Eurovision fans annoyed that they may have to return to Malmö for the second time in three years can breathe a bit easier this morning. Swedish business web site 8 till 5 reports that Malmö has withdrawn its bid to become Eurovision 2016 host city.
That’s because the city of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Scandinavia’s tallest skyscraper has too much going on in April and May. It simply can’t free up its venue for the six-week period that SVT would require to get Malmö Arena ready for the Eurovision Song Contest.
“It’s one thing to want it and another thing to be able to do it,” Karin Mårtensson, managing director of Malmö Arena, told 8 till 5. “Just like everyone else we love Eurovision, but we must also live up to our pre-existing agreements to be a serious partner to our organizers…Had we not had the booking situation we have, we would have sprung into action.”
Among the existing committments are Malmö Redhawks ice hockey matches, two international concerts, two major congresses and the horse show Apassionata.
The horse show seems to be a recurring nuissance for Eurovision organisers. As you’ll recall last year, Apassionata was one of the events that had to be cancelled to free up Wiener Stadthalle for Eurovision 2015. Billed as “Europe’s most successful equestrian entertainment show,” Apassionata explores the “magical connection between people and horses.” The horses dance to classical music. They wear fancy costumes. And they do all of this in front of tens of thousands of people. (Can we please keep one for Eurovision?!)
Johan Hermansson, tourism director of the City of Malmö, joked that the city could still host: “If they’re willing to move Eurovision for next autumn we can do it.”