It’s the iconic national final known for its six-city tour of Sweden every year. But the tour could be over for Melodifestivalen 2021. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, broadcaster SVT is reportedly considering a different format for the series – it would be filmed entirely in Stockholm with no live audience.

According to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, their well-placed sources claim SVT is working on different contingency plans for the music festival. The alternative scenarios involve scrapping the usual Melfest tour and instead filming all six shows in a single venue in Stockholm.

The six Melodifestivalen shows are normally held in different locations around Sweden, including venues in both large metropolitan areas as well as smaller regional towns. The grand final traditionally takes place at Stockholm’s Friends Arena, in front of a live audience of around 30,000 people.

However, since late March, the Swedish government has banned all public gatherings of more than 50 people — which includes events like Melodifestivalen.

Even if restrictions were to be lifted in the future, Aftonbladet‘s sources say that SVT is concerned that the usual arena format may cause the virus to be spread and that the broadcaster may face negative public scrutiny. And, as one source says, “I have a very hard time seeing that they will be able to sell tickets for an arena tour.”

The paper’s sources say there is no plan to change the format of the contest, with the usual four semi-finals, andra chansen second-chance round and grand final. Instead all six shows would be filmed in a smaller Stockholm venue.

Small venue, big dreams

A source claims that SVT aren’t considering using one of their own studios. They’re thinking big and want to be able to build a full-size Melodifestivalen stage to give performers and viewers the usual experience.

Two potential locations have been suggested. The first is NEP Studios in Stockholm, where Swedish Idol is usually filmed. The venue is the largest television studio in Sweden and can accommodate an audience of 1,600. The show could be filmed with a small audience, but if restrictions are relaxed, a larger audience could be used.

The other potential venue is the Annex hall of Globe Arena. At Eurovision 2016, the Annex was used as the area for delegations. The Annex has a concert capacity of 3,950.

It will still feel “very luxurious and expensive”

Aftonbladet‘s source also says that even if the show venues are downscaled, Melfest 2021 will still have the same high production standards. The source said, “They say that it should still feel very luxurious and expensive.”

Another source says it will be no problem for SVT to produce a high-quality show, noting that Melodifestivalen ticket sales do not normally fund the stage production. But they note that holding the show without an audience won’t have the same feeling.

As the Melodifestivalen shows are regularly among the most popular Swedish television shows every year, it’s understandable that SVT would want to retain as much of the Melodifestivalen spirit as possible.

Aftonbladet says that it is not clear if SVT has committed to ditching the Melodifestivalen tour yet. A source says the broadcaster will need to have made a decision by September.

In the past, SVT has announced the venues for upcoming editions of Melodifestivalen in mid-September, however the 2020 locations were confirmed in late August 2019.

A spokesperson from SVT told the newspaper, “It is far too early to say anything about the tour in 2021. The editors will start work again next week. We will come back later.”

What do you think? Will Melodifestivalen be the same if it’s held in a TV studio? Tell us your thoughts below!

Read more Melodifestivalen 2021 news here

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Nick
Nick
1 month ago

sorry for the off topic but what happened with Khayat’ family in Beirut? he is currently there and saying that his family suffered from the explosion….

Kosey
Kosey
1 month ago

I’m worried. Football has taught us that live entertainment without a crowd is a significantly less enjoyable experience. I think we must have some sort of live Eurovision season next year but I don’t think it is going to be any good unfortunately.

Marc
Marc
1 month ago
Reply to  Kosey

It is what it is. I still enjoy footall and I’m glad we could see the whole season done in my country. And can’t wait for Champions League in Portugal. Same for next Eurovision and national festivals.

HarpyDarper
HarpyDarper
1 month ago

I know Melodifestival is big, but it still boggles my mind seeing that enormous crowd there on the top pic! Like even Globen is considered too small for it, such is the hunger to be there! Has anyone been to the final? How is the atmosphere usually, even far back?

I used to live in the Netherlands and always dreamed about seeing the contest come to Rotterdam and to go there again- but I’m doubting a normal “big” show (and festivites outside) still won’t be possible next May- what does everyone think?

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

Impossible to know but I think that as of now, it is highly unlikely to have a normal “big” show come May 2021. With people going there from many countries plus international travel – the risk of infecting others would be high *unless* all participating countries keep the infection rate very low. It’s all a game of possibilties but let’s remember that each country makes its own rules. There are so many variables. Controling the outcome is much easier when organizing a contest at a smaller scale.

Last edited 1 month ago by Una
JamesC
JamesC
1 month ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

I’m from Australia and went over this year for Mello and Eurovision. Didn’t get to Eurovision of course but still got to go to the final of Melfest in Stockholm. It was seriously awesome to see the hype and excitement around Stockholm, all the shops in the shopping mall next to Friends Arena were decorated.

Everyone was dressed up with signs and it was so awesome to experience first hand. I also scored front row tickets so turning around to see the massive crowd was insane.

Diana
Diana
1 month ago
Reply to  HarpyDarper

I live near the Finale arena and have been there once. It it HUGE. Usually only half of the stadium is used and that itself is bigger than most arenas in Scandinavia. Visually, it’s very beautiful but the acoustics used to lack. It is better now but I went to the finale in 2015 and the acoustics where very bad from where I sat at the far back. I went to the Beyoncé concert in 2018 and had the same seats and the acoustics were much better that time.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Diana

The acoustics all depend on the skill of the audio technicians being used. Beyoncé had the best, but maybe the next concert you attend there it’ll be back to bad. A global tour like Beyoncé’s, with plenty of $$$, is more likely to have good acoustics than a single television event.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
1 month ago

I want luxurious song material.

Una
Una
1 month ago

Yes!!

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 month ago

I expected a comment like this 😀 Even if I’m neither from Sweden nor a big fan of their “male pop entry series” 2017-2019 (Frans 2016 was cute though), I’m getting a bit tired tbh. If we’re talking about lack of diversity: I don’t want a Swedish Vidbir or Beovizija, cause we already have these shows for Eurovision fans who are into national languages, avantgardistic and “diverse” performances. Just give me a bit of good English pop from Sweden please 😀

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
1 month ago
Reply to  ESCFan2009

Good English pop from Sweden is luxurious song material. I want that, too. But it doesn’t often make it to Melodifestivalen. 😉 And frankly, I don’t even want the Serbian Beovizija anymore because it refuses me the typical Balkan ballads that could win Eurovision.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
1 month ago

Also, I like Swedish male pop entries. Just not those that won from 2017 to 2019. But at least Robin looked good, 2018 was a complete bust.

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
1 month ago

Also: ‘…but I’m not sorry, no.’ 😉

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
1 month ago

“‘Cause you’re the devil in disguise?” 😀 No, I know, I can be sometimes the devil, when I play the advocator for English mainstream pop in Eurovision, but I can also love native languages, if the package is entertaining enough to overcome the problem of understanding the lyrics at first listen without reading. Just give me some Erika Vikman sass 😀

Marc
Marc
1 month ago
Reply to  ESCFan2009

Check the Swedish charts. They don’t have that much English pop. Swedish language really dominate.

cats and dogs eurovision
cats and dogs eurovision
1 month ago

Eurovision isn’t far away from the Melodifestivalen final.. I’m so tensed if (respectively how) the ESC is going to happen..

Una
Una
1 month ago

I personally would not mind a show without audience. Better have a show with no audience than no show at all. Bring on the Melodiefestivalen tour with no audience. A test at a smaller scale of how ESC with no audience could be. It’s a pragmatic approach. I salute STV’s initiative – hopefully they could go ahead with this.

Fly by
Fly by
1 month ago

So sad that esc itself will have to make changes and then the question is : Why 2020 had to be canceled?

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
1 month ago

So I guess this means that if coronavirus is still an issue next year, Eurovision 2021 won’t get cancelled and will instead be held in an empty arena with no audience?

Fly by
Fly by
1 month ago
Reply to  ESCFanGA

I can’t stop thinking , what bad luck for one of the richest hosts.

Esc2021rotterdam
Esc2021rotterdam
1 month ago

Oh god, it’s going to be tragic for Rotterdam if at the end, they host a scaled down eurovision after waiting fucking 44 years to win and a cancellation a year before. I pray to God that everything will be ok in a few months that Rotterdam will host the most amazing and strongest eurovision ever.

Una
Una
1 month ago

It makes total sense. But still, the complaints about the song rule …

ESCFanGA
ESCFanGA
1 month ago

I don’t really care that much about the format as long as Melodifestivalen 2021 is still taking place.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
1 month ago

So much needless negativity on this thread.

Oxford say they are confident we will have a vaccine by Christmas. The WHO may disagree but they’ve yet to get anything right during this crisis, remember when they said it wasn’t transferable between humans?

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

It’s not negative to be cautious. It’s responsible.

ESC8
ESC8
1 month ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

I want to be optimistic as well and I do believe that we are going to have a vaccine in early 2021, but even in that case it is impossible to have everyone in Sweden vaccinated until Melfest starts. Besides, planning an event of that scale starts quite early, and for now I think that it’s impossible to schedule a contest with live audience like the previous years. It won’t be the same but at least we are getting Melfest 2021, even wihout audience. I think this is a small price to pay. I believe that this will be the… Read more »

Cocooo
Cocooo
1 month ago

One of the good things with having only one venue is that SVT can put some extra effort on the stage, making it bigger and more versatile. As of now, the stages often tend to become very limited because of the arena-tours where they have to build and dismantle it every week.

Denis
Denis
1 month ago

By next year the restrictions will most likely be lifted, I can’t see it going past autumn. Some lighter stuff will probably open to audience this autumn. I think we have to wait and see how Idol does it, they are still scheduled to do business as usual. If it works for them it should work for Mello too..
Should be mentioned that Mello is still planning to do it as usual, this is just alternative plans

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago
Reply to  Denis

That’s very optimistic. There’s likely to be a second/third wave, mixed in with winter flu. A Covid-20 is possible. The more things get back to normal, the more careless people will become – which only increases the chances of a surge. A vaccine is still far off. It’s not over yet. Even if they go ahead with their usual plans, they will for sure need a Plan B that will likely need to be used. I hope I’m wrong.

Denis
Denis
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

A second wave won’t be as as hard-hitting as the first one though, it rarely is, if the predictions are correct. More clusters than an actual outbreak.Therefore some restrictions might be lifted. This has been hinted at by our experts. Also it has been suggested that the virus will be more seasonal based, making it a virus like others.
I honestly think we all jus need to learn to live with the virus, it is here to stay. You can’t restrict, ban gatherings movements and travel for an unforeseen time being

El3a
El3a
1 month ago
Reply to  Denis

We may see an increase of cases at the winter ( if not more) though this maybe because people won’t be able to differentiate with the flu

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  Denis

I am afraid that the virus could mutate. Is there a possibility for that to happen?

Cameron
Cameron
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

The vaccine here (UK) actually is starting production and should be ready by Christmas so isn’t actually that far off

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
1 month ago

Injections with disinfectant. I know a reliable guy in high places who swears it’s the next big thing.

Denis
Denis
1 month ago

It has been hinted by government and experts that some restrictions might be lifted, while still being cautious. Like small scale events and so. Of course nothing is confirmed and the restrictions still stand so we have to wait and see

yakakus
yakakus
1 month ago

A normal Mello won’t happen next year, that’s a fact. I’m also concerned about next years contest. Australia are considering a ban on outside travel until 2021, which would leave an Australian contestant out of the game. I’m anxious to see if other countries follow, and if they do, a “normal” Eurovision won’t happen in 2021.

Una
Una
1 month ago
Reply to  yakakus

Australia has restrictions even for imports (almost everything that has to animal and non-animal agriculture) because of the geographical isolation. Putting restrictions on human travel makes sense. Large country, small population, in the even when the economy gets smaller, there are less resources for health too. So yes, they would do the right thing. Being in Eurovision is not something that anyone should consider essential.

Jonas
Jonas
1 month ago

It’s impossible to have a normal Melodifestivalen next year. That’s a fact that everybody needs to accept.

Catriona Colville
Catriona Colville
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonas

It’s not a fact. Everything is changing in a daily basis. We have no idea how the state of things will be. A crowd may be possible in March.