Photocredits: Roel Dijkstra Fotografie
Informing visitors, guiding delegations or accrediting (foreign) media. Without volunteers it is not possible to organize a major event like the Eurovision Song Contest. Together with the national volunteer platform EventMakers, the municipality of Rotterdam recruited and trained 650 volunteers, many of whom have been working since April 10th. On Friday, April 30th, 3 volunteers were allowed to hoist the special Eurovision Song Contest flag in SING ALONG colors at the Vlaggenparade at the Boompjes.
EventMakers selected 650 volunteers for the Eurovision Song Contest. Ingrid van Bruchem, EventMakers: 'You would think that fewer volunteers are now needed because of the corona crisis, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are fewer features that are truly audience-oriented, such as placeholders, but features have also been added. For example, there are now volunteers who have to point everyone to five feet and ensure that everyone has proof of a negative corona test.'
At full throttle
Many volunteers have been busy building Ahoy since 11 April. Van Bruchem: 'The accreditation center for the people who are present in Ahoy during the Eurovision Song Contest is already working at full speed.' There is a lot of enthusiasm among the volunteers. 'Everyone is happy that another event is going on. After a year of being mainly at home, there is finally something to look forward to.'
Left: Ingrid van Bruchem - Right: Marjoleine van Doorn-Claassen
Marjoleine van Doorn-Claassen, volunteer project director, enjoys the enthusiasm. 'They really gave us a helping hand this year. Everyone understands that this event will be different than usual. The love, the enthusiasm and the commitment. It keeps us going. Of course it is no fun just working in a bubble, having to test every time. But everyone understands the situation and is working very hard.'
'If we can organize such an event," Van Doorn-Claassen continues: 'then we can do everything. The theme of the Eurovision Song Contest fits the moment very well. We are literally going from a lockdown to Open Up. That's beautiful, isn't it?'
'We used to watch the Eurovision Song Contest with the whole family and I have fond memories of it. I still don't skip an edition, so when it became known that it would be held in my city in 2020, I immediately signed up as a volunteer. Logically it did not happen then, but fortunately it did now. I think it's really cool that I get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the biggest TV events in the world. As a viewer at home you have no idea how such a mega production comes about, but that is really impressive. In Ahoy I helped with the furnishing of the changing rooms. I have also been a runner for the production team. Then you get all kinds of chores such as picking up people or being sent out for an errand. Later on at the rehearsals I will help to prepare the stage again and again for the next performance. During the shows I am an "access assistant" and I accompany disabled people to their place in the hall. I live near Ahoy and it is no problem for me to do this next to my full-time job. My employer is very flexible and I manage my own agenda by working from home. What do I think of Jeangu Macrooy's song? Super powerful!'
'When I read on the intranet of the municipality of Rotterdam that they were looking for volunteers for the Eurovision Song Contest, I immediately responded. Not that I have anything with the Eurovision Song Contest, but with my city. It seemed great to be part of an event that puts Rotterdam on the map. And that is it! Incidentally, I get more and more with the Songfestival because of all those enthusiastic stories from the volunteers. You get to know people from all backgrounds, really inspiring. I am now assistant testing pavilion. There I check the results of the corona test. If someone is negative, I activate his or her access pass for 48 hours. On May 16 I will be given a role in the opening ceremony and during the shows in Ahoy I will be an "access assistant". I am secretly very curious about the performance of the dancers that I always give access. I am really happy that I can be there, because I don't think I will experience this again. And that I have to take a few days off for that, I don't mind at all!'
'In addition to my permanent job, I have been working as a self-employed person in the events industry for about 25 years. But due to corona there are no events and therefore no jobs. I missed it terribly, so when I read that they were looking for volunteers for the Eurovision Song Contest, I quickly registered. And I don't regret that, because this is surely a unique event to be involved in. I am a health and safety officer in Ahoy. We jokingly refer to this as "the corona police", but our work goes much further, of course. Because I not only monitor whether everyone observes the corona measures, but also whether no one walks into the arena without a helmet and work shoes. I also check whether the emergency exits are clear, whether the disinfection points are in order, you name it. In this role I will also be involved in all shows. Oh yes, and I can hoist the special Eurovision flag on the Boompjes near the Flag Parade. Quite an honor! Until now, I travel back and forth with the metro between Ahoy and The Hague, where I live. But during the shows it becomes night work and then I sleep in Rotterdam.'