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Samra (Azerbaijan) gets a warm send-off from her fans as she leaves her hotel for the Grand Final

Press and fans were invited to wish Samra well as she left her hotel this morning to attend her final rehearsal before tonight's Grand Final

Azerbaijan fan meet and greet

Before Samra arrived the gathered people were given t-shirts and Team-Samra inflatables to greet her with....

Azerbaijan fan meet and greet

Samra seemed quite surprised when she finally appeared and we believe that the delegation had organised this as a small surprise for her. She spent 20 minutes signing T-shirts and taiga selfie style photos with the fans and then performed and impromptu rendition of her song Miracle

Full video clip;

Gallery;

Azerbaijan meet and greet at her hotel

With thanks to the Azerbaijan Delegation for the invitation

WiwiJam debut a success!

For the first time in Eurovision history, fellow Eurovision community Wiwibloggs organised a spectacular, star studded event with appearances from Melodifestivalen candidates, Eurovision veterans and participants in the 2016 class.

Hosts of the night, Deban and William, got the crowed eating out of their hands with their witty introductions and shared enthusiasm, Ant and Dec, watch out for these two.

There were plenty of performances, which we listed below:

Suzy - Quero Ser Tua

Suzy - Quedate Conmigo

The Hungry Hearts ft Lisa Dillon - Laika

Isa - Ego

Lidia Isac - Falling Star (Acoustic French Version) (Moldova 2016)

Lisa Ajax - My Heart Wants Me Dead

Lisa Ajax - Give Me That

Robin Bengtsson - Constellation Price

Iveta Mukuchyan - LoveWAve (Acoustic Version) (Armenia 2016)

Maja Keuc - Close To You

Maja Keuc - No One (Slovenia 2011)

Gabriela Gunčíková - I Stand (Czech Republic 2016)

Gabriela Gunčíková - Highway To Hell

Greta Salome - Hear Them Calling (Iceland 2016)

Greta Salome - Never Forget (Iceland 2012)

Deen - In The Disco (Bosnia Herzegovina 2004)

Alex Panayi - Sti Fotia (Cyprus 1995)

Krista Siegfrid - Like A Virgin/Marry Me (Finland 2013)

Krista Siegfrid - Faller

Serhat - Je m'Adore

Serhat - I Didn't Know (San Marino 2016)

Sergey Lazarev - You Are The Only One (Russia 2016)

Sergey Lazarev - Take It Off

Amir - J'Ai Cherche

Amir - Golden Boy

What a great event. Thank you Wiwibloggs for having us!

ABBA The Museum visit

Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid were and still are, for most of us, ABBA (or BAAB as we know from 1st semifinal). The Swedish platform-booted and sparkly supertroupers stormed the pop world between 1972 and 1983 and gave us the hits ‘Dancing Queen’, Summernight City’ and ‘Knowing me, Knowing you’ among many others. It’s worth remembering that even though ABBA split up 30 years ago, Mamma Mia! the movie featuring their music, is the most successful movie musical ever and almost 50 million people have seen the same-named musical production.

Now with ABBA the Museum in Stockholm the legend will live on and on and on… As it should.

ABBA The Museum is a permanent exhibition in the brand new ‘Swedish Music Hall of Fame’ on the island of Djurgården, a brisk walk, or a short bus or tram ride from the city centre. The museum sits between Gröna Lund amusement park and the Liljevalchs art venue and is a 5-minute walk from Skansen Open-air Museum and the famous Vasa Museum.

What is it?
The origins of ABBA The Museum were in the ABBAWORLD touring exhibition that toured Budapest London, Prague, Melbourne and Sydney between 2009 and 2011. It shares the premises with the Swedish Music Hall of Fame and History of Swedish Popular Music.

ABBA The Museum showcases the band’s stage clothes, artifacts, concert footage, interviews etc. in a contemporary, interactive setting. When you buy a ticket you get an ID that generates a page on the museum website. Once inside the museum you can sing and dance with holograms of ABBA, don a digital costume (go for the famous Anni-Frid ‘tiger’ or Agnetha ‘cat’ tunic) projected on to you in a special booth and you can record it by scanning your ticket at the attraction. Then you get to share photos and videos of your experience on Facebook and other social media. After 30 days the recordings are deleted from the site.

ABBA museum

Why you should visit
This place is unique, ABBA fan or not. With the other attraction; The Swedish Music Hall of Fame of Swedish popular music, the content and activities in the museum put the group’s musical achievements and influences in a historical context and it will help you understand ‘ABBA The Phenomenon’ better. The museum also has the full backing of the group and much of the material is from the group members’ own private collections.

So, if you are old enough to remember glam rock, platform-soled boots or maybe even watched live as ABBA sang ‘Waterloo’ and won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton in 1974, you should visit for a journey down musical memory lane. For everyone else, come and see ABBA and its entourage at the height of their creative and musical powers, get insights into the group members’ lives and see them as the global supertroupers they will always be.

The museum shop has the extensive choice of memorabilia, books, CDs and other material about the legendary group. One need to remember that museum is cash free.

You can buy tickets to the museum online, at SJ outlets near the Central Station in Stockholm or at the museum.

ESCKAZ has visited the museum together with OGAE Rest of the World president Roy van der Merwe, who presented exclusive South African prints of vinyl singles of ABBA to the museum. We thanks the management of museum for their cooperation.

The interactive "GOOD EVENING EUROPE!" exhibition will celebrate the history of the world’s longest running annual television competition that was first held in 1956. The project has been initiated by ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus together with the EBU’s Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor, Jon Ola Sand. For the first time, visitors will be able to delve into hundreds of hours of Eurovision Song Contest shows. Footage from existing Contests has been digitalised and displayed in a fun, TV-like setting for visitors to access. From the first winner, Switzerland's Lys Assia in 1956 to Sweden's Måns Zelmerlöw in 2015, visitors can immerse themselves in 60 years of great performances, nail-biting moments and classic television moments.

A special wall will also honour the Sweden’s six Eurovision winners; ABBA, Herreys, Carola, Charlotte Perrelli, Loreen and Måns Zelmerlöw with stories written by Christer Björkman, the King of Sweden's Melodifestival. Visitors can test their Eurovision Song Contest knowledge with an interactive quiz too. The exhibition has been curated by ABBA The Museum Director Ingmarie Halling and set designer Bengt Fröderberg together with Anna Söderberg.

There will be a chance for fans attending the exhibition to sing their favourite songs on the Eurovision stage itself as well as see original costumes from selected artists who have taken part in Europe's favourite TV show over the past six decades. The exhibition will feature an empty space to be filled by the winner of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Stockholm on 10th, 12th & 14th May. After the Grand Final, the winning artist will be invited to visit the museum the next day and place one item from their performance in the exhibition.

Pop House is home to the world-renowned ABBA The Museum exhibition, which presents the history of Sweden's all-time greatest pop group. The building also houses the History of Swedish Popular Music exhibition, featuring Roxette, Robyn, Ace of Base, Europe and some 400 other Swedish artists.

Medelhavsmuseet

Medelhavsmuseet (The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities) is focused around collections of mainly ancient objects from the Mediterranean area and the Near East.

The museum was formed in 1954 when the Egyptian Museum and the Cyprus Collection were combined. The Egyptian Museum had been created in 1928 from artifacts collected in the 18th, 19th and early 20th century while the Cyprus Collection was the result of the excavations of the Swedish Cyprus Expedition in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Cyprus collection in the museum is the largest outside Cyprus and of great scholarly value. Besides Egypt and Cyprus the museum also holds collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, Near Eastern antiquities from Shah Tepe, Luristan bronzes and Islamic art.

The museum has been located in the Gustav Horn palace, Gustav Adolfs Torg, Fredsgatan 2, Stockholm since 1982. (Wikipedia)

Medelhavsmuseet

Обзор грузинской вечеринки

Вчера мы посетили грузинскую вечеринку, проходившую в творческом центре «Kulturfyren», который находится в самом сердце шведской столицы. Хотя вечеринкой это сложно назвать, мероприятие было похоже на домашний уютный концерт. Атмосфера носила крайне скромный и доброжелательный характер, без лишнего пафоса, свойственного вечеринкам других стран. Собрался полный зал гостей, большинством из которых являлись представителями грузинской диаспоры в Швеции.

Georgian Embassy Reception

Our dear ESCKAZ.com friends from the Georgian Delegation invited selected members of our team to attend their annual Embassy reception in Stockholm

Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz performed five songs, clips below, and the Georgian wine was flowing

Report from me Russian colleagues

Yesterday we visited the Georgian party, held in the creative center Kulturfyren, which is located in the heart of the Swedish capital. Although it is difficult to call the party, the event was like a cozy concert. The atmosphere was of very humble and friendly character, without too much pathos inherent to parties in other countries. Going to a full house of guests, most of whom were representatives of the Georgian Diaspora in Sweden. Nick and Young Georgian Lolitaz performed an acoustic version of contest entry, loved by many eurofans "We Agree» to the national selection and three more songs.
Thanked the Georgian participants and calling for they vote on Saturday the final evening (as Sweden votes in the first semi-final and will not be able to support Nick and Lolita Thursday) at the end of the reception, the traditional Georgian banquet with a large number of national delicacies -. white and red wine, badridzhani, pkhali spinach and beets, khachapuri and other local dishes.

Eurovision song;

Other songs;

United Kingdom Embassy reception

UK Embassy reception

Ahead of their participation in the grand final, this coming Saturday, ESCKAZ were invited by the UK delegation to the home of the UK ambassador in Sweden for a performance of Uk entrants Joe & Jake.

Set in a beautiful green environment, the UK ambassador treated us to champagne and canapés on the balcony of his residency, the home for the UK ambassador since a 100 years, overlooking one of Stockholm’s finest lakes.

The setting gave the perfect opportunity to meet other UK fans and the UK team, who are hoping to see Joe & Jake finish on the left hand side of the scoreboard. If their performance last night is anything to go by, it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

The boys confidently performed You’re Not Alone in front of all the people attending, which was met with cheers and applause.

Thank you so much to the British ambassador, and the UK delegation team for allowing ESCKAZ.com to be part of this wonderful experience.

Video clip;

Small Gallery;

UK Embassy reception

Red Carpet Video report video clip

We grabbed a chat with all delegations on the Red Carpet last nigh, some interesting moments and quite a bit of singing
Oh and the outfits....it's all about the outfits

Enjoy

Raising the Eurovision Flags....

At 7.30 this morning all countries and members of the press were invited but the city of Stockholm to the "Raising of the Flags" ceremony.

This prestigious event took place at the Euroclub complex in front of the Royal Palace of Stockholm in Gamla Stan. Gathered were all Heads of Delegation, Heads of Press, Members of the EBU, and the Eurovision media. Several dozen fans of Eurovision were also in attendance.

City Of Stockholm

As 8.00 a.m. approached the roads were sealed in preparation for the marching band to arrive bearing the flags of each and every country taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. It was quite some sight in the early Stockholm sunshine to hear and see the approaching LifeGuards, the oldest regiment in Sweden.

The procession then stopped at the foot of the Royal Palace and the band began to play Euphoria. A little too early for my taste but nice all the same.

Then is was time for the flags to be raised. This seemed to pass without hitch, though we were informed that all flags were to raise at the same time and sadly this moment did not happen. However, it all looked effective and was actually a rather touching moment to see everyone COME TOGETHER....

After this the band played Heroes and marched off taking the route that they came from.

We then grabbed a few words with Sietse Bakker and one of the organising committee from the City Of Stockholm organisation

Finally Andy and I had a few moments guessing the flags....we were not great, there were a few mistakes...opps

Gallery;

Raising flag ceremony

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