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Why November Might Be The Month For Eurovision Magic Written by on November 7, 2023

Winter is coming, and the nights are still drawing in, but Eurovision is here to brighten your mood. Fin Ross Russell explains why he really appreciates our Song Contest during November.

For many the Eurovision Song Contest is just the annual television event in May, yet the community knows that following our Song Contest is a year-round extravaganza. Whether it’s Albania’s Festivali i Këngës offering us the affectionally known Fikmas in December, the six-week gala of Swedish music leading up to Melodifestivalen’s Grand Final in March, the preview parties in April, or community events such as the Eurovision Cruise in August, there’s always something Eurovision to get excited about.

As November comes around, the community finds itself remembering Liverpool, still listening to much of the music but with the memories not shining as brightly in our minds as they used to. It’s been nearly 180 days since the previous Contest, and nearly 180 till the next one.

It is however our very distance from these two dates in the calendar that defines November as an important month to appreciate the Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision 2022 Audience (EBU / Sarah Louise Bennett)

Eurovision 2022 Audience (EBU / Sarah Louise Bennett)

Lights and Shadows

November can be a difficult month. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s very dark, very cold, and in the intermediate period between Halloween and Christmas, very quiet. It’s unsurprising that recent studies suggested that in 2022, Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression linked to the changing of the seasons, peaked in the first week of November.

According to the American National Institute of Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms can include depression, changes in appetite, insomnia and general sluggishness. Although it’s possible for people to experience SAD during the summer months, it is most commonly seen during the autumn and winter months as the days become shorter and nights become longer combined with the colder weather. Although SAD is a diagnosable condition, it is also thought that many people manage these symptoms every November without being diagnosed. According to the NHS, 2 million people across the UK are affected by SAD and over 12 million across Northern Europe. Methods for managing this condition include remaining active, healthy eating and getting plenty of sleep; but when I’ve been faced with these symptoms, the treatment that’s always worked best for me has been music.

The Power of Music

Music is magical because of the myriad of things it can achieve. It can capture a mood in a moment when we feel a certain emotion, make us feel understood when nobody around us can, and inspire and motivate us when we’re looking for a burst of energy to achieve our goals. Most importantly, music is the closest thing we’ll probably ever have to a time machine ; with its gift of transporting us to a time and place in which we remember what we were doing while hearing a song.

It can be any music that alters my mood and helps manage my SAD but there’s something special about music from our Song Contest that feels perfectly designed to combat winter. The music can be energetic, designed to attract audiences over a limited three-minute period and always associated with bright unforgettable imagery whether that be a great national final performance; a cinematic music video; or a historic outing on the Eurovision main stage.

It’s one of life’s wonderful coincidences that the bulk of the National Final season falls almost perfectly in the post-Christmas Northern Hemisphere winter period. The days in January and February are just as cold and dark as now but there’s a difference. We can spend the daytimes looking out for fresh publications of National Final entries; spend the evenings streaming live shows from across the Continent;  and enjoy a fantastic collection of brand-new music from across Europe as we dream of our favourites achieving glory in many forms.

It gives us something to get excited about as the world around us begins to slowly get lighter again until the clocks go forward in March by which point, we have our full list of Eurovision entries and can begin looking forward to the Song Contest in May.

One Step at a Time

So why is November my ultimate Eurovision month? Now is the perfect time to go back into your playlist of Eurovision favourites and blast them out, Listen to the fast songs dancing around the room and singing along to the chorus. Listen to the slow songs and feel like you connect to every lyric and emotion. Listen to songs in a foreign language and allow yourself to be transported to another place. Maybe even listen to some of the lighter songs (as long as they’re the ones that make you laugh and smile).

We also have the first new music of the music to remind us of what’s coming up. This year we have the early arrival of Malta Eurovision Song Contest’s Semi Finals, with new competitive songs every Friday night over November. Don’t forget our seasonal aperitif of Junior Eurovision in Nice at the end of the month with sixteen more songs and a memorable production that will be added to our Eurovision canon.

Whatever you need, the Eurovision Song Contest is the warm hug you need to get through these cold, dark days… one song at a time.

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