Category Archives: News

WoCo’s dirty laundry

Updated for 2016: Repayments demanded in Eurovision scandal. You want more?

  • June 2015: auditors’ report! The whole farrago cost DK 310 million,  167% over budget. DR absolved of any blame – although watching this year’s safe pair of hands at work many things came back to haunt me, not least Lise Rønne in the ‘green room’.
  • May 2015: in a piece called Building tourist bridges ESC Insight’s Jenny Wren gets those dirty sheets back out of the linen basket – those Malmö comparisons gotta hurt…
  • Jan 2015: in Berlingske cultural critics DOXA note the absence of any form of self criticism from DR, while WoCo CEO Lars Bernhard Jørgensen resigns, a move spun as a “generational shift”. Let us never talk of such things again.

Three months on, some of the issues flagged up here and in the Danish press are reaching a sort of resoution, although the #escdk repurcussions will drag on for months – if not years – yet.

The international bandwagon has rolled on to Vienna, which, one trusts, will be characterised by attention to detail rather than a det skal nok gå /”it’s not my problem” project management style.

We’ve reached peak Eurovision here, although once national final season kicks off and there’s nowt on Danish TV we may well be back.

See also Metroxpress’ overview page.

Eurovision leadership employed own family

Postscript: our little world

As you may have heard Austria won Eurovision. A bit like Basim winning DMGP this was kinda inevitable from the start, with the audience miked up in the final to give Conchita 11K backing singers and emphasise the change in the lyrics which had already mobilised ‘the community’ to vote vote vote. We have clearly not yet reached peak beard.

Conchita gave a flawless performance in an X Factor final style TV moment. The other side of this mass euphoria (akin to the furore around Diana’s death) is the booing of a song because you don’t like the politics of its leaders. The arena was a colosseum with a gladiatorial atmosphere, bread and circuses. Rather more tolerance was shown by the televoters of the east, although their juries, with their votes on public display, were more cautious.

To win Eurovision you need a many faceted product and to go out for the win – Austria did this in 2014 just as much as Denmark did in 2013. And in some ways the package was just as unthreatening – compare and contrast with, say, Israel’s entry, which crashed out second last in its semi.

The old fashioned torch song style did zilch for me – it’s not compulsory to like it, even to show how liberal you are – I prefer something a bit more edgy or at least original, in terms of music, but perhaps expecting a quiet moment to capture hearts in the same way was a bit hopeful.

But who – and how many – vote? Will they buy the song, or even remember it a week later? Six songs got over 100 points, with a large cluster behind, and there were huge disparities between the jury votes, who rank 1-26, and the audience, who vote for a favourite/s. There is much analysis to be done, and I have posts to write on the specifically Danish side of the experience – the show, the branding, the use of #some, the legacy…

Once you get out of the bubble though you do start to wonder how big a deal this really is. A little classic from Austria, winner of most claps in the Eurovision Book of Records, to ponder:

Transport, the fan mile revisited and issues of signage

I last walked the fan mile a month ago, checking out the locations for Eurovision related activities. How’s it all looking now?

On the afternoon of the first semi we started at the central station. There’s a discreet sign on the boards near the clock:

at central station - and that's it

And that’s it. No guidance as to which side of the road to take the bus from once you find the stop, nothing on fares and tickets, alternative forms of transport, the tourist office…there is transport information on the Web, but it’s organiser oriented, confusing and ever-changing, plus there’s very little on the street, and what there is may only be på dansk.

Compare and contrast with Malmö 2013:

At the station, as well as information boards there was a desk manned by volunteers offering Eurovision maps and a pocket sized leaflet with details of buses, trains, ticket prices etc. The butterfly branding acted as a consistent identifier for Eurovision locations and transport – and for fun. Oh, those Swedes.

CPH has tasteful #joinus signs in a font I still have problems with fighting a losing battle with posters for the upcoming European elections, no tasteful minimalism there, creating my old favourite, a jarring disconnect:

I may not be able to vote in Scotland’s referendum but at least I can play my part in deciding whether Denmark joins the European Patent Court.

CPH also has this:

dressing

Also comes in pink. Easy to miss, unless you are looking at your feet and avoiding all eye contact.

Moving on to the fan mile proper, the banners hang but there’s no music playing and some of them are the ‘wrong’ way round.

2014-05-06 17.07.49

At Eurovision Village the concert area on Nytorv felt very Danish, although to be fair there was no concert on at the time, while there were fewer food trucks on Gammeltorv than on Sunday:

No lion dancers or Hamburgers on Højbro Plads yet, and Malmö’s effort defo a bit token:

2014-05-06 17.46.16

Like the events I’ve been to it all felt rather flat and underwhelming, despite the oodles of hype WoCo pushes out.

Before we hop on the boat, just a thought re the harbour bus service. With the changes, I was wondering if it would still be possible to hop on and off. Here’s the stop at Det sorte Diamant/Royal Library:

2014-05-06 15.21.13

På dansk only. Basically, the harbour bus has been turned into a Eurovision shuttle, tough luck if you wanted to use it to go somewhere else.

Anyway, our boat trip to Eurovision Island went swimmingly both ways. We walked on to canal boats and tried out both sides of Nyhavn, oh yes, a free experience, if a little chilly. (Are the regular harbour buses free? How about the 9A?)

Others weren’t so lucky.  On Monday David from Wiwi Bloggs was still calling transportation an absolute disaster (if anyone is still lost, see our post Transport us to Eurovision Island).  He directed particular ire at signage. At Nyhavn “there are multiple locations along the canal where the harbor bus is supposed to dock, but nothing to tell you which location is where it will be”.

Summing up the Danish approach to signage:

As we said before:

After we arrived back at Nyhavn we sighted host Pilou getting into a taxi at Kongens Nytorv – he stopped to congratulate some Icelandic fans, who commented that he looked familiar.

The metro and train home were rammed with Justin Timberlake fans coming back from the concert at 2001 Eurovision venue Parken. Just one more jarring disconnect.

2014-05-07 00.05.35

Eurovision Island (7): quicker to get to Malmö

I popped out to Eurovision Island on my  own yesterday to see how things were going, particularly on the transport front. The fan press pack hasn’t been too complimentary so far – I’ve a haul of quotes I’m going to sit on until after the event, as there are a range of factors at play and extra services from today, but for a sneak peek see Transport us to Eurovision Island.

One comment which tickled me was whether it would actually be quicker to get to Malmö, or the arena in Hyllie, last year’s venue, at least (whatever happened to that option?).

Here’s  a smörgåsbord of options from Rejseplanen for a journey from our south CPH suburb to Refshaleøen:

rejseplanen

And to Hyllie:

malmo

So pretty equal on time, but hands down to Hyllie for ease of access.

I was also interested in signage:

The evidence on the ground – click to scroll.

And #bogwhallerne itself? Part of the diamand in the rough metaphor, or just run out of money?

Transport us to Eurovision Island

Update: changes from 5 May (see Visit Copenhagen’s PDF map):

  • bus 9A runs to Eurovision Island, more frequent during peak hours, around 25 mins from central station (really?)
  • OTOH bus 40 stops running the whole way to Refshaleøen
  • harbour boats start running from Nyhavn, the ones which don’t run at the mo, voyage takes around 10 mins

Plus an email from Billetlugen yields up:

  • it’s a 15 minute walk from the bus and boat stops to the ticket only zone and security checks
  • for evening shows the ticket only zone opens three hours before the show starts, doors open two hours before
  • plan your journey with Movia; best ticket option – if you have a Danish mobile subscription a 12 hour Event SMS-billet costs DK 20 for zones 1-4 and DK 40 for all zones, if you don’t a City Pass is DK 80 : D
  • parking at Amager wotsit now free! if you bought a pass it shall be refunded; a bit more prodding and the shuttle boats/buses will surely go free too
  • there’s free wifi and a cloakroom (DK 30)
  • things you can’t take in: professional photo equipment, food and drink, bottles/tins, weapons and weaponalikes, laser pens, big bags – and animals

I  don’t mind admitting I’m a bit obsessed with the #escdk transport issue. How’s it going so far?

The fan press pack arrived over the weekend. Out first were ESCKAZ/Mike and Daniel, who frankly should have been better prepared, zipping across the harbour and, by the looks of things, not buying tickets. This society works on trusts, guys – man up!

Otherwise, a mixed bag:

  • Eurovision Times/Lynn Kenway (First look): Having seen ESCKAZ’s detours using the waterboats (are they off them yet?!), we took the safer route and got the 9A bus to the opera and walked. And walked. And walked. And then we walked all the way around the island. And then we walked all the way back to the opera as the no 40 bus only runs once an hour at weekends from the arena. Never again. 
  • Eurovision Times/Lynn Kenway (Day 1): We then had a boat fiasco, don’t ask, the transport links and information here is just awful quite frankly. We found the ESCXtra and Eurovision Insight guys so we got over to Eurovision Island and got lost together there. After too much walking we got checked in and got our accreditation passes.
  • The Eurovisionary/David Elder: After a bus journey, a seven mile walk and a water taxi ride across the Kattegat, oh and then a three mile hike across some industrial wasteland (carefully negotiating the barbed wire fences), we managed to find the accreditation tent. 
  • On Europe/Monty?: NOT The walk from the bus to the centre. Not because of the views and stuff, but because its just a tad too long. Lovely rustic views though.
  • WiwibloggsSeveral of us caught a public bus to the B&W Hallerne. When we got off we ended up in an apartment complex where hippie youths were smoking marijuana. They kindly directed us through this hole in a fence, which led to B&W. The giant concrete block may seem severe to some, but I think it’s kind of edgy and cool.

All that effort and then…

Once you get to the Refshaløen island itself, it’s not quite so pretty. The area is desolate, run down, overgrown, derelict. The venue must be one of the biggest, and ugliest (from the outside) buildings ever to host a Eurovision Song Contest and there is little to suggest everything opens tomorrow and Monday. We’re sure it’ll all be lovely inside though.

Oh Lynn…but panic over! 

Our trip to work is now by boat. We have travel that the city of CPH have given to us for free which includes all trains, buses and the like but, most of all, a boat trip. The same boat youve all been reading about – yes, it really exists and yes it does get you to Eurovision Island.

Plus there are shuttle buses laid on for press. Free travel and shuttle buses, what’s not to like?

Things may well get going again though when those without accreditation turn up, although the emergency arrangements should help. Anyone biking?

2014-04-26 11.36.39
fleet of new city bikes outside the town hall

Some advice from me:

  • it’s not worth taking the metro from Kongens Nytorv to Christianshavn unless it’s chucking it down – it’s a short walk over the bridge
  • don’t buy a single ticket – DK 24 for a 10 min boat ride, anyone?

It would be a nice gesture if the Nyhavn boats on show nights were free, to help with speedy boarding – but OTOH who’s going to check?

Tame The Danes

This may come as a surprise, but surveys have shown that a lot of tourists find The Danes a tad closed and unhelpful, particularly on the street. The #escdk volunteers have had special training in making eye contact, but DR has taken it upon itself to try to spread the message to the rest of the population through a series of videos featuring bow tied comms consultant Henrik Menk. Here he is on how to give a stranger directions:

Finally, here’s a list of my posts on transport issues:

Eurovision Island (6): a row of tents

Latest trip, Sunday morning, just before the fan press pack arrived. Definitely a different feel in the air – people smiling, tourists wobbling past on hired bikes, lots of working spaniels for the beagles to bark at. Sigh.

Now very much a private space, with a new wooden fence up, areas blocked off, security guards. Having been out there six times I thought we were pretty much inured to the raw look, but heck, it’s grim. And bizarrely, it can be too hot in Denmark in April, if there’s no shade to be had.

Some areas, like the flattened area where eager punters will queue to get in, I just couldn’t bear to take a photo of. Certainly lowered the bar for Eurovision venue environs – maybe that’s a good thing? And once you’ve actually got inside, it will all be forgotten, won’t it?

Click on an image to scroll through the lot.