- January 26, 2014
- Johannesburg, South Africa
A Warm welcome to all participants and guests to the 159th edition of the Forum Song Contest, hosted in the city of Vinnytsia, Ukraine!
We are here in Ukraine following their huge victory in FSC #158, with the stunning entry Kalyna, performed by Go_A. Let us revisit that moment and enjoy the current champion one more time:
The Host city for FSC #159 is Vinnytsia, Ukraine.
Vinnytsia is a city of regional significance in central western Ukraine. It is situated on the banks of the Southern Bug river.
Vinnytsia is the administrative center of Vinnytsia oblast and the largest city of the historic region of Podilia. It also serves as the administrative center of Vinnytsia raion, although it is not a part of the district. It has a population of 370 600.
The city has its origins in the Middle Ages. In the 14th century, the surrounding lands were captured by the Lithuanian Duke Algirdas, who then gave it as a gift to his nephews. One of these nephews, Fiodor Koriatowicz, then built a fortress against Tatar raiders on the banks of the Southern Bug in 1363.
Winnica, as it was known then, was granted city rights by Lithuanian Archduke Alexander Jagiellon. The city became a part of Poland between 1569 and 1793, apart for a brief period under Ottoman rule from 1672-1699. During Polish rule, Winnica was a Polish royal city.
With the second partition of Poland in 1793, the city and region was annexed by Russia. It eventually grew to become the third largest city in the Podilia region. Apart for a period of German occupation during WWII, the city remained under Russian and later USSR control, until the independence of Ukraine in 1991.
Today, Vinnytsia is an industrial center, most notably it houses a facility for Roshen confectionaries. It is also the headquarters of the Ukrainian Air Force. It is also an educational center, containing many research centers and educational universities, as well a regional scientific library.
The Roshen multimedia fountain is a floating fountain set in the river, and is one of the largest floating fountains in Europe. The multimedia shows combines water effects, lasers, sound and projection to produce a true spectacle, and a major multimedia atrraction. It is for this reason that Vinnytsia is known as a city of fountains and chocolates.
Vinnytsia is also a city of parks, containing among others the central park of culture and rest (Gorky Park), a 40-hectare landscaped park which houses several monuments, a skate park, planetarium, a concert hall and stadium. On holidays it houses celebrations and folk festivals.
Several notable buildings and churches can be found in Vinnytsia, like the St. Nicholas church, the Transfiguration Cathedral and the Baptist church, the Vaksman Estate, the Pirogov Museum Estate, and the red-brick Watertower housing the Afghan War Museum.
Other tourist sites in the surrounding oblast include the historical castles of Bar, Nemiriv Scythian settlement, the ancient Slavic cave temple, and one of Hitler's forward bunkers adting from WWII.
Vinnytsia is a lively and up-and-coming destination in Western Ukraine, with excellent transport connections, quaint and quirky tourist spots, a relaxed riverside atmosphere, and an appealing city center with a pleasant pedestrian street. It also serves as a convenient starting point to explore the surrounding oblast, as well as southern Podilia region in general.
The host venue for this FSC-edition is Pototsky Palace, located near Tulchin in Vinnytsia oblast, Ukraine.
The Pototsky Palace was built by Count Stanislav Shchensky-Pototsky, one of the richest persons of these parts, and completed in 1785. Often called "the Versailles of Tulchin", Count Pototsky received rich and important people at the palace. Fancy balls were held in the halls of the palace, music was played, masquerades and theater performances were held, and picnics took place in the manicured landscape, attracting visitors from all over Ukraine and Poland. Today the palace is home to the Tulchin School of Culture, and it is here in the expansive gardens that we gather for the performances of this 159th edition of FSC.
Our hosts for this 159th edition of FSC are Verka Serduchka and her dearest mother.
Verka Serduchka is the drag persona of Ukrainian comedian and pop singer Andriy Danylko (born 1973 in Poltava, Ukraine). She famously represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki in 2007 with the song Dancing Lasha Tumbai. Serduchka again participated in the Ukrainian national selection in 2011, but withdrew. In 2015, Verka Serduchka made a cameo appearance in the American action comedy Spy. At the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, Verka was the Ukrainian jury spokesperson, and in 2017 also appeared in the ESC final hosted in Ukraine. Again at the Eurovision final in 2019 in Tel Aviv, Verka Serduchka took part in the interval act, singing the previous winning entry Toy.
Andriy Danylko began to create the character of Verka Serduchka, a flamboyant middle-aged woman from a rural family, working as a railroad sleeping car attendant in 1990. He later established the troupe Danylko Theater, with whom he toured Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic states. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Danylko hosted a talk show called "SV-show" on various TV channels. In 2003 he was awarded the title of Honoured Artist of Ukraine. Apart from pop and dance performances as Serduchka, Danylko has also performed ambient musical compositions under his real name, including the 2005 album После тебя (Posle tebya).
From 2016 he was a member of the jury of the talent show X-factor on STB, and since 2016 Andriy has been a constant judge at Vidbir, the Ukrainian National selection.
The role of Verka Serduchka's mother played by actress Inna Bilokon, who had been Danylko's close friend since school.