Will there be a Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with an audience or without? This will be decided on April 28th 2021.
The Fieldlab Events organization, a Dutch company that experiments with large- and small-scale events to see what the possibilities are for now and in the future when itcomes down to the COVID-19 pandemic, will hear on this date whether the Eurovision 2021 Fieldlab gets the green light by the Dutch government. The government of the Netherlands has decided that the experiments will not take place when there are more than 900 intensive care beds occupied in the Netherlands. On Thursday April 22nd 2021 the Dutch corona dashboard stated that there are 839 intensive care bed occupied. So, what is eventually going to happen will be exciting until Wednesday the 28th of April.
“Every day at 15:20 I almost do not dare to look at the Dutch corona dashboard. Not only because of the Eurovision Song Contest, but also because all the Dutch are very concerned about the state our country is in because of the COVID-19 crisis. There are alleviations, for which we are all grateful, but in the upcoming days we still need to hope for the best.”– Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021
3,500 spectators per show
In the best case scenario 3,500 spectators per show are allowed under very strict COVID-19 rules and regulations, but in this regard the number of occupied intensive care beds in the Netherlands should not rise. On Thursday April 22nd 2021 there were 839 intensive care beds occupied, and there are 5 days until a final decision about spectators during the Contest will be made. Other Fieldlab experiments, of which one was the 538 Oranjedag, an outdoor pre-King’s Day celebration with 10,000 people in the Dutch city of Breda, was cancelled because it faced huge public backlash in the Netherlands.
“I do get the discussion, especially when there is a Fieldlab experiment with 10,000 people at once which stand close to each and walk around on a large square. Our plans for the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 are significantly different. We need to pay good attention in the upcoming days and weeks before the contest. How is the crisis situation in the Netherlands going to develop, especially when it comes down to healthcare? We will only allow spectators when the situation is safe for an audience to be involved during this year’s contest.”– Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021
Possible public backlash
Why there was public backlash before the 538 Oranjedag with 10,000 people outdoor could take place, and why there seems to be none when it comes down to the 9 shows of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 with 3,500 spectators is unknown for now. The lessons learned from 9 previous Fieldlab experiments is very valuable. These experiments are meant to open up the Netherlands again after more than a year of social and economic crisis due to COVID-19. The Netherlands and the rest of the world are not out of the crisis just yet. In this regard, the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 seems to be a bit of much needed relief, a thing we all need and can benefit from these days.