Friday 20 April 2018

Conchita Wurst cancels Edinburgh performance after band members denied visas

The Austrian drag queen had been due to perform alongside her Syrian ensemble, who are based in Vienna.

Conchita will not perform in Edinburgh (PA)
Conchita will not perform in Edinburgh (PA)

By By Conor Riordan, Press Association Scotland

Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst has cancelled her performance at the Edinburgh International Festival after her band members were denied visas.

The Austrian drag queen had been due to perform at the Friday night showing of New European Songbook, alongside her Syrian ensemble Basalt, who are based in Vienna.

But despite a supporting statement from the festival, each of the three Basalt members were unsuccessful with their visa applications.

As a result, Wurst pulled out of the concert entirely, but it will still go ahead with the remaining acts.

A statement from the festival said: “We are very disappointed to announce that the Syrian artists were unsuccessful in their application for visas to perform live at the concert.

Conchita Wurst won Eurovision in 2014 (AP)

“The concert will go ahead with a specially recorded introduction by Conchita and Basalt and a film of their performance.

“The International Festival has issued an open invitation to Conchita and Basalt to perform later at this year’s Festival. If this is not possible, the invitation will be extended to the 2018 International Festival.”

Wurst is an Austrian pop recording artist and drag queen portrayed by Thomas Neuwirth.

She came to international attention after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 with the song Rise Like a Phoenix.

The festival is on the Home Office list of Permit-Free Festivals, which allows artists who need a visa to enter the country to apply for a standard visitor’s visa, rather than a working visa.

Due to the unfortunate fact that my friends Amjad, Noor and Almonther from اجرة طريق . Basalt were unsuccessful in their…

Posted by Conchita Wurst on Friday, August 11, 2017

Basalt applied to enter the UK on this basis, but were unsuccessful.

They are a Syrian trio who formed in 2016 in Austria. They perform a mix of styles including alternative, blues and rock.

The New European Songbook presents new music from across the continent in two wide-ranging concerts.

Conchita Wurst during the filming of the Graham Norton Show in London (PA)

Each night sees a selection of musicians come together to perform some new pieces of music for the first time.

Musicians from across Europe share the stage with others who have recently made Europe their home.

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