It is again this time of the year. Eurovision is coming to its end and so is another season of ESCKAZ work. 18th season.
To start with, it was quite uncertain that there would be another season after Lisbon, but eventually, we gave it a go on the same level as we did in the previous years. It is getting harder and harder every year to keep up the work of the bilingual website, provided the EBU/Premier PR approach to the international websites, which nowadays are valued lower and get much fewer accreditations, than purely national, non-English projects made of people from one country. It is an extremely strange approach, which keeps slowly killing at least our work.
Anyway, we have done reasonably well, as Israel has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to enhance our specialization covering organization of the contest itself.
Tel Aviv has been a welcoming city and despite budget issues, the organizers have faced there were hardly any serious problems on the ground. Two major ones - prices in the city and transportation in Shabbat probably have nothing to do with Eurovision, but as a blossoming city for tourists, there will be a need for solutions found at the end.
Sadly, this time I had no opportunity to attend any concerts or musical shows due to their price - I miss going to Air Supply in wonderful Caesarea for example, or musicals in great Tel Aviv theatres. Besides Eurovision, I've been to two events - Memorial Day and Independence Day concerts on Rabin Square. The latter featured Transistor band singing songs of late Arik Einstein - a true legend of the Israeli music. I used a chance to visit his grave in Trumpeldor cemetery and pay a tribute to the legend.
Tel Aviv offered some great opportunities for tours - we went to the Dead Sea, and on our own visited Jerusalem and Haifa. Despite I was in Jerusalem two previous years (it's getting a good tradition) - it is a city that never fails to impress, and this time I've also visited Russian orthodox church of Alexander Nevsky (and also I visited later Russian church in Tel Aviv). I've also gone to Nalagaat centre for deaf and blind people, on which we have reported in one of the previous articles. I also went to Kabbalat Center and visited Baha'i Gardens with a tour - two religions and two completely different impressions, while Kabbalat left an impression of being a commercial venture aiming to get money from the devotees and sort of current pop fashion, Bahai one left an opinion of being very sincere and open.
My colleagues also throughout enjoyed the free dinners offered by Municipality and Eatwith project and some culinary tours. We have also walked around Tel Aviv with a wonderful Tel Aviv Greeter Lorna (sadly we've missed Safari and hot balloon opportunities due to being very busy). I had only 1 day to go to the beach, but it was very enjoyable, of course, and deeply missed since 2012 and Baku.
All in all, there hardly is anything to criticize: friendly security, hardly noticeable volunteers and helpful staff, amazing huge packed Eurovillage (apparently it reached 80,000 attendance this final night), nicely set up Euroclub and Eurocafe (with a bit late start of the performances though).
What is next for us? I wish I'd known. Well, the big change is on the way - we sadly are saying goodbye for Mike and Daniel who are getting a deserved upgrade in the Eurovision community, who have been THE face of Team KAZ in recent 10 years. Mike actually has grown up from a complete newcomer to the best interviewer of the Eurovision with us. Mike has written more about it in one of his previous posts. I doubt that anyone can step right into their shoes, but if you dare to try and think you can bring value - feel free to mail me at email@example.com. Otherwise - we will be making considerations and choices. Do you have ideas? Do you know how to make things better? Feel free to mail.
And thanks a lot for staying with us. ESCKAZ would never be what it is without you - our lovely readers. So amazing to meet some of you here in Tel Aviv and there's a lot more to come.