Ana and Karis Ferguson launched their Mission Eurovision website in 2015 to share tips for throwing great Eurovision parties. The site, which bills itself as “the ultimate Eurovision party planner,” includes recipes, bingo, scorecards and drinking games.
“The site has grown every year and now over 60,000 people watch our Eurovision bingo every year,” said the sisters, web developers in their 30s and 40s.
Every year they celebrate a little differently. In their first year, they attended the semi-finals live but were home in the UK to watch the final with a large group of friends. This year they’re hanging up some Union Jack bunting and making cocktails inspired by Sam Ryder, the 32-year-old Essex singer and TikTok star who’s representing the UK. “For the first time in a while we’re really enjoying the positive vibes surrounding our entry – so we’re proud to show our support,” they said.
The popularity of Mission Eurovision speaks to a growing trend for fans of the international singing competition to gather for screening parties.
Saturday night’s final in Turin marks the first time the UK has been free of Covid-imposed restrictions, allowing those who have canceled or scaled back their parties in recent years to finally catch up.
To top it off, Britain has a chance of winning this year – after a devastating result in 2021 when it received zero points. Ryder, selected in collaboration between the BBC and global music management company TaP Music, will perform his song ‘Space Man’, which is currently the second favorite winner.
Bars, clubs and cinemas across the UK have organized themed screening parties. In London, places like Two Brewers, Troubadour and Halfway to Heaven host events. DJs play Europop hits until 4am at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
“It’s hard to express how important Eurovision is to many LGBTQ+ people, including a large number of our customers,” said James Lindsay, managing director of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
“RVT is home to Eurofest, a biannual Eurovision themed club night, and they’re always busy. Last year we screened the final to a limited, fully seated audience due to Covid restrictions, but this year we are able to screen the final to a full venue, in full party mode, complete with Eurofest DJs.”
Troubadour’s Ian Screeton said they were “so happy that we can finally get the party going now and our customers from all over Europe can get together, dress up, listen to music and celebrate Eurovision”.
Other Eurovision party venues include Grub in Manchester, Camp and Furnace in Liverpool, Eden Bar in Birmingham and Buttermarket in Shrewsbury.
“As big Eurovision fans, the family and I were a bit upset that our annual tacky celebrations were shackled by Covid last year and went haywire the year before,” said a primary school teacher, Valdis, 23. “The 2020 cancellation was an additional one Slap us in the face: we are Icelanders and Daði Freyr’s viral bop this year has been anything but a guaranteed win.”
The Londoner said his family was excited to be “back with a bang” with a viewing party attended by guests ranging in age from 16 to 56. “We take our ongoing commentary very seriously, and I’m sure it’ll only get more scathing, thanks to the lovely bay margaritas – especially on the ballads (sorry!).”
Katherine Petty, 36, managing director of Hawksmoor restaurants, said she has hosted Eurovision parties every year since 2005 apart from a couple of years when she went to the competition herself. “I’m a big fan of cooking, so I prepare dishes from different countries in Europe, which is the heart of the party,” she said.
There’s also what she calls the “usual stuff” – flags, scorecards, drinking games. “The next day is like Boxing Day – I’m hungover and I’m eating the leftovers, usually with a repeat of the show in the background. My obsession with Eurovision really started in 1997 when Great Britain won and I’ve been hooked ever since. I can name every winner since 1956 and I have a lot of random facts in my head. My friends think I’m crazy.”
Tim Wye, 55, a Green Party councilor from Bristol, will host around 70 people at his home with two screens for the show – one in the garden and one inside. There is a strict door policy, he said: “Cynics are not allowed. You can fuck off a bit, but give him the respect he deserves.”