Iconic European song contest Eurovision has been cancelled in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.
In a statement posted to Twitter, organisers of the event confirmed that this year's show would not go ahead due to various restrictions placed by the governing bodies of entrant countries.
— Eurovision Song Contest (@Eurovision) March 18, 2020
Travel would likely have been a significant issue for the event as countries worldwide begin restricting international travel and health requirements. In Australia, many airlines like Qantas are already cutting off international flights, while other countries are introducing strict quarantines for visitors entering their borders.
After announcing a 90 per cent international flight reduction earlier this week due to coronavirus, Qantas has now decided to cancel all flights leaving the country from the end of March. This will also include Jetstar flights.
Similarly, the large number of people that Eurovision attracts each year would have presented a significant health risk as world governments begin restricting events of more than 50 people.
Eurovision has a strong history of uniting global nations. The song contest was first established in 1956 and has broadcasting annually every year since. In 2015, even Australia was invited to participate in the contest. Unfortunately, 2020 marks the first year since 1956 that Eurovision will not go ahead.
The event was scheduled to take place mid-May in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with the finals pencilled in for May 16. Substantial planning and organisation for the event was already underway, with performances and auditions already locked in. This year would have seen pop singer Montaigne representing Australia.
While Eurovision 2020 will not go ahead, the announcement indicated that Rotterdam may still have the opportunity to host the song contest in 2021 as planned. It is unconfirmed whether performers will retain their booked slots for next year.
While we mourn the loss of Eurovision 2020, we can still look back on the weirdness of years past and look forward to the continuing show's future.