Celebrating ABBA's historic Eurovision win in Brighton

ABBA: One Week in Brighton offers a celebration of a major moment in musical history. It delivers an exhibition in Brighton Museum & Art Gallery running from March 28-August 4.
ABBA win Eurovision, April  6 1974 © PA Photos  TopFotoABBA win Eurovision, April  6 1974 © PA Photos  TopFoto
ABBA win Eurovision, April 6 1974 © PA Photos TopFoto

Curator Jody East sets the scene: “Saturday, April 6 1974. Brighton was burning with Eurovision fever, flags from different countries lined the streets, contestants were photographed exploring the town, and excitement was building. ABBA’s eye-catching outfits ensured that people noticed them even before they stepped on stage. Waterloo, their winning song, became the band’s international breakthrough, despite the UK judges giving them ‘nul points.’

“Through photographs, film, memories and memorabilia, visitors to ABBA One Week in Brighton will relive the excitement of the week that catapulted the band to fame. The exhibition shares personal stories from the backstage crew and people in the audience to autograph hunters who rushed to the stage door to meet the Swedish superstars.

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“Stories include tales of the international journalists who enjoyed Brighton's pubs so much they missed the show, the man blamed for cutting off Terry Wogan’s electricity supply and the taxi driver ABBA treated to a private performance of the winning song.

“Exhibits include the drumkit sourced for the band at the last minute that sounded the first beats of Waterloo, the spangly costume that toured the world with the singer inspired to perform by watching the contest on TV as a child, a feather plucked from presenter Katie Boyle’s evening gown and an autographed viewer score sheet.

“Visitors will be encouraged to share memories of when the Eurovision circus came to town, explore their own favourite ABBA moments and try on some glam fashions.”

Jody added: “The 1974 Eurovision Contest was a culturally significant moment and it’s wonderful to collectively celebrate memories of ABBA's victory and the part Brighton played. We hope visitors will enjoy sharing these stories together.”

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Hedley Swain, CEO of Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust, says “We’re looking forward to welcoming ABBA fans of all ages from near and far to mark this important anniversary.”

For more info visit https://brightonmuseums.org.uk/event/abba-one-week-in-brighton/

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm; closed Mondays (except Bank Holidays 10am-5 pm).

There will also be a special anniversary day event: ABBA win Eurovision! from 12-4pm, Saturday, April 6: “Dress up and pose on our special ABBA stage, dance along with pop-up performers throughout the afternoon and make ABBA-inspired badges and banners.”

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Free with Brighton Museum admission, members free. All ages.

Brighton & Hove Museums is a charitable trust responsible for the management of the Royal Pavilion & Museum Trust service in Brighton & Hove.