Shining a light on the creative industry behind the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest
The 2021 Eurovision song contest came to a spectacular finale on 22 May in Rotterdam as Italy’s band, Måneskin, won the contest and people’s hearts. The event’s theme #OpenUp was brought to life through rock and roll, a high-tech stage and flamboyant costumes, locking the attention of nearly 200 million viewers, united by their love of music.
The event’s success is a notable accomplishment for the city of Rotterdam and partners, for hosting the world's biggest television entertainment programme and ensuring 3,500 people can celebrate safely around the main stage at Ahoy.
The success of the 2021 Eurovision Song Festival demonstrates the strengths of the Netherlands as a hosting country and showcased our creative industry, especially regarding large event production and technological expertise. Organising a multifaceted event involving artists from 39 countries requires a seamless collaboration between all parties involved. And amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it became even more complicated, as everyone had to adhere to strict health and safety measures.
This year, many Dutch companies became involved in almost every aspect of the show. Their good price-quality ratio on top of an international reputation for being reliable and experienced in handling mega events, such as the Eurovision Song Contest itself made them prime candidates for the competition. Each of these companies has vast experience in delivering state-of-the-art tech solutions and together they created a magical week for Eurovision fans worldwide.
The Netherlands is home to 12,000 creative companies, 100,000 employees, including self-employed persons resulting in a joint annual turnover of about seven billion euros. That turnover fell by about 80 percent last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's Eurovision song contest marks the first international event produced since the pandemic began, showcasing the Dutch Creative Industry at its best.
The high-tech stage décor also captured the spirit of Dutch Design – minimalistic, stylish and versatile. Important qualities to have in order to accomodate the 39 different creative productions that took the stage, flowing with the mood and rhythm of their music and tv performances.
Heroes of our time
One of the most visually appealing pieces on the set is the gigantic 52 by 12 meter video wall. The impressive piece of technology was put together by the Frisian company Faber Audiovisuals. The video wall is a pivotal part on the Eurovision stage, not only because it is a dominant set piece, but also because the elements need to be adjusted in 40 seconds between consecutive performances.
The Dutch branch of NEP and United joined forces to handle registrations, including all technical facilities, crew and equipment of the three live shows at Rotterdam Ahoy. NEP also delivered the graphics and augmented reality (AR) of which the Netherlands is a pioneer. The company uses a technique involving 4 cameras that create fantasy-like interactions between singers and the virtual world. With the production of the Eurovision song contest in Rotterdam, impressive results were achieved during the Dutch opening and interval acts and the Greek song Last Dance by Dutch born pop singer Stefania, adding a special touch to the magical Eurovision universe.
We can’t forget the main stage when it comes to reliable innovation. Unbranded are veterans who fabricated the decor for Eurovision in 2015 and 2017, taking it up a notch this year in Rotterdam. Not only did they create the main stage, but also the green room, the catwalk, parts for the interval acts, as well as props for delegations on request.
The safety of everyone attending the Eurovision has always been a top priority, but even more this year. Unlimited Solutions launched a safety app called Flockey in collaboration with Guts and EY. The app allowed the organisation to follow the crowd (both the delegations and the in-venue audience) and their movement in real time during the event, creating a safer environment.
Unlike other years, the 2021 European Song Contest required a physical house as well as a digital house. Hence, the Groningen-based company Let’s Get Digital provided a virtual environment so that international journalists who were unable to travel to Rotterdam could still join a virtual press centre.
Other Netherlands-based companies that were involved were: Light-H-Art, Interstage, Ampco Flashlight, Clever Franke, De Eekhoorn, The Power Shop, Fronteer, Join the pipe and Hestex Systems Group.
A new age
The 2021 Eurovision Song Contest was a true display of connectedness and capabilities of the Dutch creative ecosystem. It brought together not only teams of performers from across Europe, but also crew members, entrepreneurs and companies. Here's a shout for everyone involved for making it happen.
As Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the event said, “We have put up an amazing spectacle. This is what we can do if we work well together. This is what can be done in Rotterdam if we put our minds to it. I am very proud of everyone.”
The Netherlands hopes to be able to host more events like this in the future. As Jeangu referred to in his song, 'a new age', kicked off by a spectacular, inclusive and memorable event that we're proud to have hosted. Let’s continue to co-create and inspire the world! See you at the next Eurovision in Italy!