Editorial | Money, magic, Eurovision
You can say what you want about the Eurovision Song Contest, but one thing you can’t call it is a lightweight.
When it comes to the benefits for host cities, the economic impact is as clear as it is immense. Statistics from the city of Malmö, last year’s host, show that the 50,000 people who attended the three shows spent 160 million kroner while they were there.
On top of that, Swedish tourism agencies reckon that the advertising value of beaming pleasant images of the country to 170 million Europeans for four hours on a Saturday night amounted to over a billion kroner.
Any event, no matter how cheesy, with that much clout is worth putting some effort into first landing, and then pulling off right.
Firstly, that’s thanks to public broadcaster DR selecting Copenhagen as the host city. Not that we have anything against the provinces (they’d no doubt have put on a show that was every bit as professional as the capital), but with the exception of Horsens Prison, the choice of venues worthy of holding Europe’s greatest show left something to be desired.
So too did the hopefuls’ name recognition and their infrastructure. Herning, Aalborg and all of the other big towns west of Copenhagen’s city limits lack the airport connections that would have made it logistically possible to host a major European event. Billund, of course, has an international airport. But nobody ever suggested holding it in Legoland, quite possibly the only Danish city with more name recognition than the capital.
But while DR surprised few by selecting Copenhagen as host city, they certainly made up for it with their choice of venue. It is a move that is equally praiseworthy.
Eurovision goes together with sporting arenas like a hand in a sequin glove, and selecting Parken to host the event as it did in 2001 would have been an obvious choice. That’s why settling on a partially disused industrial site (the other part is used as a sewage processing plant) was a stroke of genius that will make Eurovision 2014 stand out, if not for content, then at least for style.
We know Refshaleøen well. We’ve been there for Distortion’s outlandish parties, Copenhell’s deafening concerts and for our own leisurely bike rides through the industrial wasteland, and we agree with Thomas Dalvang, Distortion’s founder, that it possesses a “magical” quality.
Dalvang fears that the magic will disappear once the area gets discovered. Such is always the case, but it’s better to burn out in a flash of kitsch than fade away as the city’s newest waterfront development.