The 1950’s saw a post war continent looking at ways to rebuild itself and celebrate the diversity of its people and cultures. The newly formed European Broadcasting Union were tasked with considering ways in which its member nations could share in a ‘light entertainment programme’ as well as experiment with new technologies and create a show that would be simultaneously broadcast around the countries of the union. The idea of an international song contest was based on the fledgling Sanremo Music Festival in Italy which had begun in 1951.
The first contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland in May 1956 with seven countries. Fast forward to 2017 over the years we have seen 52 nations compete in the contest, 1480 songs performed, and a global audience of around 180 million viewers.
The Eurovision Song Contest has been formative in the experimentation of broadcasting technology, music staging and camera work, in fact many of the elements of TV broadcasting that we see as standard today can be traced to the Eurovision Song Contest.