Scores of jubilant fans descended upon the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, in Rotterdam, as they geared up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest.
After more than a week of rehearsals, two semifinals and 53,000 Covid tests for fans, staff and performers, the Eurovision Song Contest that was canceled last year because of the pandemic will go live tonight in front of 3,500 fans and a global television audience.
This year’s theme is ‘Open Up’, and the Dutch government-backed coronavirus restrictions could be a model for events like Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics as the world slowly emerges from lockdown. .’
The scenes come after Eurovision Song Contest bosses banned alcohol from being consumed at the upcoming final in Rotterdam.
Crowds of Eurovision fans waved their flags in the air and beamed with excitement as they flocked to the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands ahead of the upcoming final tonight
Fans donned flags across their shoulders as they flocked to the socially-distanced venue in the Netherlands ahead of the upcoming final
The scenes after Eurovision Song Contest bosses reportedly banned alcohol from being consumed at the upcoming final in Rotterdam
A group of fans pose for photo as they arrive to the socially-distanced venue ahead of the highly-anticipated final tonight
Those in charge of the highly-anticipated event in the Netherlands have taken the decision to prohibit drinking at all hotels and venues taking part in this year’s competition.
Speaking outside the arena, one fan, Saskia Scharree, 51, said: ‘I think it’s the beginning of a new start. When something as big as this happens in Holland, you’re going to join in.’
Meanwhile Finnish fan Oona Sainio, 27, said she and her family had come to soak up the atmosphere despite not having tickets.
She said: ‘We’re big Eurovision fans and we wanted to be close to the action.’
Earlier this week, a member of Iceland’s group of their tested positive for coronavirus meaning they will not be able to perform live on Saturday.
According to reports, organisers felt that allowing drinking would risk spreading the disease, and could impact strict social distancing measures that are in place.
A source in Rotterdam told The Sun: ‘The decision to ban alcohol has gone down like a lead balloon. There were already strict social-distancing measures in place.
‘Having a drink was at least one enjoyable part of being out here – but now that’s gone too.
‘Lots of the artists are absolutely furious that this has happened. They don’t believe the virus incident in the Icelandic team had anything to do with alcohol being consumed.’
The decision has reportedly sparked anger among some performers, with the Russian team making a complaint.
Before the decision, contestants and staff could drink alcohol at designated venues and hotels until midnight.
Those in charge of the highly-anticipated event in the Netherlands have taken the decision to prohibit drinking at all hotels and venues taking part in this year’s competition
Fans wait in queues and have their tickets checked as they arrive to the Eurovision song contest in the Netherlands
A fan poses for a picture as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena, in Rotterdam, and gear up for the 65th annual Eurovision Song Contest tonight
Fans carry their flags and wear face masks as they arrive to the Rotterdam Ahoy arena and prepare for the final
This week, Iceland’s Daði og Gagnamagnið star Daði Freyr admitted that his group, one of the favourites to win the competition, were ‘disappointed’ after being forced to pull out of the competition after a member tested positive for Covid-19.
Speaking on Friday’s episode of Lorraine, the musician, 28, said that they are trying to ‘make the best’ of the situation as they remain in the hotel.
It came after 2019 Eurovision Song Contest winner Duncan Laurence tested positive for coronavirus and will also be unable to perform live at Saturday’s grand final in Rotterdam.
Daði explained their decision not to perform without their sixth member Jóhann Sigurður Jóhannsson, who tested positive, as it ‘doesn’t really work’.
He said: ‘The song is written for the band as a six member thing and the performance, the song is written for the performance, one member missing doesn’t really work.’
An artist performs on stage at The Clapham Grand night club in London as thousands of music fans prepare to watch the final