The Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) has been a long tradition within European Gay Culture. That is also the case for the Amsterdam gay scene, though the Dutch haven’t won the contest in over 40 years. Every year the winner of the previous year gets to organise the contest. So this year all eyes will be focus on Kiev, Ukraine, where the contest is held. But if you are in Amsterdam in May, you might think it is the epicenter of the ESC scene. The number of parties and other events around this camp event is enormous. Here is our pick of that weeks events.
Eurovision Song Contest: a quirky old world phenomenon
For those of you not living in Europe, here a quick heads up what the ESC is. Over 50 years ago, the nascent European Broadcasting organizations organized a song contest to bridge national divisions, to further peace and to have a yearly live tv broadcasting event. Every year all member states of the European Broadcasting Union can participate in a contest, where each country sends an artist (singer or group) with an original song. They perform live in an tv extravaganza and each country can vote for their favorite entry (not their own entry of course) by televoting and jury voting. The whole event is nowadays a three day event within one week: two semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday and the final on Saturday. The whole event is watched by hundreds of millions of people.
Eurovision Song Contest: a camp, gay phenomenon
From somewhere in the late ’70s early ’80’s the gay community grabbed on to the ESC and adopted it as it’s own camp event. Old favorites become cult hits and every year there are heated debates which singer or background dancer is the hottest guy during the event. It goes without saying, that this means people started to organise events to watch the ESC together, adding live comments and party around this event.
Many people come together with friends and somebody’s home. They enjoy each others funny comments on the contestants, rate the most sexy performer and admire the some beautiful songs. Often there is a drinking game involve. Rules for this game differ, but mostly involve the following: whenever a singer is dressed in white, a windfan is used to create a singing in a storm effect, a random acrobatic dance is performed during a break in a song and so on, the participants in the game need to drink a shot.
Amsterdam ESC 2017 events
In Amsterdam, where this year the number of events is almost countless. Many pubs and clubs have added their own spin on these ESC events. So here is our selection of this years’ events:
- Queen’s Head kicks off the celebrations on May 3rd from 9.30 pm with a live broadcast about the history of the ESC with all time favorites and the most embarrassing bloopers.
- On the 5th of May Queen’s Head organizes a ESC pub quiz starting at 8.30 pm. The main prize is a VIP treatment during the ESC finals at Queen’s Head. You can participate for €2,- a person, max team size is 6 persons.
- A spectacular EuroSong Travestival is organized on Sunday May 7th in Winston Kingdom. It is a drag queen extravaganza organized for the 15th time. You can expect the best and most hilarious drag queens doing their best ESC impersonations. From 7pm at Warmoesstraat 131, entry €15,-
- On Tuesday May 9th and Thursday May 11th are the first semi-finals. You can follow this live with other ESC fans at either the Queen’s Head (from 8pm) or Prik (from 8.30 pm).
- On Friday May 12th from 11.59pm you can party at the Mini F*cking Pop Queers which is going The Songfestival. See more details here.
- On Saturday May 13th is the big ESC final and you can see that with or without after parties at the following locations: Queen’s Head, Backdoor Teadance party, Prik, The Web (with Mr Leather Amsterdam, Mr Leather Spain, Mr XXXLeather 2017 and many others) and Amstel 54. Especially the Backdoor Teadance party is a big event. All these events will start around 8pm.
So immerse yourself in this European phenomenon. Expectations are that either Italy of Sweden will win this year. We can recommend you to follow wiwibloggs, one of the best informed online blogs about the ESC. If you are not able to join one of the parties in Amsterdam, you can watch the events on the ESC Youtube channel.