The European Brass Band Association (EBBA) and the local organisers in Palanga have announced that the 2020 European Brass Band Championships, including all connected events scheduled to be held in Palanga, Lithuania, in April-May, will be cancelled due to the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Making the announcement, EBBA President Ulf Rosenberg stated: “We are very sorry to have to announce that, in light of the World Health Organisation's definition of COVID-19 as a pandemic and the growing restrictions being imposed by national governments and other agencies, the European Championships cannot go ahead in Lithuania this year as planned.
Our first priority is the health and safety of both the brass band and wider communities and this has been the overriding factor in making this very painful decision.”
He continued: “We have enormous sympathy for the local organisers and city officials in Palanga, who have worked tirelessly over recent years to present the European Brass Band Championships in Baltic region for the first time.
They have shown themselves to be a very impressive team in preparing what would undoubtedly have been a memorable and high-quality event.
We also appreciate that participating players and bands have made huge sacrifices in their preparations and could face financial implications due to the cancellation of the event.
Audience members will face similar issues in addition to their natural disappointment in missing out on a great event and we are very sorry that they will all be affected by this decision, but with such widespread restrictions on public gatherings and travel, presenting the world's most prestigious brass band competition as scheduled has simply become impossible.”
On behalf of Palangos Orkestras, the local organisers, Vygantas RekaÅ¡ius added: “The EBBC 2020 organising team regrets this force majeure situation. However, we understand the need to halt the organisation of EBBC 2020 which was planned in April-May and to postpone the event till the nearest possible time.
We have been seeking to organise EBBC in Palanga, Lithuania with great desire and enthusiasm.
We still are determined to implement it. For the last few years we have been working intensively for this, experiencing a lot of benevolence and meeting many great musicians.
Our team have worked according to the plan until the last minute. Therefore, we hope that the spread of COVID-19 will be restrained the celebration of the brass banding finally will be able to take place in Palanga.”