Set-up for Eurovision 2021 is underway and in just a few weeks delegations will start to make their way to Rotterdam. But there is still uncertainty over whether Montaigne will be in Rotterdam — or if the Australian delegation will have to compete with their live-on-tape performance.
Eurovision 2021 Executive Producer Sietse Bakker spoke to AD.nl about the uncertainties of delegations travelling to Rotterdam in May. He noted that it is a lot easier for participating countries from within the EU.
Currently, people from outside the European Union are not able to travel to the Netherlands. However, the Dutch government can grant exemptions for professionals in the cultural and creative sectors.
Sietse Bakker confirmed that the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has granted exemptions for Eurovision participants. He said, “That means that for the time being, we expect that almost all delegations will be able to take the stage here.”
Will Montaigne travel to Rotterdam?
Things appear to be less certain for Australia, however. Since March last year, Australia’s international border has closed and Australian citizens are generally unable to leave the country. This is done as a way of minimising spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Sietse Bakker said, “Australia is difficult, for example, because it has fairly strict travel restrictions.” He added, “We hope to hear more soon.”
The Australian government can make exemptions — but there are strict criteria that must be met. Two potentially relevant criteria for Eurovision could be travel for work or travel that’s “in the national interest”. The Australian delegations would also need to quarantine for two weeks in a hotel upon their return to Australia, at their own expense — adding to the costs associated with their Eurovision 2021 participation.
However, as it is still possible for Australia to compete at Eurovision 2021 without physically being in Rotterdam, this may be considered “good enough” for the delegation.
Like all competing countries, Australia has already recorded a live-to-tape that can be used in competition if the delegation is unable to travel to Rotterdam in May.
Last month Montaigne was optimistic about being able to travel to Rotterdam. At the time of the launch of her song “Technicolour”, Montaigne told an Australian radio station that she was “99% sure” that the Australian delegation will be able to travel to Rotterdam in May.
She outlined the health and safety guidelines of Eurovision 2021, including regular testing. She said she’d have to get vaccinated before leaving and — like all Australians — would have to go into two weeks quarantine upon returning to Australia.
What do you think? Would the show be the same if some countries used a back-up performance instead of performing live in Rotterdam? Tell us your thoughts below!