Sweden’s broadcaster SVT has cancelled the Melodifestivalen 2022 tour. Instead of traveling around the country each week, all of the shows will be broadcast from Stockholm.
The difficult decision comes as the country faces a fourth wave of the coronavirus. The official Melodifestivalen Twitter account wrote:
“Today we announce that Melodifestivalen 2022 will be broadcast from Stockholm. With the prevailing high spread of infection, we do not consider it justifiable to travel out into the country for six weeks with a large team. The decision was made by SVT and partners.”
Idag ger vi beskedet att Melodifestivalen 2022 kommer att sändas från Stockholm. Med den rådande höga smittspridningen anser vi inte att det är försvarbart att resa ut i landet under sex veckor med ett stort team. Beslutet fattades av SVT och samarbetspartners.— Melodifestivalen (@SVTmelfest) January 14, 2022
“We had been looking forward to taking the whole of Sweden’s party out into the country, but no matter where we are, we will do everything we can to deliver great entertainment and a crackling music party in the winter darkness.”
In recent days fears had been growing that such a cancellation was inevitable. Rising cases were coupled with some high-profile positive cases, including several party leaders and, as we learned on Friday, the country’s Prime Minister. Even the country’s king, queen and crown princes have endured infections this month.
Aftonbladet reports that it is not yet clear which venue will host the event in Stockholm.
“The situation is as it is and now we are making the best of the situation,” SVT’s CEO Hanna Stjärne said in a press release. “Melodifestivalen is a party for all of Sweden and we will do our utmost to create an exciting TV program that spreads warmth and joy when needed most.”
According to SVT, audiences will be present at the broadcasts, unlike last year when the Annex was completely empty except for performers and production staff.
The size of the audience will be based on restrictions, which at the moment allows for a maximum of 500 people.
It’s not yet clear how those tickets will be assigned and allocated. Tens of thousands have already been sold to the public by SVT and Live Nation.