Roy van der Merwe of Eurovision South Africa and the ESC Covers website attended several Eurovision song contests in person at the host cities. He is writing down his memories of those Eurovisions he attended with accreditation.

Eurovision 1995 ranks as one of the most special years at Eurovision for me because for the first time I got accreditation and so I could be at the venue meeting the participating artists. It was the first time that I came face-to-face with some of Europe’s top performers. The biggest highlight however was getting the Eurovision CD promo singles. No more travelling around the European capitals after Eurovision to try and buy the entries.


The trip to Dublin was however a slight nightmare. I decided to travel with Sudan airways as that was the most direct route. Well, imagine my shock when we landed at Kharton airport and their only truck delivering fuel to the planes was broken and around 2000 individuals were carrying fuel in buckets to the plane. We sat there 3 hours while they did that – not being allowed off the plane as we had no visas.

The most outstanding for me was meeting the singers of Iceland, Sweden and Bosnia. All three were big names in their home countries, yet they seemed so down-to-earth and sitting in the cafeteria with them having coffee was such a treat. They did not act important. They really cared for their fans and it was such an eye opener for me.

That year Sweden brought us SE PA MEJ by Jan Johansen, which became a monster hit in Sweden. Also in South Africa it was a big hit in English as ANOTHER NIGHT. I was also able to pitch this song to BMG South Africa on my return and that was the start of my involvement in getting SA artists to cover Eurovision songs in a big way.

1995 also had a horror incident – I wanted to meet the Danish singer Aud Wilken but she refused to meet me because right at that moment was the big scandal of Allan Bossak from South Africa who stole Danish charity funds.

Nils Kristiansen, a Eurovision fan who tragically passed away in 2000, made a banner for OGAE Norway as a gift and Morten Thomassen, the current president of OGAE Norway took this to his very first Eurovision in 1992 in Malmo. Finally the banner worked in 1995 when Norway won in Dublin. This was the first banner ever shown on screen in a Eurovision-show and it has been on screen many times since 1992. In 1992 the legendary commentator from UK Terry Wogan even said when the banner was shown after the Norwegian song: Victory for Norway – I don’t think so.

Musically the highlights for me are

Russia – Lullaby for a volcano – Philipp Kirkorov

Iceland – Nuna – Bo Haldorsson

Croatia – Nostalgija – Magazin & Lidija

Sweden – Se pa mej – Jan Johansen

1995 brought some horrors in the shape of

Poland – Sama – Justyna Steczkowska

Austria – Die welt dreht sich verkehrt – Stella Jones

United Kingdom – Love city groove – Love city groove


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