Intervision Song Contest

The Intervision Song Contest (ISC) is an international song contest consisting of both Post-Soviet states and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It was previously the Eastern Bloc equivalent to the Eurovision Song Contest. Its organiser was the Intervision, the network of Eastern Europe television stations. It took place mostly in the Forest Opera in Sopot, Poland.

Intervision Song Contest
Intervision logo.svg
One of several logos used by the Intervision Network between 1977–1980.
GenreSong contest
No. of episodes5 contests
Production companyIntervision
Original release
  • 24 August 1977; 43 years ago (1977-08-24)
  • 23 August 1980; 40 years ago (1980-08-23)
  • 28 August 2008; 12 years ago (2008-08-28)
  • 31 August 2008; 12 years ago (2008-08-31)
Preceded bySopot International Song Festival
Related showsEurovision Song Contest (1956–)

The ISC was organised between 1977 and 1980. It replaced the Sopot International Song Festival (Sopot ISF) that had been held in Sopot since 1961. In 1981 the ISC/Sopot ISF was cancelled because of the rise of the independent trade union movement, Solidarity, which was judged by other Eastern-bloc countries to be counter-revolutionary.


The first Sopot International Song Festival was initiated and organised in 1961 by Władysław Szpilman, assisted by Szymon Zakrzewski from Polish Artists Management (PAGART).[1] The first three editions were held in the Gdańsk Shipyard hall (1961–1963), after which the festival moved to the Forest Opera (Opera Lesna). The main prize has been Amber Nightingale through most of its history.

Between 1977 and 1980 it was replaced by the Intervision Song Contest, which was still held in Sopot. Unlike the Eurovision Song Contest, the Sopot International Music Festival often changed its formulas to pick a winner and offered many different contests for its participants. For example, at the 4th Intervision Song Festival (held in Sopot 20–23 August 1980) two competitions were effective: one for artists representing television companies, the other for those representing record companies. In the first the jury considered the artistic merits of the songs entered; while in the second, it judged the performers' interpretation.[2] The festival has always been open to non-European acts, and countries like Cuba, Dominican Republic, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa and many others have been represented in this event.

The contest lost popularity in Poland and abroad in the 1980s, declining further during the 1990s, and the rather unconvincing organisations by TVP made the authorities of Sopot give the organization of the 2005 Sopot International Song Festival to a private TV channel, TVN. Since 1999, there was no contest. TVP chose to invite well-known artists instead, featuring the likes of Whitney Houston or The Corrs. In 2005, TVN was expected to bring the competition back. In 2006 TVN invited Elton John. The Sopot International Song Festival is usually considered bigger than the Benidorm International Song Festival because of its ability to attract star performers. In 2010 and 2011, the festival did not take place due to renovation of the Forest Opera. Since 2012, it is called Sopot Top Of The Top Festival and is broadcast annually by Polsat. The festival also provided opportunity to listen to international stars. In the past, it featured Charles Aznavour, Boney M, Johnny Cash, and more recently: Chuck Berry, Vanessa Mae, Annie Lennox, Vaya Con Dios, Chris Rea, Tanita Tikaram, La Toya Jackson, Whitney Houston, Kajagoogoo, and Goran Bregovic, Anastacia.

Attempted revivalEdit

In 2009, Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin proposed restarting the competition, this time between Russia, China and the Central Asian countries which are mostly members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.[3][4] In May 2014, it was announced that the contest would return after a 34-year hiatus, featuring countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and former Soviet Republics.[5]

The contest was scheduled to take place in October 2014 due to Russian anger at the "moral decay of the West", particularly in response to the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst. Moreover, the revival is seen as part of Vladimir Putin's "broader cultural diplomacy agenda".[6] Despite plans to stage the contest in both 2014 and 2015, the revival of the contest has been postponed.[7][8] Initial plans indicated that the competition would have taken place in Sochi with seven countries having declared their interest to compete: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China and Uzbekistan.[9]


The contest is open to members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation and former Soviet Republics (including the Baltic states).[9][10][11]

Table key
  Former – Former countries that have been dissolved.
Country Debuting year Withdrawing year Returning year Number of entries Wins Broadcaster(s)
  Armenia 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 AMPTV
  Azerbaijan 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 İTV
  Belarus 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 BTRC
  Belgium 1979 1980 1 0 VRT (Dutch)
RTBF (French)[a]
  Bulgaria 1977 2008 4 0 BNT
  Canada 1978 1979 1 0 CBC
  Cuba 1977 1978, 2008 1979 3 0 ICRT
  Czechoslovakia 1977 2008 4 1 CST
  German Democratic Republic 1977 1977? 4 0 DFF
  Finland 1977 2008 4 1 YLE (Finnish)
  Hungary 1977 2008 4 0 MTV
  Kazakhstan 2008[note 1] Inactive[note 1] 2 ATV
  Kyrgyzstan 2008[note 1] Inactive[note 1] 2 KTR
  Latvia 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 LTV
  Moldova 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 TRM
  Morocco 1979 1980 1 0 SNRT
  Netherlands 1980 2008 1 0 NOS (1956–2009)
  Poland 1977 2008 4 1 TVP
  Portugal 1979 1980 1 0 RTP
  Romania 1977 2008 4 0 TVR
  Russia 2008[note 1] Inactive[note 1] 2 C1R
  Soviet Union 1977 2008 4 1 CT USSR
  Spain 1977 2008 4 0 TVE
   Switzerland 1980 2008 1 0 SRG SSR
  Tajikistan 2008[note 1] Inactive[note 1] 2 1
  Turkmenistan 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 TTV
  Ukraine 2008 Inactive[note 1] 1 0 NTU
  Yugoslavia 1977? 1978 1979 2 0 JRT
Participation since 1977:
  Entered at least once
  Never entered, although eligible to do so


Year Date Host City Winner[12] Artist(s)[12] Song[12] Language
1977 24–27 August   Sopot   Czechoslovakia Helena Vondráčková "Malovaný džbánku" Czech
1978 23–26 August   Sopot   Soviet Union Alla Pugacheva "Vsyo mogut koroli" (Всё могут короли) Russian
1979 22–25 August   Sopot   Poland Czesław Niemen "Nim przyjdzie wiosna" Polish
1980 20–23 August   Sopot   Finland Marion Rung "Hyvästi yö" Finnish
No contests held from 1981 to 2007
2008 28–31 August   Sochi   Tajikistan Tahmina Niyazova "Zangi Telefon" (Занги телефон) Tadjik
No contests held from 2009 to present

Winners by countryEdit

Wins Country Years
1   Tajikistan 2008
  Finland 1980
  Poland 1979
  Soviet Union 1978
  Czechoslovakia 1977

Winners by languageEdit

Wins Language Years
1 English 2008
Finnish 1980
Polish 1979
Russian 1978
Czech 1977

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Five Stars Intervision to open in Sochi". UzReport. 20 August 2008. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014.
  1. ^ VRT and RTBF alternate responsibilities for the contest.
  1. ^ Szpilman, Wladyslaw (1 December 2005). "Songs composed by Wladyslaw Szpilman". Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  2. ^ Waschko, Roman (6 September 1980). "Finn Singer Triumphant At Sopot Contest". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. p. 65. Retrieved 5 April 2011. Two competitions were held at the 4th Intervision Song Festival in Sopot August 20–23, 1980: one for artists representing television companies, the other for those representing record companies. In the first the jury considered the artistic merits of the songs entered; while the performers' interpretation was judged in the second. The outcome was a victory for Finnish singer Marion in the first contest, "Where Is the Love?" taking the Grand Prix. Six year ago, the same artist won Grand Prix at the Sopot International Song Festival. First prize was shared by Czech performer, Marika Gombitová with "Declaration", and Russian Nikolai Gnatiuk for the song "Dance on a Drum".
  3. ^ Intervision: The Russian proposed song contest with China, Central Asia (Shanghaiist: Shanghai News, Food, Arts & Events)
  4. ^ Putin mulls Intervision Song Contest (BBC World Service)
  5. ^ Bartlett, Paul (23 May 2014). "Bearded Lady Spurs Russia to Revive Soviet-Era Song Contest". eurasianet. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  6. ^ Lee-Adams, Wiliam (25 July 2014). "Following Outrage Over Conchita, Russia Is Reviving Its Own Straight Eurovision". Newsweek. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  7. ^ Granger, Anthony (1 September 2014). "Intervision: 2014 Contest Is Cancelled". Eurovoix. Retrieved 1 September 2014. External link in |work= (help)
  8. ^ Granger, Anthony. "Intervision: Contest Moved To Autumn 2015". Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  9. ^ a b Granger, Anthony (23 May 2014). "Russia: Intervision To Return This October". Eurovoix. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  10. ^ Bartlett, Paul (23 May 2014). "Bearded Lady Spurs Russia to Revive Soviet-Era Song Contest". Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  11. ^ Olga, Elenskiy. Rossiя našla zamenu "Evrovideniю" (in Russian). Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  12. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Steve (14 May 2012). "The Cold War rival to Eurovision". BBC News. Retrieved 31 May 2014. Intervision winners

External linksEdit

  Media related to Intervision Song Contest at Wikimedia Commons