As people across Europe get to grips with self-isolating in an effort to band together and tackle the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), it has been announced that both the Eurovision Song Contest and Glastonbury Festival will not be taking place this year.

An explosion of confetti, tape and light from a pyramid shaped stage at Glastonbury Festival.
Glastonbury 2020 has been cancelled © Benny Hawes / Shutterstock

A statement by Michael and Emily Eavis was posted on Glastonbury’s official accounts today announcing the decision, just six days after the line-up for 2020 was announced. “Clearly this was not a course of action we hoped to take for our 50th anniversary event, but following the new government measures announced this week – and in times of such unprecedented uncertainty – this is now our only viable option,” the statement said. The organisers said that they hoped the situation in the UK will have improved enormously by June, when the 200,000-person festival was originally supposed to take place, but they had to make the tough decision regardless. 

Those that were able to secure a ticket at a deposit of £50 have been offered a spot at next year’s festival, while the option for a refund is also available. The stellar line-up included Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, Diana Ross, Primal Scream, Rufus Wainwright, Imelda May and Caribou, amongst many others. 

It's the first time in history the song contest won't go ahead © NurPhoto / Contributor

The much-loved Eurovision Song Contest also announced that it would not be taking place this year, marking the first time it has ever been cancelled since 1956. The final was due to take place in Rotterdam on 16 May, and would have seen 41 countries singing for glory in front of a crowd at the 16,000 capacity Ahoy Arena. The event would have meant an influx of tourism and finance for the city, which has been struggling to deal with a growing number of coronavirus cases.

“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 fans around the world, are extremely saddened that it cannot take place in May,” an official statement read.

Philly McMahon, of THISISPOPBABY, the creative director behind Ireland’s performance by Lesley Roy told Lonely Planet, “the whole team is devastated to receive the news that Eurovision is cancelled this year. Over the past few months, we have gathered the most inspiring bunch of creatives who were on the brink of serving such vivid beauty for Ireland at the contest. That wasn't to be on this occasion, but we bow out knowing that Irish creativity is at an all-time high. Obviously this pandemic is bigger than any one event, so we fully understand that our collective health comes first.”

San Marino’s Senhit described the cancellation as “a painful but inevitable choice for our own health. But the music stays, and, nowadays, it can give us strength to go on.” 

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