The Covid-19 virus has paused large-scale events in countries around the world. But now the Dutch government has tentatively agreed to trial large live events. The project will see if it’s possible to host events with larger audiences and minimise coronavirus transmission.
Dutch broadcaster NOS reports that State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate, Mona Keijzer, has tentatively approved the trial events — but only in regions of the Netherlands where the Covid risk is at Level 1. However, currently all regions of the Netherlands are at either Level 3 (serious) or Level 4 (severe).
But when the right conditions are met, there are plans to hold a test music concert event in the Amsterdam venue Ziggo Dome. Organisers are aiming to begin in January.
The Back to Live project is the initiative of Fieldlab Events — an organisation involving the Dutch events sector in collaboration with the Dutch government.
Fieldlab spokesperson Tim Boersma told NOS, “We are working with the organisers on a safe pop concert and dance event. With, as it looks now, 1300 people.”
A concert of bubbles
The concertgoers will be separated into five different “bubbles” — smaller sections with a maximum of 250 people each. The bubbles will be kept apart and will not come into contact with people in other bubbles. Each bubble will even have their own bar and own toilet facilities.
Prior to the event, the concert attendees will likely be required to show proof of a recent negative Covid-19 test and undergo a temperature check or rapid test at the entrance.
After the concert, attendees must avoid contact with at-risk groups for two weeks.
As well as trialling the indoor music event, there are also plans to trial events such as football matches, outdoor concerts and theatre events.
Will the trials relate to Eurovision Scenarios B and C?
While Eurovision 2021 isn’t specifically mentioned in relation to the trials, the project does seem to reflect the proposed Eurovision set-up of Scenarios B and C.
In those situations, the Rotterdam Ahoy would have a live audience, but the audience would be required to observe social distancing. It would also mean that delegations would be smaller than usual. Scenario C also provides for some delegations to stay home and participate via a pre-recorded performance, similar to the set-up of Junior Eurovision 2020.
The Back to Live concert trial could indicate how a live audience under scenario B or C show might be organised. The trial audience of 1300 people is considerably less than Ahoy Rotterdam’s maximum capacity of 16,426.
The EBU has previously said that the feasibility of Scenario A — the usual full-size Eurovision show and audience — “largely depends on the roll-out of a possible vaccine for Covid-19 or the availability of reliable testing.” While there have been recent promising developments in the search for a Covid-19 vaccine, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment have said it will take at least one year to vaccinate the whole of the Netherlands.
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