Glastonbury and Eurovision cancelled
Thursday, 19 March 2020
eurovision2020This year's Eurovision Song Contest final was due to take place on 16 May
Europe The latest major events cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak include Glastonbury Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest. In the UK, Brighton’s annual arts festival will not take place for the first time in 53 years, while organisers of major festivals such as Reading, the Isle of Wight and Cropredy are monitoring the situation closely.
Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar were due to appear, alongside Diana Ross and Dua Lipa at Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary gathering at Worthy Farm in Somerset in June. "We're so sorry the decision to cancel has been made," a statement said. "It was not through choice." Just six days ago, organiser Emily Eavis said she had "fingers firmly crossed" the event would go ahead. But after the government advised people to avoid mass gatherings on Monday, cancellation became increasingly likely.
Fans who had already paid the £50 deposit will be allowed to roll over that sum to next year, guaranteeing "the opportunity to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2021", organisers said. Refunds will also be available for those who want them.
"We very much hope that the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by the end of June," said Michael and Emily Eavis in a statement. "But even if it has, we are no longer able to spend the next three months with thousands of crew here on the farm, helping us with the enormous job of building the infrastructure and attractions,
"We were so looking forward to welcoming you all for our 50th anniversary with a line-up full of fantastic artists and performers that we were incredibly proud to have booked. We look forward to welcoming you back to these fields next year and until then, we send our love and support to all of you."
This year's Eurovision Song Contest was due to take place at Rotterdam's 16,000 capacity Ahoy Arena, with the final on 16 May. "We, like the millions of you around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May," said organisers.
The Dutch government had previously banned large public gatherings in an attempt to prevent the virus spreading. "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," said the Eurovision team.
The event's executive supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, added: "We are very proud of the Eurovision Song Contest, that for 64 years has united people all around Europe. We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever." He added that talks were already underway about staging the contest in Rotterdam next year.
Back in the UK, The Norfolk and Norwich festival has been cancelled. Organisers said they had made the "deeply regrettable but inevitable decision" after listening to government advice. The arts festival was due to take place between 8-24 May and usually attracts more that 85,000 visitors to theatres and galleries across the county.
Fairport Convention’s Cropredy three-day event in Oxfordshire a long-time fixture in the summer’s live music calendar takes place in August. “Fortunately, Cropredy comes at the end of the summer (13-15 August) – still five months away - and the situation may be different by then. So at this stage we still plan to stage our festival as usual,” say the organisers.
“In recent years, Cropredy has survived foot and mouth, avian flu, swine fever, SARS and, last year, the gales which disrupted so many other events. This year we will do our utmost to keep the show on the road. Meanwhile, look after yourselves, follow public health advice and keep washing those hands. We look forward to seeing you in the field in August.”
(Jim Evans)

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