OGAE Australia - New committee and year ahead
escfan OGAE Australia is the official fan club of Eurovision fans in Australia which is part of the worldwide group OGAE (which stands for Organisation Générale des Amateurs de l'Eurovision or in English, General Organisation of Eurovision Fans ).
The club is run by volunteers, has been up and running formally since 2015 and now boasts 600 members including ourselves at Aussievision. They put on a variety of events throughout the year including at Australia Decides, preview parties before the contest which have featured Slavko and EyeCue, a Eurovision poll and countdown as well as events on the ground in the host city.
Last weekend the club held it's annual Annual General Meeting (AGM) to elect a new President and Committee. They are:
President: Christopher Dean
Vice-President: Danie Tregonning (Many will know from Wind Machine Podcast)
Treasurer: Chris Greaves
Secretary: Kurtis Carter
General committee members: Jayde Gray, Ricky Li, Fleur Menezes (Aussievision contributor), Simone McDonnell and Gemma Schuhmann.
In what is good news for club fans the committee represents four states and has a strong representation of women, which is not often the case with Eurovision clubs and events.
We spoke to the new escfan OGAE Australia President Christopher (below) about himself and what his hopes are for the club over the next 12 months.
Ok first off tell us a bit about you, how did you first get into Eurovision and what has your journey been with the contest since then?
I’m a country boy from Queensland until I moved to the big city of Brisbane in my early 20’s and then Melbourne a few years later. I’ve been in Melbourne for about 15 years now. I love music, following the Australian pop charts since a very young age.
Following the charts, I always knew of Eurovision via the odd hit that would make it into the Top 50, but had never really watched it in full until 2011. Eurovision is one of those “it’s so bad it’s good” type of affairs that always requires a party to enjoy it best. I didn’t really have anyone to have one of those parties with until I met my partner in 2013, so with 2014’s contest, we were both hooked and have been diehard fans ever since.
As for my journey, well, I’ve gone from the mindset that Eurovision is “so bad it’s good”, to thinking it is the best thing ever! There is nothing bad about it at all, and I hope with Australia’s participation now locked in (for the next 5 years), others will enjoy it a little more seriously, as I now do.
You were part of the committee last year, what made you step up to take on the role as President?
To be totally honest, I never envisioned myself to take on such an important role. However, due to clashes with personal commitments, or being relocated overseas for work, the club has been without a solid Presidential figure for some time – with all due respect to those who have acted in the past, as there’s no denying being part of any club committee takes up a lot of time. I convinced myself that I had what it takes to give the club the stability it needs, and help elevate its reputation as one of the finest OGAE clubs in the world.
What is going to be the main focus of the club over the next 12 months?
Despite those points just made, the previous committee has done an amazing job in the past year to set up a stack of exciting projects for our members. You could call these our “test runs”. We’ve had a stall at a festival, presented a radio show that was heard worldwide, facilitated after parties for our first National Final, and given our members the chance to perform themselves – even on stage! The main focus for me is to take that two weeks of excitement we all experience when attending Eurovision, and applying it to the other 50 weeks of the year. That’s really the essence of what a fan club should be, and that’s what we hope to do.
What are the main challenges of the club?
Fan clubs such as ours are always full of diverse and interesting members – and that’s for better or worse. We’ve done a pretty good job trying to ensure our members feel welcome, safe and happy in this club, but there are always situations that we can never predict will happen, and we have no idea how to handle. I would like to think that we can learn from everything that hasn’t gone to plan in the past, and tackle any future issues responsibly and with tact. Coming to think of it…that really is a big challenge!
Ideally where would you like to see the club at in the next five years, what does the ideal OGAE Australia club look like?
In five years’ time, OGAE Australia will have a membership of 1000’s rather than 100’s – that you can bank on. With those figures, we would be in line with other well-established clubs as being one of the best and most popular to be part of. And so, an OGAE Australia party in the Eurovision host city will be the most sought after ticket in town, behind the actual Eurovision…ha ha! Well, we can only “dare to dream”. Oh…and the ideal OGAE Australia club looks like it does right now, just a little smaller than what it will be.
And finally why should someone join the club if they haven't already?
Being in Australia, we’re a little far from all the action. It takes a more time for us to get to a host city, and costs a hell of a lot more money! The next best thing is to listen to Eurovision music, really loud, with a bunch of new friends, and that’s our club. We try to make it an audio and visual spectacular in line with any club nights or parties held in the Eurovision host city. We’re pretty new at it, but I think we’re doing a good job, so far, at providing that. Plus it’s really cheap!!
Cheap and fun is what we like at Aussievision and that's why we can highly recommend membership. To join escfan OGAE Australia (Adult price $25) visit: ogaeaustralia.com