Albania’s Festivali i Këngës — the festival that traditionally marks the start of the Eurovision national finals season — finally has some provisional dates. It will take place between December 17 and December 26, depending on conditions dictated by both the coronavirus pandemic and, in a huge twist, the weather. That’s because producers are going for an open-air location to help reduce the risk posed by coronavirus.
RTSH, the Albanian national broadcaster, communicated the new info in a first meeting with artists, composers and journalists. The director of the Festival, Martin Leka, revealed that, because of the pandemic, the festival will move to an outdoor location near Tirana’s Italia Square. That’s down to prevailing health advice — from the likes of the World Health Organisation — which says outdoor locations reduce the risk of transmission. Performers can have no more than seven people on stage (including the artist).
We do not yet know how the pandemic will unfold, but the weather is a bit more predictable. Tirana is a sunny capital with an average temperature between 3.2ºC and 13ºC in December.
Leka also announced key staff for this year’s festival. It will be directed by Pali Kuke, and presented by journalist Bledi Salaj and the famous Albanian actress and moderator Jonida Vokshi.
Last month, RTSH published the 26 competing artists, including familiar names like Orgesa Zaimi, Era Rusi, Mirud, and Inis Neziri.
This year, Festivali i Këngës will be a mix of returning artists such as Anxhela Peristeri, Manjolla Nallbani, Rosela Gjylbegu, Erik Lloshi and newcomers like Sardi Strugaj, Giglioala Haveriku, and Stefan Marena.
It has not been revealed whether producers will use RTSH’s orchestra or if there will be an actual audience.
Are you excited for an outdoor festival? Do you think that will impact acoustics and staging and costume? Let us know in the comments box below!