First signs of change on Eurovision Island
The very first signs of change are starting to show on the run-down Refshaleøen, which in just over two months will be completely transformed into Eurovision Island.
Danish newspaper Politiken got a tour of the island with Morten Pankoke, chief of operations for project management company Host City Copenhagen.
Utilities for the tent city being created
Currently the most basic of facilities are being installed on the island, as trenches are being dug to extend sewerage, power, heat, and fiberoptic cables to the many tents that will be erected for use as backstage changing rooms, make-up rooms, three cafeterias, and a press center with a capacity of 1600 people. All of these tents will comprise an area of 15.000 square meters, about the same area as the halls themselves.
Inside the large halls, the process of cutting down three load-bearing pillars and strengthening the roof structure for the very heavy light and sound rigs is still ongoing. The very first pieces of the stage has also been transported into the venue.
The work was temporarily shut down today, as labor inspectors discovered that the lifts used to reach the heights of the halls were not using filters to filter the diesel exhaust from the engines. Those filters were installed later in the day.
Morten Pankoke remains confident in the plans. “We have an ultimate deadline and we will make it. That’s how it is.”
Escalating budget fully approved
The financial planning of the project was recently called into question, when Host City Copenhagen had to ask for extra funding, because of unforeseen challenges with the hall conversion. Removing the pillars alone ended up costing 8 million Danish kroner more than first budgeted. The Capital Region and Host City Copenhagen had already coughed up their share of the extra 13 million kroner needed. Today the City of Copenhagen followed suit and approved their share.
Additionally, the project management company had forgotten to take some fees related to construction into account, needing an extra 4,4 million kroner. Adding to that is the practical costs of maintaining the island for two weeks and directing traffic, costing an extra 925.000 kroner. These expenses fell on the city, which were also approved.
Creating a Eurovision atmosphere – and distractions
The plans call for the creation of a restaurant with a capacity of 1500 people, several bars, and a stage for musical entertainment, with music being pumped out over the island. The bumpy and broken concrete pavement will be replaced with new stiletto friendly pathways from the busses and water busses.
This is all to create a great atmosphere on the island, but also an attempt at delaying some of the 10.000 audience members from leaving the island simultaneously. According to Morten Pankoke, their biggest challenge lies in the infrastructure. The island only has one narrow entry road, aside from the water busses shuttling people in from the water side. “The preparation of the transport is what has the most uncertain factors. If one of the busses break down on the narrow stretch, we have to have a plan B, C, D, and E, but I can’t see why we shouldn’t be able to solve it,” he said to Politiken.
Architect Jes Vagnby, who joined the tour, has experience from huge events such as the Roskilde and Northside festivals in Denmark. He agrees that the infrastructure is the biggest concern. “Well, a ferry (water bus) can carry 65 people, a bus can carry about 50. So you’ll need to move a heck of a lot busses and ferries to get 10.000 people here and back, twice a day.”
(Third photo on the page, with arrows for gallery)
Photo: Martin Lehmann Source: Politiken