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Eurovision Song Contest Cancelled for First Time Over Coronavirus

on March 18, 2020, 12:29pm

The Eurovision Song Contest has taken place every year since 1956, but that 64-year streak has come to an end. The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced organizers to cancel Eurovision 2020.

The event was scheduled for the 16,000-seat Ahoy Arena on May 12th, 14th, and 16th in Rotterdam, NL. In a statement, organizers said they sought ways to keep the competition going, but the different restrictions imposed by the many participating governments ultimately made a compromise impossible.

“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 that it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.”

Eurovision executive supervisor John Ola Sand told the BBC that they plan to hold the contest in Rotterdam next year, and conversations have already begun with Dutch authorities. He added, “We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever.” It’s unclear at this time if the songs scheduled to compete in the 2020 contest will return in 2021.


Eurovision is only the latest live music event impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Just today, Glastonbury Festival has been cancelled, while New Orleans Jazz and Shaky Knees have been postponed until the fall. For an updated list of postponements, cancellations, and closures, click here.