Thunder and lightning, it’s getting exciting! The Rotterdam Ahoy is gearing up in full steam for the forthcoming 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.
The Rotterdam Ahoy with its 50 years history has hosted numerous events and show, but none of them have been as as big as the Eurovision Song Contes. Last Sunday the kick-off was given to the biggest event ever to be held in the venue which will entail almost three weeks of construction and building, 24/7, with hundred of people working round the clock in order to construct the epic Eurovision stage and Green Room in the venue.
Last Sunday saw the Ahoy ‘s CEO Jolanda Jansen and Sietse Bakker (Eurovision 2021 Executive Producer) opening the door of a truck that was transporting dozens of equipment material.
Jolanda Jansen and Sietse Bakker made a symbolic kick-off last Sunday as in reality the first trucks had already entered Ahoy earlier in the morning. Sunday saw a total of 42 trucks arrived at the Ahoy according Erwin Rintjema (Head of Production Eurovision 2021). Everything that arrived last Sunday was destined for the roof.
The numbers show how big the Eurovision Song Contest is. For the largest productions, there are about 250 “lifting points” in the roof where items can be hoisted up.
Erwin Rintjema commented last Sunday :
There will be six hundred. There will be 190 tons of weight on the roof, which is unprecedented. This includes two thousand lamps, but also video screens and speaker systems. Today we have about 250 people at lunch, that’s a quiet kick-off.
The number of men and women walking around and setting up the stage at the Ahoy will double in the coming days, all with a face mask, a yellow or orange vest and a helmet with the Eurovision imprint.
They will work for just under three weeks to hold the first technical rehearsals at the end of April. From May 8, the acts are set to grace the stage in order to kick off their rehearsals for the semi-finals (May 18 and 20) and the Grand Final on May 22.
For the time being, 3,500 spectators will be allowed to attend each show. They will be seated in the stands, the arena floor will be reserved for employees and artists.
The Green Room
The Green Room will be located in front of the stage, where the participants willl wait for the results after their performance.
Sietse Bakker (Eurovision 2021 Executive Producer) adds:
They will provide the typical Eurovision atmosphere with flags.
If there is no audience, a curtain will cover the tiers
The audience will be seated in the seats on the tier. If at the end of April, when the stage is ready, the situation regarding the COVID 19 pandemic worsens and if we have no audience in the hall, the organization has a solution, a light curtain will hang over the stands.
Lamps will be hung from the first tribunal, which in that case will shine straight across the hall, so that you no longer see empty seats.
For the time being, visitors are welcome, they can have themselves tested anywhere in the country beforehand. For employees and accredited press, there is a special tent camp next to Ahoy with a separate corona test street, where besides cotton swabs, a breathalyzer is also used. The staff is tested there every two days.
Biggest stage ever built at Ahoy
Eventhough it will take a few weeks for the stage to be completed, it already feels like D-day for Jolanda Jansen from Ahoy:
We’ve all been so looking forward to this! I thought back to a year ago yesterday, when we should have had trucks and the press in the hall, we had an emergency hospital instead. On the floor where the stage will be set up, we had a tent with bedding and medical equipment.
That image will soon be pushed far into the background when the stage is there. It is 52 meters wide, which does not even fit in the Ahoy arena.
Jansen goes on to add:
That is why we have to build of the over the stands. We have had North Sea Jazz, the World Cup gymnastics, World Cup short track, MTV Awards, Friends of Amstel Live and the Tour start, but this beats everything. For almost seven weeks we will have people working in hall who are busy with the organization, we will have the largest stage ever at the Ahoy.
The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest is scheduled on 18, 20 and 22 May at the Rotterdam Ahoy in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Photo credit: Nathan Reinds/ AVROTROS/ NOS/NPO/eurovision.tv