Friday, March 18, 2011

Anticipation grows as the time draws near. In my confusion of the importance of the Melodifestivalen I assumed it would be just a neat cultural experience. I was highly underestimating how big this is. The evening starts at a small French cafe near the city center where the food was fast but very delicious. I indulge in the fish and pomme frites. A side-note, fries are pomme frites and chips are chips here. The fish is fresh and crispy on the edges, with the little bit of fresh lemon squeezed on top it is nearly perfect. After dinner we share a coffee and we each have a small but rich chocolate mousse topped with creme. Now we are headed to the event of the year and I still have no real idea how big it is.

The vehicle crosses the bridge and the city is a shining diamond and the sea glows in the moonlight. I am lost in the beauty of Stockholm at night. The snow still shimmers but the ice is melting to reveal the water below. The lights of the city glow brightly as I stare awestruck by just the passing by of the buildings but the kids seem not to notice. The excitement for whats to come is too great. We draw nearer and then, at once, GLOBEN!!! The cheers come from everyone in the car as we come into view of the Stockholm Globe arena. It is a massive stadium sphere resting just near the water as though it might roll right it. The lights are shinning bright all around the arena and the huge Melodifestivalen logo is projected on the side of the Globen. As we park and I see the massive crowds I start to realize that this is not just some concert. This is a massive and once in a lifetime event. I am very lucky to have tickets, and to get to share in this part of the Swedish culture. I am told that the Melodifestivalen is an annual singing and song competition that takes place in all of Sweden. The winner goes on to enter into the European finals, taking place this year in Munich, and to be very famous. We enter the stadium and make our way to our seats. Large arenas always fill me with an excited anticipation and with the added cultural aspects of the event this walk to my seat is fueled by this. I look around in all directions and take in the magnitude. The Globen is packed, nearly every seat is full. We find our seats in the floor section. I am lucky enough to be here and now I am even luckier to have such great seats. Everything from the car ride to walking to my seats seems magical, a surreal feeling as though I am living in a dream.

The contest begins. There are ten artists and then voting. It is the American Idol finale but only in a language I can't understand. Lucky enough some of the songs are in English, though it is not music I would ever listen to. though there was one great song by an artist called The Moniker. The song is called"oh my god". It was by far my favorite song of the evening and the third best song in overall voting. The crowd favorite seems to be the Justin Bieber of Sweden with a song called "Popular". It is a terrible song but the kid can sing and dance. Everyone is loving the event, singing and dancing and spending a lot of time explaining things to me.

With the Melodifestivalen behind me now I look back and know that I was lucky to partake in that night. It truly is a staple in Swedish culture and a really good time. I now have a ton of crappy pop songs stuck in my head but it is worth it to have experienced it. I look forward to many more experiences like that and many more magical moments. I am living in a dream.

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