This week, there has been a lot of chat, debate and memes associated with the Benidorm Fest crowd being... well nearly all men.
To find out what the experience is really like, we wanted to track down an actual woman attending.
I know... hard-hitting investigative journalism here.
Luckily, we spotted that Ellie from Glasgow was attending.
Ellie has been part of the Eurovision fan media for many years and also owns Totally Flagulous (which includes those amazing Eurovision tea towels).
We spoke to Ellie about her experience.
So, to start with, why did you decide to go to Benidorm Fest?
I'm here at Benidorm Fest 2024 because I wanted to finally experience a national final somewhere warm. I've been to an Eesti Laul, an MGP, a Söngvakeppnin and a UMK and though each of them was very special, I needed thermals under my frock for all of them. For my first post-2020 national final trip, I thought it would be great to combine it with a bit of winter sun, which I really needed after a particularly cold and dreich time in Glasgow. The trip was booked way before the songs came out, so I had to trust that RTVE would deliver (they sort of did?)
What events and shows have you gone to?
I've been to both semi-finals and popped into one of the multiple Euroclub events. I've got a ticket for the final but there are also open-air events over the weekend. There's also been TapasFest running alongside the contest for the gastronomically inclined. I heard rumours of an open-air concert on the Friday night but never managed to find out when it was on so I guess I’m staying in instead.
Is the perception that the audience is almost entirely men true?
The part of the audience that stand down the front and get excited for the cameras is pretty much entirely white men, but that’s far from the whole audience. I saw people of all ages, families with kids and groups of women in the arena and in the queue. There was even a queue for the ladies, which is the litmus test for gender balance in Eurovision events, but that was probably because there were only two cubicles.
However, like many Eurofan events, the crowd was overwhelmingly white, but that’s not specifically a Benidorm Fest problem, more something we have to think about as a fandom as a whole.
As a woman in the crowd have you felt safe and welcome?
Yes, but this might be because I’m 40 and fabulous and no longer give a damn. I don’t think anyone in the crowd was giving anyone other than the jury and demoscopic vote a hard time. If you were committed to getting to the front stage barrier, you might have a tough time, but you can see what’s going on from anywhere in the standing zone.
Has anything surprised you attending?
There is no bar inside the venue! The venue is the large indoor municipal sports hall, and has quite limited facilities. Instead, there is a bar and some food trucks in the queueing area outside the venue. You have to finish up before you go in, and then there’s only a vending machine with confusingly large bottles of water in it. My top tip: take a queue snack and a couple of cans.
Any highlights so far?
The fox ears and pink ‘Zorra’ slogan t-shirts of the Nebulossa fans made me smile even before I saw what they’d got their dancers dressed in. Joining in with the traditional crowd dissent at the jury scores (even though I think they were probably broadly correct) was also very exciting, like going to a pantomime. The lighting rigs, pyro and staging elements are at a really high level and I always enjoy seeing the technical elements of a live song contest broadcast. Oh yeah and Caliente was quite fun too.
Would you recommend the event to other women?
Absolutely. Get that package holiday booked as soon as the Benidorm Fest 2025 dates come out. It’s a great time, it’s a place specifically set up to cater to tourists who want to have a good time, and if you can come and maybe bring your girls too, that Benidorm Fest crowd could be even better.
Benidorm Fest takes place Saturday 10:00pm CET / Sunday 8:00am AEDT and can be viewed via https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/directo/
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