Cultural influence. The Eurovision Song Contest has amassed a global following and sees annual audience figures of between 100 and 600 million. The contest has become a cultural influence worldwide since its first years, is regularly described as having kitsch appeal, and is included as a topic of parody in television sketches and in stage performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and Melbourne Comedy festivals amongst others. Several films have been created which celebrate the contest, including Eytan Fox’s 2013 Israeli comedy Cupcakes, and the Netflix 2020 musical comedy, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, produced with backing from the EBU and starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams.
Eurovision has a large online following and multiple independent websites, news blogs and fan clubs are dedicated to the event. One of the oldest and largest Eurovision fan clubs is OGAE, founded in 1984 in Finland and currently a network of over 40 national branches across the world. National branches regularly host events to promote and celebrate Eurovision, and several participating broadcasters work closely with these branches when preparing their entries.
In the run-up to each year’s contest, several countries regularly host smaller events between the conclusion of the national selection shows in March and the contest proper in May, known as the “pre-parties”. These events typically feature the artists which will go on to compete at that year’s contest, and consist of performances at a venue and meet-and-greets with fans and the press. Eurovision in Concert, held annually in Amsterdam, was one of the first of these events to be created, holding its first edition in 2008. Other events held regularly include the London Eurovision Party, PrePartyES in Madrid, and Israel Calling in Tel Aviv. Several community events have been held virtually, particularly since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe in 2020, among these EurovisionAgain, an initiative where fans watched and discussed past contests in sync on YouTube and other social media platforms. Launched during the first COVID-19 lockdowns, the event subsequently became a top trend on Twitter across Europe and facilitated over £20,000 in donations for UK-based LGBTQ+ charities.