Eurovision Young Musicians 2018 in Edinburgh

News about next year’s Eurovision Young Musicians competition in Edinburgh came via an unexpected (and pleasingly excited) source. I was a little non-plussed. “It’s a bit shit though,” I said on the phone. For a moment it felt like I was back at the BBC in a production meeting.

Discovering that BBC Radio 3 has put its flag in the arena is reasonably reassuring. There’s talk on the EBU’s press release of the ‘semi-finals’ being broadcast on the network. I’m assuming the live final won’t be broadcast live on Radio 3 given that the competition is scheduled for Friday 24 August 2018 – slap bang in the middle of the BBC Proms.

Eurovision Young Musician has spectacularly failed to be a go-to event for twenty-odd years, possibly longer.

The last ‘extravaganza’ outside Cologne Cathedral had more than a whiff of a TV exec wanting the competition to be a piece of entertainment, rather than the serious competition it aspired to be to begin with.

That BBC Radio 3 is credited in the press release today suggests there’s a possibility it could be better this time around, though I wonder to what extent that’s a piece of PR.

There’s no mention of the Edinburgh International Festival (who I would have thought would have wanted to be credited if they had been involved).

That said the final is in the Usher Hall (with the BBC Scottish Symphony) a venue for a yesteryear Eurovision. That the final isn’t being staged outside would be a step in the right direction.

The real test of the format’s lifespan will be who the competitors are. They’re revealed in February 2018.

The EBU has looked to its Song Contest network to distribute news of a competition few hardcore Contest fans are likely to be interested in. I’ve no idea why. The content is entirely different.  The press release also describes the audience as ‘generalist’ . That either means the EBU are at the vanguard of shaping a new audience for classical music, or they’re struggling to distribute their message.

Stay tuned (boom!) for the artist reveal in February 2018). After that, the presentation (it’s got to be better than in 2016), and ultimately in the kudos of the judges.

Oh, and don’t anyone think this one is a TV programme begging for a telephone vote. It’s not.

Like my mother taught me, I’m preparing for the worst. At the very least, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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