Jamala’s victory in Stockholm with the haunting “1944” gave the Ukraine the right to host the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest in 2017.
After a lengthy selection process, the local broadcaster announced on 9 September 2016 that the 62nd Eurovision Song Contest would be held in Ukrainian capital Kyiv/Kiev. The semi finals took place on 9 and 11 May, and the Grand Final on 13 May 2017.
The shows were staged in the International Exhibition Centre which was transformed into a Eurovision arena with a capacity of around 8,000. The venue provided a more intimate experience than in some previous years, and those fans lucky enough to secure “Golden Circle” tickets were very close to all the action.
The first wave of public ticket sales took place in early February, with further batches of tickets being released right up until show week. OGAE ticketing finally took place in early March with members securing 1000 ticket packages.
The Kiev International Exhibition Centre is a modern facility made up of a number of different, interconnected halls. The largest hall was converted into the contest venue with a capacity of around 8,000 (reduced from original estimates). Adjoining halls accommodated the Press Centre, technical facilities, dressing rooms etc. as well as a very spacious fan zone which could be accessed by accredited fans.
Given the political situation, security was particularly tight throughout the city of Kiev during Eurovision fortnight. The venue itself was secured by hundreds of local police supported by the military, all working to ensure a safe and secure contest for the delegations, crews and spectators.
After some hesitation, the Parkovyy conference centre was selected as the venue for the EuroClub. Thanks to the organisers, OGAE members who were not lucky enough to secure accreditations, were able to access the club by buying a special pass.
Security was once again extremely tight and there were some logistical difficulties, at least in the early days, but the venue proved a worthy EuroClub and hundreds of fans were able to dance the night away throughout Eurovision finals week.
The EuroClub also played host to a very successful fan event on the Wednesday of finals week when the WiwiJam and OGAE International annual party were combined to create the biggest fan event of the week. An array of 2017 acts performed on stage along with 2015 ESC winner and fan favourite Mans Zelmerlow.
The EuroClub was transformed during the day into the Euro Fan Café, hosting a number of fan oriented events.
The City of Kiev definitely entered into the spirit of Eurovision, with the city’s main avenue, Khreschatyk, closed to traffic and transformed into an open air party venue complete with bars and stage. The Village was supplemented by another fan area near the city’s Cathedral with another stage and a number of food stalls. Initially, the amazing weather, high temperatures and a local public holiday made the EuroVillage a great place to spend a few hours, but the chilly weather that took hold later in Eurovision week, and the brief snow showers rather dampened the atmosphere. Nevertheless, the City of Kiev did a fantastic job.