The Director of the Teatro Ariston has stated that the 2021 edition of the Sanremo Music Festival may not be held in February, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The theatre has been home to the annual musical festival since 1977. The winner of the Sanremo festival gets first refusal of the Italian ticket to Eurovision.
The municipality of Sanremo and Italian broadcaster Rai are already considering options for the running of the festival. Alternative options include moving the event to a new venue. The last time that Sanremo was not held in the Teatro Ariston was in 1990.
“Nobody doubts” that it takes place
Alberto Biancheri, the Mayor of the Sanremo Music Festival, has reassured fans that the competition will take place.
Nobody doubts that the 2021 Festival takes place and that it takes place in the only place where it is possible, Sanremo. These are the starting points.– Alberto Biancheri, Sanremo director
However, Walter Vacchino, the director of the Teatro Ariston, has not ruled out postponing the festival to a later date.
We need a wide reflection. If the date of early February does not allow you to do a festival with lights, spangles and everything else, then it may be that you think of moving it forward one or two months.– Walter Vacchino, Teatro Ariston director
A plan “that I don’t even want to consider”
Talking about alternatives to postponing the festival, Vacchino mentioned moving the festival to another venue. He even suggested the possible cancellation of the annual music competition, which inspired the creation of the Eurovision Song Contest.
The other hypothesis, the more optimistic one, is that in early February the situation is such as to allow, in compliance with certain rules, to enjoy the show in any other theatre. There is one last hypothesis that I don’t even want to consider…– Walter Vacchino, Teatro Ariston director
The possible postponement or cancellation of Sanremo may mean that Italy will have to select their Eurovision act via a different method in 2021. It could also open up a path for their 2020 act, Diodato, to be internally selected to return next year.
Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest
Italy were amongst the seven countries that took part in the inaugural Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Before their first win, Italy scored two third place finishes in 1958 and 1963. Italy’s first win came in 1964 with Gigliola Cinquetti’s “Non ho l’età” in 1964 which won the contest in Copenhagen with 49 points. Their next top three didn’t come until 1974 – again with Gigliola Cinquetti. “Si” finished in 2nd place, behind Sweden’s ABBA.
In 1990, Toto Cutugno became Italy’s second, and most recent, winner with “Insieme: 1992”. It won the contest with 149 points. Italy took part a further 4 times in the 1990s, before taking a 13-year break from the contest from 1998 to 2010.
They returned to the contest in 2011 and has since finished in the top three on three occasions – 2nd in 2011, 3rd in 2015 and 2nd in 2019. Diodato was selected to represent Italy in 2020 with “Fai rumore” before the contest was cancelled.
Do you hope Sanremo takes place in its normal February slot? Would you like to see Italy use another selection method for 2021?
Let us know in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.