All posts by Roy van der Merwe

Bulgaria is no longer participating

Sadly, BNT, the Bulgarian national broadcaster, has confirmed that they will no longer be taking part in the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.

There was much speculation as to their participation, having initially applying to participate, then later stating that no decision had been made. Unfortunately this announcement now makes their absence at the contest official. It will be the second year in a row that Bulgaria will be missing from the Eurovision stage.

They will be sorely missed, and ESCCovers wishes them all the best and hope to see them back in 2016.



Important announcement for Eurovision fans has been made today by ORF. Official Euroclub of ESC 2015 will be located in brewery Ottakringer Brauerei.Euroclub will be the gathering point of about 1700 accredited journalists and 1300 delegates from the participating countries. Euroclub will offer press opportunities for the organization of interviews with participating artists, as well as for the delegations to organize there own national parties or take part in a joint live performances.

The important thing is that this year official Euroclub will be opened only on Sunday, May 17, following the Opening ceremony. “Red carpet” event will take place on City Hall Square Rathausplatz and official delegations opening in the City Hall itself, while for press the opening party will continue in Euroclub. The club will then operate every day till the After-final party and will offer daily capacity for 2500 persons.

From May 11 to 16 organizers will offer to the first delegates, journalists and accredited fans evening events on the different locations in Vienna, aiming to showcase them the diversity of the Austrian and Viennese hospitality.

Ottakringer Brewery has established itself over the years as an important cultural spot of the city and looks back on a long series of events, festivals, concerts and live performances. ESC Executive Producer Edgar Boehm says: “It will offer the optimal conditions to both delegations and press members and will make their stay unforgettable. I am particularly pleased that it is located very close to the Eurovillage and the venue Wiener Stadhalle itself”.

As earlier announced official Eurovillage will be located at the City Hall Square Rathausplatz – it will be aimed first of all for Vienna citizen and non-accredited guests and will offer performances of participating acts and DJs of ORF radio, special events and public viewing of all live shows, with the free admission to the program.

Important announcement for Eurovision fans has been made today by ORF. Official Euroclub of ESC 2015…

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The process OGAE Rest of the world has used to let members earn points for certain tasks and therefore increase their position on the 2015 ticket list has been a huge success. We will therefore continue with it for 2016.

It is early days but we have identified the following possibilities for points (more can be added in the months to come)


A total of 20 points will be awarded to members who vote in AT LEAST one of these three contests.

Over 60 have voted in OGAE VIDEO CONTEST 2014 and the list of names appear in a post (there are a few missing but I will update that as soon as possible)

There are two more chances to earn 20 points,

OGAE SECOND CHANCE 2015 which will be in June-July

OGAE SONG CONTEST 2015 which will be in October

Members who voted in the video contest can also vote in the other 2 but they can only get points once, so this is especially a chance for those that were unable to vote in the video contest.


This is limited to one member per entry and if there are 39 or 40 countries, only so many can earn points. You can also just do a message to one country. Three entries have been chosen and two, Malta and Macedonia have been done by Hien and Harlani and they got their points – a full 30 points. Richard has picked Netherlands but he will of course only get the points once I have received the completed message.

At the moment these are the only two chances for points on a big scale. As I have said, more will be introduced.

I will also award points at say once a month to someone who did something special. This will vary according to the project. Two just projects have already been done and points awarded.

First to Gerry and Andy for designing the diploma/certificate for the artist in the Belarus selection that will go on to be our entry in the 2015 Second chance contest. They are getting 20 points each.

Second to Michele and Kent for writing an article on the ABBA MUSEUM in Stockholm with photo’s which we will put up soon on our website. They too get 20 points each.

So keep your eyes and ears open for random announcements to earn points this way.

Lastly, there will be NO points awarded for paying your 2016 membership when it opens in June 2015, but people who do not pay within the 3 month window period, will NOT be on the ticket list even if they by that time have accumulated points from other projects. The same applies to people sending in photo’s for  OGAE cards. It won’t give you points but again, if there is no card issued, you cannot be considered for a ticket package

TO THE SKY – a unique cover

This week was the start of a dream come true for me.

We are working on a very unique cover of the 2014 Macedonian entry, TO THE SKY.

Byron, one of the top producers in South Africa is in the studio mixing the vocals of Tijana of Macedonia and Rinel Day of South Africa, recorded separately into a duet.

TO THE SKY, composed by DARKO DIMITRO together with Lazar Cvetkoski and Elena Risteska Ivanovska has been identified as the song of the 2014 Eurovision that stand the best chance of being a hit in South Africa.

There will be two duets. The first one is just for me and it will be Rinel singing her bit in Afrikaans and Tijana singing her bit in Macedonian with the chorus together in English. The other duet will be the entire song in ENGLISH to be aggressively marketed in South Africa in the hope to sell at least 10 000 copies. Several radio stations have been sampled and they all think this is the kind of song they normally put on their playlist.


In the next few days I will update here which members got 20 points towards the 2016 ticket list by seding in their votes to this contest. Here are the first names who got 20 points

* = means they do not want to be on the ticket list for 2016

** = means they cannot be on the ticket list for 2016 as they are not paid members – many in especially Latin America are just with us for the activities and contests and not planning on going to Eurovision physically

01 – Kyle R Woods

02 – Ronnie Addamo

03 – Luc Spencer-Gardner

04 – Fraser McEachern

05 – Andy Mikheev (*)

06 – Roy van der Merwe (*)

07 – Richard Thiele

08 – Andrew Pentecost

09 – Adele Adelle

10 – Jeff Neal

11 – Anna Hernandez (**)

12 – Jose Hernandez (**)

13 – Ramona Hernandez (**)

14 – Laurie Edwards (**)

15 – Angel Lopez (**)

16 – Johnny Kollin

17 – Kohan Ikin

18 – Len Whitney

19 – Calvin Philips

20 – Dennis Flores

21 – Matt Kelly

22 – Michaela Sowden

23 – Cole van Dais (*)

24 – Lizette van der Walt (*)

25 – Henry van Dyk (*)

26 – Quinn Kaplan (**)

27 – Luis Mendez (**)

28 – Sarah Gonsalvez (**)

29 – John Jagodowski (*)

30 – Michael de Lange (*)

31 – Philip Bewley

32 – Andrew Fisher

33 – Ace Frehmen (*)

34 – Sandy Allen-Wetzler

35 – David Ruiz Garcia

36 – Nail Agadullin

37 – Evgeny Borzov

38 – Gavin Armistead-Rainey

39 – Roger Armistead-Rainey

40 – Dean Cheley

41 – Andrew Scott

42 – Marcus Davey

43 – Armin Duttle (*)

44 – Amira Nebel (**)

45 – Gaby Squires (**)

46 – Harlani Salim

47 – Hien Djie

48 – Jason Scott-Watkins

49 – Andrew Bayley

50 – Matt Friedrichs

51 – Mark Churches

52 – Amanda Reynecke (*)

53 – Ian Lambert

54 – Michael Della Maddalena


Giving points to tasks/articles to help a member getting a higher position on the ticket list for 2015 has been a great success. It is a fair system and does not rely on luck only like a ticket ballot. yes, I know there are people loving a ballot but that is just of they get a high position. I sit with horror stories of people who ended low on some ticket ballots.

So for 2016, we will continue with the system of getting points for tasks. The first has just ended, sending in their votes for the 2014 OGAE VIDEO CONTEST and no less than 35 people got 20 points for this. I will make the list available in a couple of days – we pride ourself in being transparent so people can see the names of the members who got 20 points.

Now to the next chance to get points – this time there are a little difference because even if 100 people do it, only a number of people will get points and you will see why.

For 2014 we did good luck messages for the 37 artists/countries and published it – it is on our website. Besides Richard and Andrew from Australia, only SA members did the messages. I want more involvement and from more countries. So people can earn 25 points for each good luck message.

The rules are as follow

1 -Just one message per artist/country

2 – The maximum amount of messages will be who many countries take part, be it 38, 39 or 40.

3 – As a country selects its song, I will announce the field is open for that message and the first person to write and says he or she wants to do it, gets it.

4 – Such a person has then 2 weeks to do the message and send it to me. If I do not get it after 2 weeks, it is open of the next person.

5 – Please look at the 37 messages for 2014 and do something similar, you have total freedom to design such a message.

6 -If member A has done a message for country A, he or she cannot do another message for another country and gain another 25 points.

So it is clear that 38, 39 or 40 members will be able to gain 25 points. If no member picks a country, an SA member will do it – but as they do not want tickets, it will be a waste.

So far two countries have select their entry



So it is now open for members to write to say they want to do the good luck message to the artist of these entries.


The list will be updated over the next 4 days until all names appear.

The first 5 names on each of the 3 lists can count themselves as getting a ticket package unless sometime major went wrong.


01 – Francisco Javier Varela Sandoval

(He always knew he was number 1 on the list due to having been unable to attend Copenhagen)\

02 – Marcus Davey

(He has worked hard on getting all the esccovers articles posted)

03 – Belinda Conn

(She is in charge of admin at our official facebook and is the one that approves new members)

04 – Stuart McNaughton

(I think he will be surprised to learn he is one of the 10 to get a guaranteed ticket package but his Eurovision story had me in tears, it was so touching and I am glad I can be part of those that makes his Vienna 2015 dream come true)

05 – Niall Drennan

(His website article was for me a manifestation that there are people out there who are true fans and with a little time and effort can come up with something remarkable)

06 – Nicolas G Mancini-Suarez

(My maid saw the pictures of our members yesterday and I then decided to let her choice one person out of the new people to get a spot on this list and she picked Nicolas, so count yourself lucky)

07 – Nail Agadullin

08 – Evgeny Borzov

(Nail and Evgeny have been with us since 2009 and are Russian speaking and help us a lot with work as 50% of ESCKaz is in Russian. They also will report for us on things happening in Euroclub in Vienna)

09 – Sascha Stolp

10 – Edward Till

(Sascha and Edward are new to R O W, they are also members of OGAE UK but came over to us as they will work on ESCCovers in Vienna, Sascha as a reporter and Edward as a photographer. They are also on the UK list but not in the safe zone. If they however do get tickets from OGAE UK, these two spots will become available for new members on list C)


01 – Richard Thiele

02 – Andrew Pentecost

03 – Kohan Ikin

04 – Kate Hansen

05 – Michaela Sowden

(These 5 have all been in Copenhagen and they have through the months afterwards contributed a lot to the club and I had no problem giving them the first 5 spots)

06 – Olimkhan Barkirkhoav

07 – Vasila Ablakulova

08 – Len Whitney

09 – Kyle Woods

10 – Mark Churches

11 – Tim J Bulman

12 – David Thielen

13 – Andrew Scott

14 – Dean Cheley

15 – Nicholas Poteri

16 – Matt Friedrichs

17 – Adalberto Iglesias

18 – Mirko Hernandez Alfaro

19 – Joanna Seels

20 – Vincent Colagiuri

21 – Eric Nocito

22 – Anibal Villalba

23 – Rodrigo Romero Hidalgo

24 – Nicholas Sowden

25 – Alvin Poncin

26 – Dimitri Karagianides

27 – Alexei Zavalov

28 – Vladimir Aptovotsev

29 – Johnny Kollin

30 -Camilo Gomez

31 – Harry Whelan


01 – Matt Kelly

02 – Fraser McEachern

03 – Jason Scott-Watkins

04 – Andrew Bayley

05 – Dennis Flores

06 – Harlani Salim

07 – Hien Djie

08 – Greg Stone

09 – Chris Zeiher

10 – Calvin Philips

11 – Daniel Stoll

12 – Michael McCulloch

13 – Troy Bass

14 – Ronald Addamo

15 – Luc Spencer-Gardner

16 – Simon Alcaraz

17 – Pete Donovan

18 – Mario Galindo

19 – Ian Lambert

20 – Michael Della Maddalena

21 – Damien Bernath

22 – Jorge Salazar Capon

23 – Phil McNulty

24 – Luis Maldonado

25 – Andre Paschier

26 – Wayne Ralph

27 – Rachal Guttler

28 – Tony Peter

29 – Alan Wilson

30 – Sandy Allen-Wetzler

31 – Michele Acott

32 – Kent Acott

33 – Lazor Szabolos

34 – Koichiro Asami

35 – Andre Durham

36 – Eliska Vojtechovska

37 – Kyriaki Mavridis

38 – Steven Greenland

39 – Sarah Bonhomme-Craib

40 – Christopher Frawley

41 – Stefen Lodewyckx

42 – Andrew Fisher

43 – Philip Bewley

44 – Alexandra Sowden

45 – Eloise Sowden

46 – Kingsley Dawes

47 – Greg Mant

48 – Barbara Knoll

49 – Franz Knoll

50 – Lee Howard

51 – Anthony Pirovich

52 – Chad Ryan

53 – Valter Di Girolamo

54 – Scott Folley

55 – Luis Omar Chong Lopez

A little footnote to that of Ian and Michael (19th and 20th). They are also on the UK ticket list and actually very high on the UK list and should get tickets via UK. If so, they will be dropped on our list and everybody below them will move up two positions.

Another footnote is that there are 2-3 names on now that may not take packages but they are on the list as they did their tasks. If any name drop out, all below that name moves up a spot.

By now we have 41 people in this section compared to 25 in the B list, so more tickets will be allocated to this maybe even 60% instead of the original 30%. This is due to the fact that many of the members prior to Copenhagen either decided to stay home this year or did not achieve 30 points (especially not doing the website article). It was always clear that people getting higher points will get preference.


These are people who did not get 30 points (they got 15 and less as they did not do the website article). They will only be helped once everybody on lists A, B and C are helped and there are packages left.

01 – Andrew Parker

02 – Jeremy Levine

03 – Julie Osborne

04 – Antonio Casanez

05 – Robin Sanderson

06 – Edmund Kostewicz

07 – Winter Thielen

08 – Beaumont Wells

09 – Luke Brighty

10 – Michael Wing Lum

11 – Joseph Thom

12 – Michael Goddard

13 – Annette Molesworth

14 – Christopher Meechan-Ring

15 – Darren Meechan

16 – Riin Teoh

17 – Stephan Sykes

18 – Mark Bradbury

19 – Danilo Poggendorf

20 – Andreas Martz

21 – Robyn Odell

22 – Penny Odell

23 – Tarrant Falcke

24 – Jason Glynn

25 – Michael Teraki

26 – Mandy de Vries

27 – Karen Meiring

28 – Niel le Roux

All other people missing either

1 – informed me they do not want to me on the list as they are not going

2 – did not pay their membership as of today

3 – did not supply a photo for the OGAE card as of today

Now we can just sit and hope to get as many packages as possible and help as many as possible


There are now a total of 76 names, 2 more than we got tickets for Copenhagen. We have more members so in theory we should get more packages but the demand from other clubs are higher. For Copenhagen we got more than our membership would allow simply because several clubs did not take their full quota because they did not want to stand. This again may favour us as we are the club of people standing, we gave 12 seated tickets back in exchange for standing tickets for Copenhagen, the only club to do that.

The lists now contains 93 names, all these people obtained 30 points. Tomorrow I will do list D which are people who received less than 30 points(all missing the website article at least)


San Marino sends 2 former Junior Eurovision contestants

San Marino has chosen to send 2 of their former Junior Eurovision contestants to the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest. SMRTV, the national broadcaster of San Marino announced today that Michele Perniola and Anita Simoncini will enter the contest in Vienna at a duo.

Michele Perniola represented San Marino in the Junior Eurovision contest in 2013, whilst Anita Simoncini was part of the girlgroup, The Peppermints, in the 2014 contest.

Details of the actual entry for the contest have not yet been released.


From today onwards (until Sunday) I will present the ticket lists. It may look in the end just so easy and simple as a list of over 100 names, but it has been a massive task to make sure that the positions of each name is in a spot that is fair and after numerous criteria have been taken into account.


LIST A – 10 names who are guaranteed tickets no matter what

5 names of people who have been members prior to Copenhagen

5 names of people who became members after Copenhagen

The reasons for these people getting tickets will be indicated

I will today name the first 5 of this list.

LIST B – names of people who have been members prior to Copenhagen

I will later today list the first 15 to 20 and they will 99% be sure of tickets

LIST C – names of people who joined us after Copenhagen

I will later today name the first 10 to 15 and they will 99% be sure of tickets


We all know that in 2015 Eurovision will celebrate its 60th birthday. And OGAE Rest of the world will also celebrate in style with a big project. We will make a 3 set compilation CD with 60 Eurovision covers. So each CD will contain 20 songs. There are over 400 covers done in South Africa so I can already pick 60 songs without too much trouble, and I have done that. But I also want our members to be part of it and about 8 songs can “disappear” from this list and your suggestions added if we

1- have them covered already or

2 – can find someone to cover it

You have until 30 November to send suggestions to me at

There is how the 3 CD’s will look like as of now


Armenia 2010

Austria 1994

Azerbaijan 2011

Belarus 2012 & 2013

Belgium 1996 & 2006

Croatia 1995

Cyprus 2012

Denmark 2009 & 2010

Estonia 2002 & 2011

Finland 2000 & 2009

France 1976 & 1993

Georgia 2008 & 2013

Greece 2005


Germany 1982, 1985 & 2009

Hungary 2013

Iceland 1991, 2004 & 2008

Ireland 2006 & 2011

Israel 1979

Italy 1984 & 2013

Latvia 2003, 2004, 2007 & 2008

Lithuania 2005

Luxembourg 1972 & 1973

Macedonia 2006


Malta 1997

Montenegro 2009

Netherlands 1981 & 1984

Norway 2009 & 2011

Portugal 2007

Romania 2010 & 2011

Russia 2012 & 2013

Spain 1973 & 2007

Sweden 2001, 2006, 2009, 2012 & 2014

Turkey 2009

United Kingdom 1996