Rising cases of Covid-19 in Italy are directly impacting operations for the 2022 Sanremo Festival, the competition that gives its winner the option of representing Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. What is certain is that the Festival will take place live on RAI from 1-5 February regardless of the Covid situation by then.
The latest health measures are in effect until (for now) 31st January, or the evening before the start of the Festival. This will impact many logistics and operational aspects of the Festival including the red carpet and rehearsals. Sanremo is located in Liguria, which is currently in the “yellow zone” meaning all parties, similar events and concerts that involve gatherings in open spaces are banned.
As a result, artists would likely be forced to spend most of their time in their hotels for safety reasons, meaning interviews and press conferences would also likely be reduced to limit everyone’s exposure to the virus. For the time being, the usual big press conference with Sanremo’s artistic director Amadeus one week before the start of the Festival is going ahead, but depending on the Covid situation later this month, that could change.
Last year, the annual Festival was pushed one month ahead to March, in the hopes that the Covid situation would be better, and while the Festival did happen (and led to Italy winning Eurovision 2021!), it was held without an audience, something the organizers of 2022’s edition are hoping to prevent at all costs. The Gran Galà della Stampa (Grand Press Gala) has already been canceled, an event usually held the evening before the start of the Sanremo Festival. Other programs that RAI puts off around the Festival are also at risk.
Also, all workers, artists, and their entourages will be required to show a valid Green Pass to gain access to the Ariston Theatre and any other event sites that have to deal with the Festival. The Italian Daily newspaper Il Secolo XIX explains how this will work.
During the rehearsals of each artist, only the representatives of the record company with special passes issued by RAI will be admitted to the Ariston, except for the first rehearsal session, during which an accredited representative of each record company will be allowed to remain in hall for rehearsals.
Both during the rehearsals and during the evenings, only one representative for each record company will be admitted in the backstage area, while the accompanying persons (seamstresses, hairdressers, make-up artists, various staff) will have access to the dressing room area in a limited number and however, only if authorized and with a pass issued by RAI.
Various alternatives are being put forward by organizers to salvage the best possible Festival for those involved and fans alike. Sanremo’s mayor Alberto Bianchieri has admitted that it won’t look like the Festivals of 2019 and 2020 with a full audience, but this year’s will not look as dire as last year – implying there will be some kind of audience for 2022.
It’s also looking like the idea of using the Orietta Berti cruise ship to host artists and guests for the Festival might happen. It would be moored off the coast of Sanremo as a way of isolating them in a safe, secure environment.
In short, the Festival itself is not at risk, however everything that revolves around the Festival hangs in the balance.