The 2020 Eurovision Song Contest has been cancelled, for reasons which should be obvious to just about everyone by now.
In a statement released last night, organisers said this May’s contest in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, will no longer go ahead amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The health of artists, staff, fans and visitors, as well as the situation in the Netherlands, Europe and the world, is at the heart of this decision,” the statement reads.
Artists from 41 countries, including Australian gun Montaigne, were slated to compete in the May event.
The cancellation breaks a streak of 64 annual competitions in a row. COVID-19 has done what the Cold War, the Chernobyl disaster, and the dissolution of the USSR couldn’t.
Please forgive me for being somewhat sentimental, but the contest was set for a pivotal moment in modern European history.
Given the UK’s recent abandonment of the European Union and deepening cultural fractures on the continent, there were hopes for Eurovision to serve as a silly-serious moment of unity.
Not any more, I guess.
“This edition was an excellent opportunity to unsderstand each other differently in a period of uncertainty in Europe, but above all an opportunity to really bring Europe together,” said Shula Rijxman, chairwoman of Dutch public broadcaster NPO.
“Music is universally binding and – I am sure – it will stay that way. Even after this corona crisis.”
Conversations about re-staging the contest in 2021 will continue, organisers state.
The decision follows a wave of festival cancellations at home and abroad. Just hours before the Eurovision announcement, the UK’s lauded Glastonbury Festival announced it, too, will waylay its 2020 edition.
Now, if you excuse me, I need to message my mum to talk this one through. I’m upset, but she’s gonna be devastated. (Update: Mum actually messaged me while I was writing this piece. Alexa, play Sound Of Silence by Dami Im, cheers.)