Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS has confirmed that the country’s national final for Junior Eurovision 2020 will be held in the Rotterdam Ahoy arena. But while Junior Songfestival 2020 will be held in the Eurovision 2021 venue, it will come with coronavirus precautions. The arena audience will be limited to only family members of the competing acts.
While Rotterdam Ahoy hosted Junior Eurovision in 2007, it’s the first time it’s been used for the Dutch national final. In recent years, Junior Songfestival has been hosted at Theater Hanzehof in the city of Zutphen.
But it won’t be an ordinary national final. AVROTROS has confirmed that the show will not have a public audience. Due to coronavirus precautions, the only people able to watch the show from the Ahoy audience will be family members of the competing artists.
AVROTROS says it would be “irresponsible to have so many children from all over the Netherlands come together singing, dancing and screaming”.
The Dutch national final is due to take place on 26 September.
The Netherlands eases coronavirus event restrictions
Earlier this month, the Dutch government confirmed it would be relaxing coronavirus restrictions on live events. Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that earlier restrictions on concert venues will be loosened, but social distancing rules will remain in place until further notice.
The new measures will come into effect tomorrow, 1 July. And while venues such as Ahoy Rotterdam will be able to reopen, they must still adhere to strict measures:
- All attendees must do a pre-check confirming that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. This is a questionnaire, not an actual test for coronavirus.
- All attendees have to be seated and remain seated for the duration of the event.
- A distance of 1.5 metres is required between each attendee. This is also the case for families and people living in a common household.
- Attendees are not allowed to scream, shout or sing loudly during the event. This rule is also in force in football stadiums and places of worship. Only those on stage are allowed to perform, and they must maintain distance from each other.
It’s understandable that an event aimed at children would find it easier to go ahead without a live audience rather than attempting to get an arena full of youngsters to adhere to all the rules.
While the new rules come into effect on 1 July, it’s impossible to say if they will still be in effect by the time Eurovision 2021 comes around in May 2021. The pandemic is unpredictable. However, both Mark Rutte and Hugo de Jonge underlined that they do not expect to return to a stricter lockdown as long as people adhere to the rules.
Junior Eurovision 2020 scales down
Junior Eurovision 2020 will also be scaled down. After earlier rumours that it would be hosted at Poland’s Tauron Arena in Kraków, the host city was confirmed as the Polish capital Warsaw, with the event held at an as-yet-unnamed large television studio. The Polish government currently has a ban on indoor events with an audience of more than 500 people.
Junior Eurovision 2020 is due to be held on 29 November 2020.
What do you think? Will Junior Songfestival 2020 work without a large audience? Would Eurovision 2021 suit having only family members in the audience? Tell us your thoughts below!