This afternoon, Wednesday, March 18, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) released a statement announcing the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam has been cancelled due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
In their statement, the EBU said they had been exploring other options but have come to the difficult decision to cancel the live event:
“Over the past few weeks, we have explored many alternative options to allow the Eurovision Song Contest to go ahead.
“However, the uncertainty created by the spread of COVID-19 throughout Europe – and the restrictions put in place by the governments of the participating broadcasters and the Dutch authorities – means the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has taken the difficult decision to not continue with the live event as planned.
“We are very proud that the Eurovision Song Contest has united audiences every year, without interruption, for the past 64 years and we, like the millions of fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May.
“The EBU, NPO, NOS, AVROTROS and the City of Rotterdam will continue in conversation regarding the hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021.
“We ask [for] some patience as we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await further news in the coming days and weeks.
“During that time, we would like to pay tribute to all the Host Broadcaster team in the Netherlands and our 41 Members who have worked so hard planning this year’s event.
“We are all heartbroken that the Eurovision Song Contest will not be able to be staged in May but feel confident that the whole Eurovision family, across the world, will continue to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.”
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) March 18, 2020
The EBU also answered some preemptive questions, saying that even without an audience, the event would not adhere to the guidelines put in place by Dutch officials:
“We are carefully following the advice of the relevant authorities to protect the health and wellbeing of all citizens. Dutch restrictions on gatherings of large numbers of people and international travel restrictions mean that holding the event, even without an audience, is impossible at this time.”
They also stated that they will not look to hold the contest remotely as this “would not be in keeping with our values and the tradition of the event.”
They have yet to make a decision as to putting forward the selected 2020 artists for next year’s contest and where the 2021 contest will be held but say they are continuing their conversation with the City of Rotterdam “regarding the potential hosting of the Contest in 2021”.
Those with tickets will be informed as soon as possible about what will happen with regards refunds or transfers on songfestival.nl:
“Among other things, we will look at whether the buyers will get their money back or whether the tickets will remain valid until next year. As soon as there is more clarity, ticket buyers will receive an email with their various options at the email address from which they purchased their tickets.
“As soon as we have more information, this will be communicated on songfestival.nl.”
To read the full statement, see eurovision.tv
This news comes as a devastating blow to the Irish entry, Lesley Roy, as well as the THISISPOPBABY creative team who have been working with her.
Following the announcement that Eurovision 2020 has been cancelled, Philly McMahon of THISISPOPBABY shared, “The whole team is devastated to receive the news that Eurovision is cancelled this year. Over the past few months, we have gathered the most inspiring bunch of creatives who were on the brink of serving such vivid beauty for Ireland at the contest.
“That wasn’t to be on this occasion, but we bow out knowing that Irish creativity is at an all-time high. Obviously this pandemic is bigger than any one event, so we fully understand that our collective health comes first. Tonight, we’ll be blasting out ‘Story Of My Life’, and raising a large glass to Lesley Roy. We ask that everyone does the same!”
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