Grand Prix music acts to get paid; Still not a festival, municipality says
The musicians and DJs who will perform at the Dutch Grand Prix between races in Zandvoort this weekend, will be paid for their performances, the organization announced on Monday. Despite the fact that the multi-day Formula 1 event will have music acts, and a campsite where visitors can stay, the Grand Prix is definitely "not a festival in disguise", a spokesperson for the Zandvoort municipality said.
Prince Bernhard, part-owner of the Zandvoort circuit, was criticized last week after it became known that he asked artists to perform at the Grand Prix for free. The music industry was outraged, calling it a wrong signal to not pay artists for their work - especially given that the events industry is still largely unable to operate due to coronavirus restrictions. Davina Michelle, who pledged to sing the national anthem at the event for free, said she would only do so if the other artists get paid.
"The entertainment program of Formula 1 has been adjusted," the Dutch Grand Prix organization said. "With different DJs from various places, the audience will be entertained in the stands. We are honored and happy that Davina will perform the Wilhelmus for our race fans," a spokesperson said.
The fact that the Dutch Grand Prix can continue with thousands of attendees, music performances and even a campsite, is baffling to many in the events industry. The current coronavirus restrictions only allow small, one-day festivals. Festivals like Lowlands were canceled specifically because they offer camping facilities for attendees. The sector is also annoyed that the government only barely responded to angry protests by more than 100 thousand festival organizers and attendees.
According to the cabinet, the Formula 1 event is allowable because visitors have fixed seats - one of the reasons large concerts and festivals have so far been banned is that attendees mill around and have lots of contact with lots of people.
According to the municipality of Zandvoort, the Grand Prix is definitely not a festival in disguise. "The acts are intended to keep people in their seats," the municipality said. "According to government guidelines, people should remain seated."
Radio 538, the namesake of the Official 538 Dutch Grand Prix Village campsite for thousands of people and the sponsor of the Dutch Grand Prix, said that it "understands the bafflement of the events sector". The radio station will broadcast from the campsite, but promised to respect the coronavirus restrictions during the broadcasts. The Dutch Grand Prix also promised that there will be no organized activities or parties at the campsite.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.