The Eurovision Song Contest is finding its voice once again in the form of a free-to-all ‘online village’ open to fans of the singing competition for one week only from May 15-23.A chance for the contest to reconnect with audiences after a year off due to Covid-19, the initiative boasts a series of live concerts from artists such as Johnny Logan and DJ Afrojack, as well as the opportunity to remotely explore the 2021 host city of Rotterdam.
What is the Online Eurovision Village?
In the absence of an in-person gathering, organizers of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021 have been forced to think creatively about new ways of bringing people together safely.
That process has given birth to a digital festival that will bring a flavor of the kitsch jamboree to audiences stuck at home, with a virtual party where everyone can enjoy a VIP front-row seat.
Commenting on a Eurovision Song Contest like no other, executive supervisor Martin Österdahl said: “We’re excited that the city of Rotterdam is breaking new ground this year with the creation of a virtual Eurovision Village. Opening up this online space means Eurovision fans from across the world can all be in Rotterdam to share the fun and excitement as we bring the Eurovision Song Contest back. The village is a tribute to the creativity of the host city and their motto ‘Make It Happen’.”
A contest like no other
Making the most of a bad situation, the format change is being touted as an opportunity to showcase the city of Rotterdam to far-flung audiences the world over.
This follows the cancellation of Eurovision 2020 after the ravages of the global pandemic made hosting the live event in Rotterdam last year impossible.
Eurovision staples such as bloc voting, tongue-in-cheek commentary and cheesy performances are likely to survive the transition unscathed.
Who is making the magic happen?
The virtual village has been made possible courtesy of digital content, such as a 3D map of Rotterdam, provided by Rotterdam Festivals, entertainment agency Tribe Company and DEPT digital agency.
Renske Satijn, director of Rotterdam Festivals, added: “Now that the world can’t come to Rotterdam, we will bring Rotterdam to the world! This idea inspired us to build this unique platform. I am incredibly proud of the fact that we have built the world’s first-ever Online Eurovision Village.”
Last year Jon Ola Sand, the former executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, told The Drum how a new format has risen from the ashes of 2020, ensuring artists and audiences can keep the party going even in times of crisis.
That process has seen organizers amp up their social media presence with archived material and local competitions to engage with a loyal fan base.