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  • (eurovision.tv)
Vienna is looking forward to hosting one of Europe´s biggest parties. Maria Schaller reports. *To hear the English language story click on the AUDIO Tab*
By
Maria Schaller

12 May 2015 - 3:35 PM  UPDATED 12 May 2015 - 5:06 PM

It won´t be the first time that Vienna hosts Europe's biggest entertainment event. After its performance in 1967, the city of waltz, art and chocolate cakes is back in the Eurovision spotlight.

Their "Wiener Stadthalle" is the arena where Europe celebrates the 60th anniversary of the contest. With a capacity of approximately 16 thousand people, some of the world's biggest stars have performed there. ORF Executive Producer Edgar Böhm says the preparations are going to plan.

"We can say, we are just in time. Maybe, we are a little faster than the television companies in the last years."

Traditionally, the contest has been produced by the national public broadcaster of the country that won the year before. Böhm says this year ORF is taking care of the whole production.

"We are not only the media partner of the EBU, we are really organising the whole thing. So we are responsible for ticketing, catering, security, logistic, hotels. Everything around the whole show."

Vienna has around 14 million overnight stays per year, which makes it the 8th most popular tourist destination within the European Union.

Helena Hartlauer from the Vienna Tourist Board says the contest will be a huge income boost for the city.

"We expect about 15 million additional Euros in income due to the event, only by bednights revenue. But an additional added value by other expenses. But the really important thing for us, of course, is to showcase Vienna, Vienna's strengths like music and hospitality. We want to host the most welcoming Eurovision Song Contest ever in Vienna."

However, due to the cities' large hotel capacity it should still be possible to get a room at the last minute.

"What we can say right now, is Vienna is not going to be fully booked. It will be possible to get a hotel room, because Vienna has a huge amount of hotel beds. We are absolutely capable to host this event and also to host all the fans and delegations and journalists when it comes to hotel beds."

27-year-old Austrian Michael Steinmetz won't need a hotel room, because he is a resident. He considers himself a big Eurovision enthusiast. Michael will experience the show backstage as part of his job.

"Well, I'm very excited, because I had the chance, or I have the chance to work during the Eurovision Song Contest and for the Song Contest, so I will be backstage and I will experience the whole show. I am a huge fan, so for me it´s the best way to experience the Song Contest. And probably after the final show, well I know that there are quite a lot of parties, so I think, I am gonna join one after work."

As a local he can confirm that the city is ready for Eurovision.

"I think it's really time. We can see it everywhere here in the city, on posters, on video walls, in television. Especially the person Conchita is probably everywhere. What I've heard is during the Song Contest week, Conchita will be everywhere at the public transport, because she is saying and telling all the bus stops and tramway stations and subway stations, so you can hear her everywhere."

Australian Simone Mayerhofer will be closely involved in the contest as well. Born in Canberra, she now lives in Vienna. She is working onsite as one of Australia's delegation hosts.

"When the delegation comes, the three of us hosts will share up the time and do whatever they want to basically. Should we have to show them around Vienna, show them around the sights. And everyone's really excited, I am assuming I'll be backstage with the artists and just, you know, helping them however I can. But making a peek on what's going on, hopefully."

The 60th contest in history will mark the very first time that Australia is competing. ORF´s Edgar Böhm looks forward to welcome Australia in the Eurovision family.

"We are very proud and very happy that Australia will take part. You know our slogan, our slogan is 'Building Bridges' and so we are building now the greatest bridge on earth, from Vienna to Australia."

Vienna looks ready for the big show. An estimated 180 million viewers worldwide will tune in.

You can watch all the Eurovision Finals LIVE on SBS ONE and listen live on SBS Eurovision Radio.

From 5:00am May 20, 22 and 24 with the finals replayed each night at 7:30pm.