I am so bummed Eurovision isn’t happening this year because of coronavirus travel restrictions.
You see, I’m a Eurovision super-fan. My first Eurovision was in Copenhagen in 2014. I’ve been every year since. Vienna in 2015, Sweden in 2016, Ukraine in 2017, Lisbon in 2018 and Israel in 2019.
There’s only one person who has gone to every Eurovision with me since 2014 – my best friend Matt Roehr (he lives a suburb away from me in Sydney). He is the organiser in terms of booking hotels etc. I’m a bit of procrastinator.
Being a procrastinator paid off this time. I’m quite lucky, I waited to buy flight tickets till the last minute. We didn’t get tickets to the show either. There were two rounds and a third one was about to come up and that’s when it was cancelled.
I was in Year 10 in 2001 when I saw my first Eurovision and became obsessed. I loved the spectacle of it. I started recording it on VHS and then switched to DVD. It’s over-the-top. It gives people freedom to express themselves in a way where there’s no judgement and everyone just supports each other. It doesn’t really bother me what language the music is in. It’s more about the story and the way it makes me feel.
Now it’s become hipster and trendy, because of amazing Indy artists who are entering like Montaigne. There’s so much untapped talent in Australia. This is where Australia excels, outside the mainstream. Some countries take it as a laugh. In Australia, we take it seriously. If Australia can take America’s Cup from America after 132 years, I’m pretty sure we can take the Eurovision crown from Europe!
The Eurovision pilgrimage began in 2014. Matt was going to Europe and we thought: why not go to Eurovision? It was a bit of laugh for him, but I was a fan.
Now we have a crew and call ourselves the ‘Kangaroo posse’. [In previous years] we've had Eurovision pre-parties before we go to Europe. The first year, in Denmark, we went dressed in koala and kangaroo onesies. We had a great laugh. We handed out Tim Tams, we gave out kangaroo toys to kids. It’s quite fun and people love it and really enjoy it. In Vienna, we had our 15 minutes of fame after we got interviewed by Belgium and Russian television in our apartment.
We [normally] combine our Eurovision trip with a holiday so it gives us a bit of a before and after. We see the sights and sounds of other countries, so we are hitting two birds with one stone. We’ve made quite a few friends we only see at Eurovision.
It sounds very cheesy but we are ambassadors for Australia. We do grow closer together and find out more about each other because we travel together.
My favourite moment, but also when my heart dropped a beat, was when Aussie singer Dami Im came second in 2016. We were sitting in the audience holding our breath, just hoping and praying for her.
It’s a double blow, not being able to see friends I haven’t seen since last year, and not getting to go to Eurovision and see these great artists and support my country.
I plan to watch the ‘SBS Eurovision Virtual Big night in’, the 2020 corona[virus] lockdown edition. Depending on the lockdown rules of NSW, I can hopefully go and celebrate and experience it with Matt at his house. Whilst Eurovision is really important to me, safety comes first.
I will be either be alone or celebrating with friends watching on TV. One thing that will remain is that I will be wearing the kangaroo onesie. And I will post the pictures on my socials. Hopefully it will bring a smile to people’s faces.
The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, will be broadcast exclusively on SBS in Australia from 19 to 23 May. Stay tuned to the SBS Eurovision website for updates: sbs.com.au/Eurovision. Join the conversation #SBSEurovision #ESC2021