OGAE Australia: Looking ahead to 2023
The official Eurovision fan club of Australia, ESCFAN - OGAE Australia, recently held their Annual General Meeting in Sydney.
The AGM was an opportunity for fans to come together (including an evening Eurovision party) as well as a chance to elect the committee to run the club for the next 12 months.
The members, who were all on the previous committee, are:
President: Lachlan Woods
Vice-President: Craig Jeffery
Secretary: Jack Eaton
Treasurer: Kelly Coomber
Ordinary Committee Members: Jamie Williams, Jordan Vouroudis, Peta-Elliotte Green, Kingsley Dawes, Michael Romano
We caught up with President Lachlan Woods to find out more him, the club and the year ahead.
Congratulations on staying on as President of OGAE Australia, tell us a bit about yourself, how you got into Eurovision and what your journey with the Contest has been like since then?
Thank you! It's a pleasure to be able to continue serving the members of OGAE Australia over the coming years. By day, I'm a public servant for a federal government agency in Canberra (no surprises there), but otherwise live and breathe Eurovision. I first got into Eurovision in 2009, while at home during the Christmas school holidays and managed to stumble on a repeat broadcast of the 2009 contest in Moscow. I basically got hooked after watching Armenia and Norway's performances that year! Since then, I've been somewhat religiously watching the contest since then, including starting to watch the live broadcasts in 2015, and then going to my first contest in person in Turin this year.
It was obviously a big year for you and the committee, what were some of the highlights?
I think the biggest highlights over the past 12 months have been our after party at Australia Decides at the Chameleon Lounge and Bar on the Gold Coast, our Preview Parties in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, as well as our greater focus on setting plans for the future growth and development of the club.
What is going to be the main focus of the club in the next 12 months?
The main focus of OGAE Australia over the coming year will include a greater variety of events, such as larger Preview Parties (with the reintroduction of an international artist performing at them - literally so hard to not blurt out who it is!) and experimenting with other smaller and localised events across Australia. We also aim to continue where we left off with the OGAE Song Contest, as well as exploring ideas from members, such as the creation of an accessibility advisory subcommittee and a code of conduct.
We imagine running a club like this in Australia must have some challenges many European clubs don't, how do you overcome things like geographical distance?
Geographical distance can make things difficult when trying to organise and get ideas from other OGAE club presidents, but at the same time social media has really helped in shrinking that distance. We're also grateful that members here are willing to engage and step up to help when needed, which doesn't always seem to be the case with European clubs. There's pros and cons.
Ideally, what would success look like for the OGAE Australia club in the next few years?
I think there's a mix of seeing more people join or reconnect with the club, but also ensuring that we lay the groundwork for the club to create its own inertia to grow and develop. I would love to see the club engage more deeply in the Eurovision community in Australia and also with the other intersections of communities (such as the LGBTQIA+ communities and multicultural communities across Australia), as well as continue to be seen as the first port of call for Eurovision fans in Australia to connect with others.
And finally, why should someone join the club if they haven't already?
We're a great bunch of people from all across Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world who are passionate about Eurovision and what it stands for: peace, inclusion and diversity through the power of music. It's also a bargain (A$25 per year), which covers events and access to other amazing benefits that come with being part of the OGAE international association, such as possible access to pre-sale tickets to the actual contest itself. Did I mention we're a great bunch of people?!
You can find out more about OGAE Australia and membership on their website: https://ogaeaustralia.com/