Melfest in Crisis: Tour Likely Cancelled for a second year in a row 🇸🇪

Unfortunate news today coming from Sweden for anyone hoping to see Melodifestivalen live this year. In a tweet from 11 January, SVT indicated that due to Covid-19 restrictions in Sweden, Melfest’s organizers are looking into options regarding the tour and what that would mean for its audience.

Sweden’s national final is one of the most watched each year, with many Eurovision fans from across the globe who travel to Sweden to catch one of the shows live. However, with coronavirus infections increasing in Sweden, the government has enacted legislation to limit gathering sizes. Currently, indoor gatherings can be no larger than 500. Even the stops in some of Sweden’s smallest arenas on the Melfest tour can hold at least 1,000, making doing a tour unlikely.

These health measures were introduced on Monday and will be evaluated after two weeks, but won’t be changed for at least four weeks, directly impacting Semi Finals 1 and 2, planned for Malmö and Gothenburg. This leaves the door open for some kind of audience presence for shows later in Linköping, Lidköping, Örnsköldsvik, and Stockholm, if restrictions ease. 

Swedish newspaper Expressen is reporting [in Swedish] that the entire tour will likely be canceled and the thousands of tickets already sold will have to be refunded. Without ticket sales, the tour is simply not economically viable for SVT, and would be impossible to put off. This would mean a show similar to last year, where all shows were shot from a studio in the Annexet in Stockholm.

The first Semi Final is scheduled for 5th February at Malmö Arena with a dress rehearsal the day before. That doesn’t give organizers much time. On Monday afternoon, Melfest’s management sat in crisis meetings with its partners: the concert organizer Live Nation and the production company All things Live to determine a course of action. The Tweet appears to be a direct result of these ongoing meetings.

Anette Brattström, project manager for the competition, sent out a text message Monday afternoon,

“We are currently sitting together with our partners to review different alternatives. We will return with an answer as soon as a decision has been made.”

This decision should come soon, as canceling the tour would mean canceling the arenas around Sweden, refunding tickets, and deciding on a studio in Stockholm to host the shows. Of course it was Tusse who won Mello last year utan publik. Will his successor be crowned in the Annexet again this year?

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