Earlier this month, Eurovision 2021 organisers “reaffirmed” their desire to host this year’s contest under “Scenario B” conditions. In brief, that would mean that all participants will perform on stage in Rotterdam with the potential for a limited live audience. And once again, a spokesperson has told the ANP news agency that Eurovision with an audience is still on the table. However, the current situation in the Netherlands won’t offer much hope to fans eager to attend.
Eurovision 2021 organisers say live audience still an option
The statement to ANP begins, “the Eurovision Song Contest will continue in the second half of May, with at least three TV shows and possibly adapted activities in the city”. According to RTL Nieuws, the EBU and host broadcasters are maintaining regular contact with the municipality of Rotterdam and Fieldlab Events about organising the contest responsibly. Fieldlab Events the body behind the organisation of the government pilot events.
The spokesperson continues, “The Eurovision Song Contest is a valuable opportunity for the event industry to gain even more insight into how to safely organize events in the coming months. That is also in line with the National Event Plan, in which the Eurovision Song Contest is an intermediate step on that route.”
While organisers intend to make a final call in the coming weeks, the local situation in the Netherlands does not look hopeful.
Earlier this week, the country saw its biggest single-day increase in new Covid cases since January. The country’s public health authorities have repeatedly warned that a new wave of infections is coming. This is down to the rise of new variants of the virus.
The situation in the Netherlands
Live events with an audience are generally not allowed under the local “Level 4” restrictions which are currently in place in the Netherlands. Right now, the demissionary government is aiming for the first events with an audience to take place from July. At the time of writing, there are no official restrictions planned beyond mid-April — hence why the Eurovision 2021 organisers are still a little bit optimistic about there being some sort of audience.
None of the FieldLab Events directed at Dutch nationals turned out to be fully COVID-proof. These events were used for research purposes. The largest one had an audience of 1,500.
Over the weekend a music festival took place in the Netherlands despite the country being under lockdown. It was part of the experiment to see if large-scale social events can be re-started without increasing the spread of the virus. Guests had to provide a negative Covid test and wear sensors to track their interactions. You can watch the BBC report on the event below.
Additional reporting by Renske