SCHEVENINGEN - What should have been a celebration of international songs from all over Europe a tough fight with accusations and was again. Singing Europe '69 was not the big success and ultimately yielded two very angry 'winners' on: Belgium and Spain.

During the final evening of the "alternative song contest" in the Kurhaus was the struggle for profits (and the associated prize money and publicity) between the Belgian and Spanish. But after the Belgian action Spanish judge gave remarkably few points on the Belgian how Harris, Rita Deneve and the Wallace Collection.

While most countries 18 tot 20 points came for Belgians, gave the Spaniard a 5. That earned him a lot of boos from the audience, that could be seen that this was rigged. It made Spain 240 points and finished in Belgium 239.

"Pure Corruption", cried the Belgian team manager Louis van Rymenant white-hot anger, Spain after the jury declared winner. The jury retired back immediately after the results in one of the halls of the Kurhaus.

"Pure Corruption"

(Louis van Rymenant, sports director Belgium)

A few hours later came Paramor president of the jury with a compromise: Spain and Belgium would end both in the first place. "The jury withdraws the final results and declares, the Spanish and Belgian teams both are classified in the first place. "

That was no solution as of Rymenant who shot his temper when a reporter of the Vrije Volk. "We are a first or nothing, Not sharing location. If I do not get my money, I start legal proceedings "


Later it turned out that the Spanish judge had its reasons to sabotage a Belgian victory. The juror was director of the record Belter, where all members of the Spanish team for working. Profit would mean a lot of publicity and that was good for the record.

The other jury members were accordingly and insisted after the publication of the results at a meeting.

The Spanish judge, Joaquin Alfonso, left after jury deliberations immediately to his hotel. He maintained that he felt much worse Belgians in the final than in the preliminaries. The organization was previously aware of the band had with the artist Alfonso, claimed the juror to the gathered media. The other jurors would have been the beginning of the festival informed.

Thus, the fact that the Belgian team manager Van Rymenant and Alfonso already had business contacts. "Whether I'm there yet through it now? No", said the Belgian leader angry.

Nee, Spain wins

Promoter Lou van Rees, a few days ago loudly proclaimed that there would again Singing Europe next year, was not happy with the compromise which had found the jury. In a statement late impresario said that the decision of the jury at any regulation was based and is actually hit anywhere on.

Rees insisted that the outcome remained as it was broadcast on television and radio in Spain and Belgium as the winner in second.

The Belgians have announced that they will seek contact in the next week with Reinder Zwolsman, developer and major financial man behind the festival.

songs Festival

Singing in Europe fifteen national teams participated. On the first evening were still a few countries in action. Each country produces a soloist(e) and a few musicians. There follow three performances assessed.

The six countries with the most points went to the finals. Spain, België, France, Yugoslavia, England and Czechoslovakia were in action today. After Spain and Belgium ended the French in third place.

For the Dutch singer Ben Cramer had a little success. He gets to the Belgian Minister for Culture, the prize for the best act.

Singing Europe in particular should have the Dutch alternative for the annual Festival Knokke, which takes place next week. That festival is not afraid of a riot, more or less. But the problems are often not as large as now in Scheveningen.

But besides the chaos surrounding the final victory was more criticism of the event. Some participating countries were substandard. Thus Hungary sent a pianist who normally plays in a bar in Budapest.

Hoe ging het verder?

Lou van Rees wanted to Singing Europe leave an unforgettable impression. It is doubtful whether he meant this way.

Especially the Volkskrant was harsh in her judgment organizer Lou van Rees:

"A total failure. A festival with an abundance of 'artists' who just have a while at home mother from Luxembourg, Swedish, Italian and Swiss doors had to keep practicing. "

(Volkskrant, 10-07-1969)

A week after Singing Europe scheduled a song festival in Knokke (België), but quickly decided to broadcast this match but not on TV.

The media is unanimous about the festival: it is a gigantic flop, especially by the riot at the end. Lou van Rees calls a week later the press 'biased'.

Its intention in the next year again to organize a song festival Lou van Rees have all come back within a few months. It will be 1971, let him know. But even then it remains silent. Singing a new Europe will ultimately never.

Lou van Rees would continue much longer at least ten years as one of the largest and most famous impresarios of Netherlands. Singing Europe was no more than a small blot on his escutcheon.


Het Vrije Volk – 10-07-1969 – Belgian sports director: Corruption!

Algemeen Handelsblad – 10-07-1969 – Spain laborious winner

Author: Dave Datema

published: 09 juli 2018

story number: 46

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