THE NETHERLANDS – The Eurovision Song Contest kicked off in Rotterdam. The final of the international song festival will be in the Ahoy event hall in exactly 100 days.
Mayor Aboutaleb, therefore, unveiled a large clock at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, together with the four Eurovision presenters, which is counting down to the final day on Saturday 22 May.
The kick-off was kept in the open air and because of the corona measures from the public. Yet it was a special moment, says organizer Sietse Bakker. “The Eurovision season has now officially started. From today we are looking forward to what is to come.”
“It is finally getting some colour again”, said Jan Smit shortly after the countdown moment.
Last year, the so-called key handover to the host city of the festival took place around this time, in the city hall of Rotterdam. “Then we were all still shoulder to shoulder,” says organizer Sietse Bakker. “The key has been in a safe for a while now. To mark the moment of the hundred days, the municipality of Rotterdam came up with the countdown clock.”
For Bakker and his team, the past few months were all about adjusting the plans that were already in place. “We live in a new reality, so certain plans are no longer possible. And if you have more time – as is the case now – you start asking questions about some ideas that we thought were very good at first. Almost everything has been tinkered with. last period.”
As an example Bakker mentions the design of the set: “Normally there would be 2000 fans on the floor around the stage, waving all kinds of flags. That is of course not possible in Corona time.”
The organization has therefore decided to fill the entire floor of Ahoy with the green room, which contains all participating artists. “So the set designer had to go back to the drawing board.”
The signs for a great edition of the Eurovision Song Contest are good, says Bakker. “As it stands now, all artists can come to Rotterdam. We do create bubbles around the participants and we will test a lot.”
Should there be an outbreak in one of those bubbles, the participating country will join in with a pre-recorded video clip featuring live singing.
The amount of audience in Ahoy is the greatest uncertainty, says Bakker. He hopes for relaxation.
“The government roadmap shows that for locations larger than 2000 square meters, an exception can be made in terms of the amount of public.” However, the government only makes that exception at a lower risk level. Bakker: “Then the infections have to be reduced first.” The organization will take the plunge in mid-April, based on the measures then in force.
A Eurovision song contest without an audience is also an option, although the organizer does not want to say much about it.
“We do have ideas about that, which we are now looking into.” Bakker is afraid that the event will lose some of its charms. “We want it to feel authentic. Fortunately, we should still have artists in the green room. They have to mimic the feeling of the audience a bit.”
Bakker himself is most looking forward to the announcement of all participating songs in the coming weeks.
“Then all the puzzle pieces will come together: the films, the dresses of the presenters, Jan Smit’s suit, the scoreboard, and so on.” Until then, he will also keep a finger on the pulse. “To ensure that we also do the things we do responsibly. After all, it remains a very large production”.