Special guests Lys Assia, Arletta Zola and Katarina Hasprova entertained around 150 Eurovision Song Contest fans gathered in Basel, Switzerland last Saturday. The fans were gathered at the International fan club meeting organised by the Eurovision Club Switzerland.
Like at any good fan club meeting, the programme was a mixture of silliness, nostalgia, fan participation and entertainment from the special guests. Sascha Korff, a German comedian and fan himself, presided over events, which lasted over five hours. During the breaks, and later at the makeshift Euroclub Disco, the fans caught up with each other and made new friends. The local Swiss club was outnumbered by their guests who mostly came from Germany, Austria, and France, but also from Holland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Swiss ladies and other guests
The programme began with the obligatory but highly entertaining drag act featuring a medley of Eurovision favorites, which ended predictably enough with Swiss Lady, the 1977 Swiss entry at the Eurovision Song Contest in Wembley. Next, ten brave amateurs took to the stage for a Eurovision themed Karaoke contest. The audience was divided into juries, and voted using the traditional 12 point system to determine the winning entry. Christian Deussen, a jeweller from Munich, won the karaoke contest with a professional sounding rendition of Mr. Nobody from the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest semifinal.
Lys Assia, who won the first Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland in 1956 with Refrain, performed more than 45 minutes for the adoring crowd. She mostly sang from her recent album Mein neues Leben (My new life). Of course, she sang her winning entry from 1956, with a new arrangement and text in both French and German. Later Arletta Zola (Switzerland 1982) entertained the fans, but lamented that the song contest today is not like it was. "It's become too much of a show", she said on stage, echoing the opinion of the night's presenter and seemingly most of the gathered fans. However, she also pragmatically stated, "you can't always look back, but you have to move forward." She readily acknowledged that lots of young fans enjoy the contest today.
Finally, Katarina Hasprova (Slovakia 1998) impressed the crowd with her song contest entry Modlitba and with several all-singing, all-dancing musical theatre numbers from Cabaret, Aida, and others. The fans also enjoyed a trivia contest and a raffle for Eurovision souvenirs and other gifts. The raffle and also Lys Assia's performance benefited Aids Hilfe Switzerland.