The Eurovision song contest final, for us, sort of hails the begining of the summer and garden parties BBQ season. It’s a wonderful excuse to get together with friends and watch this quirky, often bizarre, mix of music from across Europe and the adopted European countries of Australia, Turkey and Israel.
Over the years we’ve organised many Eurovision parties with international friends. It’s a fabulous excuse to get together and watching the competition brings out the funniest side of people.
A friend said: ” Oh we (as in I and am introducing it to my little ones now) love it- simple for the liveliness, discussion, crazy things that happen, costumes and laughs. It’s something I now have enjoyed watching many years. Sometimes with others, sometimes alone, but I try to do dinner and snacks so it’s more fun and more of an occasion.”
In Sweden, the Eurovision song contest is taken to a whole new level of seriousness! The competition is proceeded by the Melodi Festival, where the Swedish entrant to the Eurovision song contest is chosen. My children, since moving to Sweden, have become obsessed with the song contest.
In Stockholm, there is a huge projector on Stureplan for those who want to watch outside.
Chatting within a group of expat mums, when reminded of the upcoming event, one mum remarked: ” Wait a minute…..is this one of the weekends people warned me about, when you saunter into Systembolaget* for your casual 1 bottle of wine, only to discover the shelves stripped completely bare? ? If so Imma stopping by later to get my stockpiling in early ?”
* systembolaget is the state-owned alcohol retailer, the only place (besides restaurants and pubs with an alcohol licence) to legally buy alcohol in Sweden. It has limited opening hours of generally 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturdays. If you are out of booze on a Sunday or need beer for an impromptu BBQ, then you will have to contend with an alcohol content of 2% or less available in your supermarket.
What are the essentials of a good Eurovision Song Contest Party?
It’s definitely much more fun watching Eurovision with others. The opportunity to debate, judge the merits of the entrants makes the long evening disappear so much quicker.
So a party it should be!
2) Dress up …optional?
Who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up for a party?!
At Nikki’s everyone has to source or make their own flag for the country they pick as winners and come wearing something stereotypical (think garlic for France and Bratwurst for Germany!)
The best way to get involved and invested in the competition is through scorecards.
There is, of course, the excitement of the TV voting internationally and the traditional block voting, where neighbours support each other. If you consider the history of Eurovision https://eurovision.tv/history/in-a-nutshell spanning over 60 years, it’s quite natural to have favourites and similarities in tastes and humour within regions. 😉
However, voting among your party and comparing that to the wider audiences views bring a new level of engagement and fun.
A great place to start is Julie’s totally, non-PC scorecard… do revise if you are playing with younger kids!
Do you want even more riding on it?
Consider introducing a sweepstake with some money put into the pot. Say £50?
4) Party food
Oh you can really go to town with food! Let your imagination run wild and make it a medley, just like the song contest itself:
- Tapas to include a mini bite… from each country
- A potluck where everyone brings a favourite
” It has to be retro and super camp for us! An 80s styl buffet – cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, the works.”, says Erica
Zyna, in our expat mum’s group is pulling together the following:
“This year I’m making caprese bites, an antipasto stuffed bread bowl, BBQ mini sausages, Mac and cheese bites, Parmesan crusted tortellini with marinara sauce, taco pinwheels, cheese quesadillas, veggies and dip”
There seems to be a consensus between all I’ve asked: drinks, preferably alcoholic drinks, are a must for the evening.
Theme the drinks suggested Karina ” we have European themed cocktails and silly wigs & games”
6) Top tips for how to actually watch the Eurovision song contest
Watch it on the biggest TV you can find among friends. If you have one or can borrow one, try a projector linked to a good sound system
Watch the BBC broadcast
The late Sir Terry Wogan did a wonderful job at finding the tone for commentating Eurovision. Taking over from him, Graham Norton has taken to a whole different level. If you are able to, get Graham’s version of commentary on the BBC.
Switch on subtitles
Definitely put the subtitles on when watching, comes the suggestion from Jo,” as it can be hilarious!”
6) Getting the party going
Have people arrive early and play games.
A warm-up Karaoke featuring old tunes is a great way to kick off the party according to Nadia
“We also play ‘Eurovision bingo’ which is where you guess what words are going to be said in the song lyrics or by Graham!”, suggests Louise
Take a Eurovision Quiz.