3FM Serious Request

Dec 2021 | Amersfoort | NPO 3FM

Event information:

NPO 3FM Serious Request is an annual multi day fundraising event in the week leading up to Christmas. This great initiative is by Dutch public Broadcaster NPO. Several DJs from radio station 3FM are “locked up” for a week in a custom-built Glass House, thanks to which the audience can follow their every move. Well, almost. They broadcast radio 24 hours a day for 6 days in a row to raise as much money as possible for the chosen charity of that year. Each year, the Glass House is placed on the main square of a different Dutch city.

Songs requested by listeners and visitors are played in return for donations. Celebrities and artists contribute by offering personal possessions and unique meet & greets up for auction. Funds can be directly transferred into the projects account, while physical visitors can deposit cash and cheques at the Glass House’s special letterbox. Additionally, several initiatives pop-up throughout the country, all related to 3FM Serious Request and with the aim of collecting as much money as possible.

This edition, the Glass House was located in Amersfoort from 18 – 24 December 2021. The funds that were raised were for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to help save and recover the rainforests of South America. A record was set as compared to the year before by raising a whopping two million Euros for the cause. This was all thanks to the efforts of 3FM DJs Sander Hoogendoorn, Jorien Renkema, Rob Janssen, Frank van der Lende, the crew and everyone who donated.

Role of Backbone:

Backbone was responsible for the technical design, technical production, and production management of the Glass House. This included among other things, the actual design of the Glass House, all the lights, sound, and infrastructure for water and drainage. The team produced everything in the most sustainable and green way possible. For instance, they installed and worked with a local power grid instead of using generators.

This was the fifth time NPO 3FM asked Backbone to take care of the production of Serious Request and it was definitely one for the books. The event was held in COVID-19 times, which meant that a limited number of audience was allowed. The new COVID regulations meant that people needed to vacate public spaces after 5pm. However, despite the limitation set for spectators, the event was still very vibrant. This also presented itself as an opportunity for the Backbone team to get creative, make quick decisions and approach an obstacle with a flexible mindset. To offer the DJs the impression that there was still an audience after curfew time, Backbone put up shop window mannequins all over the square.


Event photo credits: Nathan Reinds