Jouni Pihkakorpi is the President of OGAE Finland, and has been following the Contest since the days of Katie Boyle hosting in Brighton, Olivia Newton-John flying an Australian flag, and Italy throwing their toys out of the pram because of ‘Si‘.
So Jouni seems the perfect person to ask our traditional question…
‘Eurovision – Music for Everyone.’
This OGAE Finland slogan also sums up my relation to the Eurovision Song Contest. What started as an interest in music and music competitions, Eurovision in particular, has grown into a diverse hobby.
My first childhood memory of the Eurovision Song Contest is from 1974. Abba was something truly spectacular and soon my room was filled with Abba posters. In those days there weren’t that many music programs on Finnish television and the Eurovision Song Contest was surely the highlight of the spring programming.
My earliest compact cassette recordings are also from that era. My family and I regularly watched the show thru the 70’s and 80’s and wondered when Finland would finally win. We never did and my interest in Eurovision faded as the music videos from various channels caught my interest.
The year 2000 was a milestone in my Song Contest history. I started frequenting the Eurovision bar in Helsinki. The atmosphere there was very nice and I enjoyed listening to old and new Eurovision songs with my friends. The bar owner offered me tickets to the Contest in Stockholm… and on a whim I decided to buy tickets for the show.
The Finnish entry that year was Nina Åström and after listening to the song a few dozen times it started to sound tolerable so I bought a huge Finnish flag and some other props to cheer her on.
I will always remember the moment when the Eurovision anthem began to play and the entire Globen bursted into cheers. Flags of many Europen countries were flown high and the atmosphere was just amazing. I decided there and then that I would do this every year.
In the year 2000 I also joined OGAE Finland. At that time the Eurovision fan scene in Finland was very scattered and we had many different groups of Eurovision fans. Initially my main reason for joining was to get tickets to the shows and I was quite puzzled by the fact that there was quite a lot of friction amongst the fans at that time.
Things started to change when a new President was elected for OGAE Finland and together with the board members of the different clubs there was now a genuine will to gather all the fans together in one club. The clubs were united and OGAE Finland is now an active club respecting the diversity of its members.
The Eurovision hobby is an important part of my life. I have had the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people. Many have also become true friends. I have met great artists, travelled to many beautiful cities. I have been part of the greatest song contest on this planet . I have also had the privilege to participate in creating an active fan organization and planning many fan events. The most succesfull event has been The Eurovision Cruise what OGAE Finland has already arranged 4 times. We wanted to create one big event for all Eurovision lovers in Finland. The first cruise was already popular among the fans. There was 500 fans of which 2 were from abroad. Last year more than 2000 fans participated in our glitter filled cruise. Among them hundreds of fans came from abroad, from 16 different countries. During these four years we have created one of the biggest Eurovision event after the Eurovision and national selections for the fans. Please JoinUs on our next cruise in September 2014.
Why Eurovision. Because it really is ‘music for everyone’, if they join us!