ESCToday’s Head of Press Sanjay (Sergio) Jiandani travelled to Vienna on a research trip prior to the Eurovision Song Contest and visited the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest venue The Wiener Stadthalle and got the chance to meet up with Mr. Wolfgang Fischer (CEO Wiener Stadthalle) and interview him regarding the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest and its preparations.
When and how did the Wiener Stadthalle decide it wanted to host the Eurovision Song Contest?
We decided we wanted to host the Eurovision Song Contest the very same night when Conchita brought the Eurovision victory to Austria, on the night of the 10/11 May. There were messages sent to and fro as everyone involved in Vienna was in for the bid and wanted to bring the contest to the city! The Wiener Stadthalle is owned by the City of Vienna. At that time we didn’t know the exact requirements of hosting the event, ie how many weeks were required by ORF and the EBU for hosting the event etc.
Why is the Wiener Stadthalle the ideal venue for the Eurovision Song Contest?
The Wiener Stadthalle is the 10th best arena in Europe and has a great infrastructure and offers a multi purpose arena with various different halls. We should not forget that there are 50,000 hotel beds within 5km of the arena. The arena is located right in the heart of Vienna and is easily accessible via the city’s public transport.
The bidding to host the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest was tight. What key factors helped the Wiener Stadthalle and Vienna win the bid?
Initially there were 10- 12 bids which were shortlisted to 3 and Vienna’s Stadthalle was among them. EBU’s Mr. Jon Ola Sand said that the Stadthalle was built for the Eurovision Song Contest. I guess the fact that the Green Room could be incorporated into the arena, the large number of ticket sales, the capacity of the arena, 5 adjacent halls for multi purpose use all played a key role in Vienna winning the bid. Of course we should not forget that we have 57 years of experience in hosting concerts and events.
What changes has the Wiener Stadthalle undergone for hosting the event?
There have been a few changes regarding the infrastructure of the Wiener Stadthalle. The VIP Areas have been enlarged, the restrooms have been renovated, the arena and its halls have been painted, barrier free pass areas have been incorporated, commentator booths have been constructed. As you can see the whole arena has been branded with the Eurovision Song Contest theme and art work and the motto Building Bridges!
What legacy will the Eurovision Song Contest leave behind for Vienna and Austria?
Vienna and Austria are well known as the home of Beethowen, Conchita Wurst, Mozart, Strauss etc. Vienna is internationally recognized as the city of music.
After the Eurovision Song Contest everyone will be able admire Vienna as the city that has established itself as a city of young people, young music and Austria as a country of Building Bridges!
What shall we expect in Vienna during the Eurovision Song Contest?
May will surely be a very busy month for Vienna! Lifeball will be held on 16 May and the Eurovision Song Contest on 19, 21 and 23 May. The Vienna Philarmonic Orchestra will have a live concert at the Schonbrunn Palace on 14 May, etc. There will be lots of events and activities taking place in the city this month.
What message would you like to give to the Eurovision fans and our readers at ESCToday?
When you come to Vienna you should expect Building Bridges! Building Bridges from the past to the future! Building Bridges between music, cultures and peoples! Welcome to Vienna and enjoy the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest at the Wiener Stadhtalle!
ESCToday would like to thank Mr. Wolfgang Fischer and the Wiener Stadthalle for this interview.
The 2015 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled to be held at the Wiener Stadthalle on 19, 21 and 23 May.