EDITORIAL – The public is allowed to attend the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam Ahoy in May. This confirms the organization of Eurovision 2021. The cabinet wants to organize the event as a so-called field lab, a practical test to investigate how larger events can take place in a safe and responsible manner with an audience.
At all nine shows – six rehearsals, two semifinals and the final – a maximum of 3,500 spectators can be present at a time. They must have a negative corona test result to be allowed in. 3,500 people per show is about half the number expected at a time last year.
In recent months, the organization has been working on four scenarios to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to take place. The focus was on bringing all 39 participating countries to the Netherlands, with extensive corona measures and a test program. The organization is happy with the choice of a Eurovision Song Contest with spectators.
“The fact that we now have the opportunity to open the script for a Eurovision Song Contest with an audience again is something we could only dream of,” says executive producer Sietse Bakker. “We are grateful to the cabinet and Fieldlab Events for this perspective and the confidence they give us in it.”
In the coming weeks, the organization wants to provide more clarity about the way in which the public will be received between 18 and 22 May and how ticket sales will take place. This is done in close consultation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the municipality of Rotterdam and Ahoy.
The outgoing Minister of Media, Slob, told De Telegraaf that at the end of April it will be definitively examined whether the Eurovision Song Contest can proceed responsibly in this way. If the virus takes over again, there is a possibility that viewers will have to watch the event on television. The newspaper also reports that, due to travel restrictions, only Dutch fans are welcome for the time being.
The Eurovision Song Contest should have taken place in Rotterdam last year, but due to the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, it was cancelled. There was an alternative program with entries from all participating countries. This year, singer Jeangu Macrooy is again participating on behalf of the Netherlands, this time with the song Birth of a new age.
There have been more practical tests recently. An earlier field lab was, for example, the Netherlands-Latvia match, last week, which was attended by 5000 spectators. As an experiment, festivals, conferences and cabaret performances have also been organized, with the aim of discovering how these types of events can be held corona-proof again.