Danny Damman: ‘If we can do it tomorrow, we can start right in the Ziggo Dome’

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Due to the measures surrounding the coronavirus, many venues are closed for a long time. Also all activities in the Ziggo Dome are virtually flat. Director Danny Damman: “The protocol to comply with the one-and-a-half metre society is in place, but there is constant ambiguity.”

Like many colleagues, the director had to close the Ziggo Dome. The lock only goes off for occasional television recordings, as for All You Need is Love. Because of the measures, all employees of the venue work at home and according to Damman, government support is used. “As far as they apply. The EUR 300 million for the cultural sector from the public sector and the EUR 17 million that the municipality of Amsterdam has released are intended only for the subsidised sector. We will not receive any of that. This is in contrast to many other locations in the Netherlands.”

The damage is also extensive for Ziggo Dome. “Many times larger than the cancelled or postponed concerts and events alone. We’re never going to make up for that turnover this year. And even after 1 September, the counter will continue to rise.”

There are many and great uncertainties. The only thing that is certain is that the damage to the entire sector is enormous.

According to Damman, consumer confidence has fallen to zero since Minister de Jonge indicated that as long as there is no vaccine, events cannot take place. “One day the sale of four tickets a day went to zero. No matter what date in our calendar. Besides, who dares to announce an event at all? You’ll need a lead time for ticket sales, as the majority won’t sell out in one day. That is exactly why events are often announced a year in advance.”

Regulation

Another stumbling point is the lack of uniform corona regulation in Europe for the events sector, but also for the travel sector. International artists, who may want to tour in the autumn, therefore do not know where they are going. “In which country should a tour start and when? And want to put the artists and management at risk with the purchase of material. Will they even get into Europe? There are many and great uncertainties. The only thing that is certain is that the damage to the entire sector is enormous,” says Damman.

At present, Damman and his colleagues have to sail on the emergency regulation of the municipality of Amsterdam Amstelland. “It stipulates that no meetings may take place until 31 May, in any form. That means no more than three people, no cars, but also no drive-in event.” He therefore thinks that a drive-in event, as announced at the Utrecht Fair, is prohibited according to the emergency regulation. “The announcement of this event is, in my view, a gamble. There is currently 0.0 room for any kind of entertainment.”

Odds after June 1

Although Ziggo Dome will be locked until 1 June, Damman believes that the current emergency regulation offers opportunities for the event sector after 1 June, and therefore does not necessarily have to wait until 1 September. “This is because the same emergency regulation states that events may be given space if the measures of the one-and-a-half metre society can be met.” Ziggo Dome has all protocols ready there, according to Damman.

After 1 July we can receive 100 people. Then we also come up with something special.

From 1 June, cinemas, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to start up slowly from 1 June. “It has been indicated by the cabinet that meetings may be allowed again after 1 June with a maximum of thirty visitors, excluding staff. We start on 6 June with the 30 Fans Only Concerts with big names like Kensington, Ilse de Lange and Danny Vera. After 1 July we can receive 100 people. Then we also come up with something special.”

According to Minister De Jonge of Health, however, major events could not go ahead until there is a vaccine against the coronavirus. Damman thinks of it: “I’m not a virologist, so I can’t say anything meaningful about that. But based on the things I see, which I read and the things that are allowed in zoos and amusement parks, I can say with 100% certainty that we can organize the measures of the one and a half meter presentation much better. After all, our industry invented crowd management.”

Damman remains combative, despite all the setbacks. “If we can do it again tomorrow, we can start tomorrow. Even if one and a half meters away is to be kept at concerts.

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