Organisers of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest are still hoping to put on a live show in front of an audience of thousands despite the prospect of an extended lockdown.
The event was cancelled for the first time in its history last year because of the coronavirus outbreak, but it will go ahead in Rotterdam’s Ahoy arena in May.
Organisers came up with four possible scenarios for this year’s competition in January, but have already ruled out holding an unrestricted show in front of 16,500 spectators.
A ‘socially distanced’ event is the preferred option, with all 41 acts performing live in Rotterdam and an audience of up to 80% capacity.
If more stringent conditions apply the alternatives are a ‘travel restricted’ version, with performances being streamed into the arena and a limited number of associated events in the city, and a ‘lockdown’ edition with no side events and only the hosts in the arena.
Executive supervisor Martin Österdahl said: ‘The Eurovision Song Contest will definitely make its welcome return this May despite the pandemic but, in the prevailing circumstances, it is regrettably impossible to hold the event in the way we are used to.
‘We very much hope to be able to gather in Rotterdam in May and will do all we can in the coming weeks to achieve this.’
Sietse Bakker, executive producer for the Dutch broadcasting service NOS, said he wanted to put on ‘the best possible Eurovision Song Contest under the circumstances.’
‘Our primary goal is to get the 41 artists to Rotterdam, to all perform on the same stage, and to welcome journalists to cover the contest,’ he said.
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