“There were only friendly people and love in the air”

Fans, tourism and the Eurovision Song Contest

Authored by: Henrik Linden , Sara Linden

The Routledge Handbook of Popular Culture and Tourism

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138678354
eBook ISBN: 9781315559018
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter will give some insight into the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) as an event that attracts a particular group of tourists – fans. Fan tourism is a growing field and the travel industries are increasingly viewing fans as a key market segment. Visit London, for example, has built a whole marketing campaign around fans and fan tourism – “Fans of London” (Visit London, 2017) – and VisitBritain encourages fans of Britain to post pictures and comments on social media as part of the global #OMGB (“Oh My GREAT Britain”) campaign (VisitBritain, 2017). As the concept of the fan has become more inclusive it has also entered into the mainstream consciousness – we can now be fans of “almost anything” (Guerrier, 2015). Although being a fan may still be “fraught with baggage from historical and contemporary media representations” (Stanfill, 2013, p. 17) – and fans are sometimes viewed as a threat to the dominant social order (Jensen, 1992; Hills, 2002; Sandvoss, 2005; Jenkins, 2008; Duffett, 2013) – the broadening of the fan concept has placed particular emphasis on fans as customers and, as such, they are attractive for businesses (Linden & Linden, 2017). In fact, in the experience economy, or consumer society, where subcultures are increasingly difficult to identify, it is instead normal to be a fan. So, while fans were previously viewed with suspicion, being a fan can now enhance one’s status and increase one’s social and cultural capital not only within the fandom, but beyond it too. Fans experience things, and after all, experiences are what we are all after.

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