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Kalush Orchestra auction off Eurovision trophy, raise £713,000 for Ukraine

Frontman Oleh Psiuk also gave away his pink bucket hat as part of a charity raffle

By Tom Skinner

Ukraine’s Eurovision 2022 hopefuls Kalush Orchestra pose for a studio photo shoot
Kalush Orchestra, Ukraine’s Eurovision 2022 hopefuls (Picture: Corinne Cumming/EBU)

Eurovision winners Kalush Orchestra have sold their trophy for £713,000 to raise money for Ukraine.

The group clinched a victory at the Eurovision Song Contest 2022 in Turin, Italy earlier this month with their track ‘Stefania’. Kalush Orchestra bagged 631 points overall, with a large portion coming from public votes. It marked Ukraine’s third win at the annual competition.

As Sky News reports, the band put the crystal microphone they received up for sale via a Facebook auction that was hosted by Ukrainian TV presenter Serhiy Prytula yesterday (May 29). Offers were accepted in both cryptocurrencies and traditional currencies.

The winning bid – made by WhiteBit, a European cryptocurrency exchange with over two million users – came in at 500 Ethereums (£713,000/$900,000).

It’s said that the money raised will be used to purchase the PD-2 drone system for the Ukrainian armed forces, which Prytula said includes three aircraft and a ground control station.

Additionally, Kalush Orchestra fans were able to enter a €5 (£4.26) raffle to be in with a chance of winning frontman Oleh Psiuk’s signature pink bucket hat. Over 31,000 people from 56 countries participated, raising a further £293,000 for the Ukrainian military.

“We won Eurovision Song Contest and now we want to help Ukraine to win the war,” Psiuk said in a video to announce the auction and raffle last week. “Thank you for your support. Glory to Ukraine.”

The band’s members are all based in different parts of Ukraine, and all have been involved in the ongoing war against Russia to some extent.

Speaking to Rolling Stone UK ahead of their Eurovision win, Psiuk explained: “We are on an important mission to represent Ukraine as well as we can and we feel a huge responsibility from that. We have to be as useful as possible for the country.”

He continued: “In my case it’s actually very likely I will be called up to fight. Everyone should play their part in the war effort, if and when they are asked to. I know for sure that Ukrainian men with war experience are actually joining the army to fight for their country even without being called up.”

Following Kalush Orchestra’s victory, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy vowed that next year’s song contest will be held in Mariupol, which is almost entirely in Russian hands at present.

Sam Ryder came second at Eurovision 2022 with his track ‘Space Man’. It marked the UK’s highest-scoring result in the competition, with the singer receiving a hefty 466 points overall.

“Thank you all for blazing with love, positivity and kindness throughout this wild and euphoric experience,” Ryder wrote after the final. “We completely felt your support and we so deeply appreciated it. Huge love to @kalush.official for bringing it home for glorious Ukraine!!!”