NOS, the Dutch national broadcaster, has revealed today that an audience of 3,500 spectators may attend the Eurovsion 2021 shows next May if the circumstances permit. Hence we might be heading for a Eurovision with a limited audience.
The public will be allowed to attend the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam Ahoy next May if circumstaces permit. The Dutch government would like 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.
All nine shows – six rehearsals, two semi-finals and Grand Final can accommodate a maximum of 3,500 spectators 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 ESC 2021 organizing committee has been working on four scenarios to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to continue. The focus has been on bringing all 39 participating countries to the Netherlands, with extensive corona measures and a test program.
The Eurovision 2021 committee is happy with the announcement regarding a Eurovision Song Contest with spectators if circumstances allow.
Mr. Sietse Bakker (Eurovision Song Contest 2021 Executive Supervisor) says:
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.
We are grateful to the cabinet and Fieldlab Events for this perspective and the confidence they give us in it.
The EBU has responded to the Dutch government’s announcement regarding the decision to allow an audience at the forthcoming 2021 Eurovision Song Contest if circumstances allow.
Mr. Martin Osterdahl (Eurovision Song Contest Executive Supervisor/EBU ) says:
We welcome this decision by the Dutch government and the possibility that we can invite fans to join us as we bring the Eurovision Song Contest back in May,” says Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.
We will consider the options now available and announce more details in the coming weeks on how we can safely admit audiences to the Ahoy venue in Rotterdam should the situation allow. The health and safety of all those attending the event remains our top priority.
As previously announced, all delegations, artists and production crew will be following a strict protocol and would not come in contact with potential members of the audience under any circumstances.
Rotterdam is pleased with the develoments
Mr. Alderman Kasmi (Rotterdam City Councilor) says:
This is very positive news! For the time being, we can now look forward to nine shows, where – albeit limited – audiences can attend. How nice that there are fans who can still experience the Eurovision Song Contest in Ahoy up close.
Something I actually no longer dared to hope for. I am therefore pleased that the cabinet has expressed this ambition. As a host city, Rotterdam is ready to make this possible in a safe manner, together with the EBU and the broadcasters. Now counting down to an unforgettable Eurovision Song Contest.
Clear picture in the coming weeks
In the coming weeks, the Eurovision 2021 Organizing Committe would like to shed more light and provide more clarity regarding the in which way the public will be able to attend the shows from 18- 22 May and how ticket sales will take place. This will be done in close consultation with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the municipality of Rotterdam and the Rotterdam 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.
Eurovision in Corona times
The Eurovision Song Contest should have taken place in Rotterdam last year, but it was canceled due to the worldwide outbreak of the corona virus. There was an alternative program with entries from all participating countries.
There have been more practical tests recently. An earlier field lab was, for example, the Netherlands-Latvia match, last week, which was attended by 5.000 spectators. In the past, festivals, conferences and cabaret performances have been organized by way of experiment, with the aim of discovering how these kinds of events can be held corona-proof again.
Source: EBU, NOS, NPO, AVROTROS, eurovision.tv