Eurovision Song Contest can go ahead with live audience as test event
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Eurovision Song Contest can go ahead with live audience as test event

Credit: Rotterdam Ahoy/ Eurovision.tv

The Eurovision Song Contest, which was planned to take place next month in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, will be going ahead as a test event with an audience of 3,500 people per night, who will be tested for the coronavirus beforehand.

The organiser of the annual festival, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), has welcomed the decision from the Dutch government that, if circumstances allow, fans can attend the event in person.

“We will consider the options available now and announce more details in the coming weeks on how we can safely admit audiences to the Ahoy venue in Rotterdam should the situation allow. The health and safety of all those attending the event remain our top priority,” Martin Österdahl, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, said in a statement.

The Dutch government decided to use the contest, which is expected to take place on 18, 20, and 22 May this year, as a test event, which will help it understand how larger events with an audience can safely take place during this health crisis.

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During nine nights in total – three nights of recording as well as the rehearsals before the event – a maximum of 3,500 people, half of the usual audience, will be able to attend the event if they have recently been tested negative for the coronavirus.

However, the final decision will be made at the end of April, as the Dutch government is closely monitoring the developments of the virus. If the epidemiological conditions do not allow the event to go ahead, everyone will have to watch the contest on television.

The EBU emphasised that all delegations, artists, and production crew will be following a strict protocol and will not come in contact with potential members of the audience.

Last year, the event was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and the future of this year’s event and how it would be organised remained unclear until today. Hooverphonic will be representing Belgium with the song “The wrong place”.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times