It caused Eurovision 2020 to be cancelled. And now the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is starting to be felt by Junior Eurovision too with Wales confirming its withdrawal.
Wales withdraws from Junior Eurovision 2020
Welsh-language broadcaster S4C quietly broke the news in a series of tweets on Tuesday 14 July. Responding to a query about its 2020 participation from a curious JESC fan (@eurofansesp), the network tweeted: “Due to the present circumstances, unfortunately we will not be taking part in this years contest”.
Hi there, due to the present circumstances, unfortunately we will not be taking part in this years contest ?
— S4C ??????? (@S4C) July 14, 2020
In a second tweet, the station added that “no decision has been taken about our participation next year at present”.
We'll miss everyone too! We won't be broadcasting it this year and no decision has been taken about our participation next year at present.
— S4C ??????? (@S4C) July 14, 2020
While many 2019 participants have yet to confirm their 2020 participation, Wales is the first would-be returnee to rule itself out.
Wales made its debut in 2018 and returned in 2019. The country had previously entered as part of the United Kingdom between 2003 and 2005.
This news comes just one week after Germany announced that it will be debuting in November’s competition.
View this post on Instagram
We chat with the #JESC2019 stars in Gliwice, Poland. North Macedonia, Ireland, Ukraine, Albania, Belarus, Australia, France, Spain, Wales, The Netherlands and Serbia #ShareTheJoy with our @esma.jansen ? . . . #junioreurovision #jesc #junioreurovisionsongcontest #eurovision @milamoskov @annak_sings @sophy.ivanko @isea_cili @liza_misnikova @jordananthonymusic @carlamusicoff @melani_official_ @erinmaiofficial @matheu_hinzen @darijadakavracevic
Junior Eurovision and the Covid-19 pandemic
While Eurovision 2020 may have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all stakeholders are committed to making Junior Eurovision happen.
It remains to be seen what implications coronavirus will have on the contest.
Organisers may follow the lead of the Dutch national selection. Junior Songfestival 2020 will be held in Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena with an audience limited to only family members of the competing acts.
Broadcaster AVROTROS says it would be “irresponsible to have so many children from all over the Netherlands come together singing, dancing and screaming”.
The pandemic may also have an impact on the number of participating countries. For instance, Australia has yet to RSVP. As of July, the country has very strict quarantine rules regarding international travel. These may prove too burdensome for a young act and delegation should they still be in place later in the year.
The list of confirmed countries currently features 13 nations — Belarus, France, Georgia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Spain and Ukraine.
Looking towards Eurovision 2021
While Junior Eurovision is a much smaller event than Eurovision itself, it could provide some indication as to how the coronavirus pandemic might affect the main contest.
S4C will not be the only broadcaster to be impacted negatively by the current crisis. Networks all over Europe and beyond have seen their advertising revenues crash while more pressure is placed on existing resources.
Logistically, quarantine and social distancing measures could also make Eurovision preparations more difficult.
Unfortunately, Wales may just be the first of many to withdraw from a Eurovision event due to corona.
Are you disappointed to see Wales bow out? Do you think there’s a risk that more countries might follow? Let us know in the comments below.