Conchita Wurst, winner of Eurovision 2014, was due to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival tonight, but withdrew at the last minute owing to the fact that her band, Basalt, have been denied visas to enter the United Kingdom. Conchita's band are all of Syrian origin, but have been living in Austria for some years now.
Fergus Linehan, director of the festival had this to say:
“The point of this event was its symbolism. This feels awful. This is a very specific project to show the detail of people arriving in our cities, enriching our cultural life and being welcomed here. This is more than just ‘the bass player in the band didn’t get in’. It feels particularly painful because of the symbolism of the concert. We have had to give up for this concert, but we are not going to lie down on this. If it doesn’t come to pass this August, we will invite them to the 2018 festival. We are not going to give up.”
Conchita posted this on her Facebook page about the incident:
A source close to the band told newspaper The Scotsman:
“This project is about co-operation, about people who start new lives in a new country. If Basalt cannot be there it would feel completely absurd for Conchita to fly without them.”
Conchita and Basalt have recorded a video for their fans, which can be seen on Conchita's Facebook page.
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