Officials have cancelled the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rotterdam in the Netherlands was due to host this year’s event from 12 May to 16 May.
But now Eurovision will not go ahead in 2020.
The official Eurovision site says:
‘It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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 you around the world, are extremely saddened that it can not take place in May.’
Eurovision hopes to return to Rotterdam in 2021
The European Broadcast Union said it will keep talking with the Dutch broadcaster and the City of Rotterdam. They will try to hold the 2021 Eurovision in Rotterdam instead.
Jon Ola Sand, executive supervisor, said: ‘We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever.’
Some fans are already expressing their disappointment that the event can’t go ahead without a live audience.
However, the festival requires not just the acts but huge TV production teams.
Even if crews filmed acts remotely, the number of people involved is large. And many other film sets are already closing.
Sietse Bakker, executive producer of the event, sympathised with those who are disappointed.
She added: ‘We understand and share that disappointment.
‘Some perspective is appropriate because, at the same time, we also realize that this decision and its consequences don’t compare to the challenges faced by people affected, directly or indirectly, by the coronavirus and the difficult but necessary measures.’
The EBU has asked for patience when they work out their plans after their ‘unprecedented decision’.
And they added: ‘We are all heartbroken that Eurovision will not be able to be staged in May.’
But they said they expected the Eurovision family ‘to provide love and support for each other at this difficult time.’