Eurovision 2020 axed due to coronavirus
The Eurovision Song Contest, which was due to take place in May in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, has officially been cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam," Eurovision's organisers said in a statement.
"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.
"We would ask people to bear with us while we work through the ramifications of this unprecedented decision and patiently await any further news in the coming days and weeks."
Meanwhile, the organisers of the annual Glastonbury music festival said they had also cancelled this year's 50th anniversary event due to the health crisis.
"We are so sorry to announce this, but we are going to have to cancel Glastonbury 2020," organisers said in a statement on Twitter, adding tickets for the 2020 event will roll over to 2021.
We are so sorry to announce this, but we are going to have to cancel Glastonbury 2020. Tickets for this year will roll over to next year. Full statement below and on our website. Michael & Emily pic.twitter.com/ox8kcQ0HoB— Glastonbury Festival (@glastonbury) March 18, 2020
Pop superstar Taylor Swift had been set to headline for the first time at Britain's best known music festival, held at a rural farm site in southwest England since 1970.
Beatles icon Paul McCartney and US rapper Kendrick Lamar were also set to perform on the main stage.
British artist Dua Lipa, the Manic Street Preachers band and Primal Scream were among the other confirmed performers.
All 135,000 tickets for the 50th anniversary festival went on sale in October and sold out in 34 minutes.
It comes as global cases of the coronavirus top 200,000 and countries introduce widespread travel bans to stop the spread.
Glastonbury organisers Emily Eavis and her father Michael Eavis said they made the decision after the British government this week recommended a raft of social distancing measures.
Britain has recorded 1,950 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 71 deaths. "This is now our only viable option," the Glastonbury organisers said in a statement, adding they hoped the situation will have improved by the late June date of the festival.
"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 needed to welcome more than 200,000 people to a temporary city in these fields."