eurovision contest of 2019 will take place on 14-16 April at the Tel Aviv Expo, and will be broadcast live to participating countries.
The Tel Aviv municipality has already begun preparing for this historically huge event. Hotel rooms from hostels, small boutique hotels to luxury hotels like The Norman Hotel have already been booked for competitors and judges and private room rental ads have already begun to pop up everywhere. Bar owners and party planners are planning epic parties and hiring star DJs in preparation to host a large influx of first time visitors to Tel Aviv and to show them why the city is known as the city that never sleeps.
To help everyone fully celebrate this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Tel Aviv municipality has put the wheels in motion to create a “Euro-Village” on the beach, which can hold approximately 10,000 people. The village, located at the Charles Klor area, will be easily accessible, hosting shows, broadcasts, parties food and drinks as well as selling souvenirs.
The competition has never lost its popularity and has become an institution in so many countries, something that people make a point of watching every year. In recent years, the Eurovision Song contest has become a symbol of inclusion and equality in all groups of people. We wish the best of luck to Kobi and look forward to welcoming Eurovision competitors and fans from around the world.