The song festival stage in Liverpool will be a bit emptier next year. No fewer than three countries have since waived their participation in the song festival. In particular, the high cost of the event is causing Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to drop out.
Montenegro had just returned to the Eurovision Song Contest last edition in Turin. But this weekend broadcaster RTCG shared a statement. ‘In addition to the significant costs of the entry fee and the costs of staying in the UK, we also had to deal with a lack of interest from sponsors.’ The broadcasters of smaller countries often look for sponsors to cover the costs.
North Macedonia also complains about the higher costs in its statement not to participate. ‘The decision not to participate in the Song Contest is in the interest of the citizens, taking into account the higher costs due to the energy crisis and the increased registration fee for participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. The cost for participation last edition was 39,143 euros, and it is expected that it will be higher next year.’
The decision not to participate in the Song Contest is in the interest of the citizens, taking into account the higher costs
Bulgaria closes door for Eurovision Song Contest
Where Montenegro and North Macedonia are emphatically still keeping the door open for a new participation in the future of the Eurovision Song Contest, Bulgaria is closing it harder. “Bulgaria will not participate in Eurovision 2023 and most likely not in future editions. After analysis, it has been decided that this program is no longer of interest to the broadcaster,” the responsible broadcaster said in a statement.
The choice of Bulgaria is striking because the country has grown into a certain finalist in recent years. From 2016 to 2021, the grand final was reached every time, culminating in second place in 2017. Montenegro almost never managed to score in the Eurovision Song Contest. A thirteenth place in 2015 is the biggest success for the country. North Macedonia has only reached the final twice in the past fourteen years. The seventh place in Israel in 2019 was their top score.
In addition to the three countries dropping out, it is also uncertain whether Moldova, Armenia and the Czech Republic will participate in the festival in Liverpool. Hungary, Russia and Belarus have already disappeared from the Eurovision stage in recent years. The 2023 edition looks set to be the least crowded festival since 2014.
Belgium is expanding
In Belgium, the festival is being tackled on a bigger scale. The Flemish broadcaster – which annually alternates participation with the Walloon broadcaster – is organizing a national festival in which seven participants will sing two songs. It is not yet clear which artists will participate. It is already known that LikeMe stars Pommelien Thijs and Camille d’Hondt will not participate. Laura Tesoro, who participated in 2016 for the southern neighbors, has already announced that she will not participate.
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