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World Press Photo latest event called off due to coronavirus

Girona's 'Temps de flors' floral displays postponed, as are Berga's 'La Patum' festivities


26 March 2020 01:57 PM



World Press Photo 2020, which was to be held in Barcelona in May, is the latest major event to fall victim to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic after the organizers said the exhibition has now been pushed back until November.

Barcelona had been chosen as one of the first cities in the world to host the prestigious photojournalism exhibition following the announcement of the winners in Amsterdam in mid-April, but the event will now take place from November 11 to December 13.

The 16th edition of the exhibition, which will feature work by two Catalan photojournalists who have been nominated for prizes, Ricard García Vilanova and Ramon Espinosa, will still be hosted by Barcelona's contemporary culture center, the CCCB.

'Temps de Flors' and 'La Patum' postponed

Girona has had to cancel its annual 'Temps de Flors' event where floral displays are set up all throughout the city center for thousands of visitors to see.

Last year some 255,000 flocked to the northern Catalan city, and this year the same was expected to occur from May 9 to 17, but authorities have decided to allocate funds that would have gone to organizing the event to countering the effects of the health crisis instead.

"We regret having to make this decision, but we hope people will understand it," explains Mayor Marta Madrenas.

The small town of Berga, in northern Catalonia, has also decided to postpone the annual 'La Patum' Corpus Christie celebrations it is famed for due to the high risk of covid-19 transmission among attendees. Set to take place from June 10 to 14, it is now scheduled for September, "circumstances permitting."

Concerts called off

While not all concerts scheduled in the near future have been called off – Primavera Sound, one of Barcelona's most important music festivals, is still pledging to carry though – this has not been the case of many other events.

Since the state of alarm was declared on March 14, throughout Catalonia an estimated 340 concerts have been canceled, with more expected to follow. These cancelations amount to an estimated 1.5 million euros in losses per week, according to the Catalan Association of Concert Halls.

Among the many artists that have been forced to reschedule due to the ongoing public health crisis are, for example, UK band Metronomy, who were set to play at Barcelona's Sala Razzamatazz on March 26 and now will be performing on September 9, or US rapper Princess Nokia, who was supposed delight crowds at the Catalan capital's Sala Bikini on March 27 but has been rescheduled for November 8.

The cultural sector, in general, has been particularly hard hit by this exceptional situation, and due to the spate of cancelations, many venues have ended up resorting to temporary redundancy schemes that affect an estimated 1,600 people working at music halls in Catalonia.     

MWC first coronavirus victim

The postponement of the World Press Photo 2020 this week is just the latest in a long line of cancelations of large events due to coronavirus since the 2020 edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona was called off in February.

After a string of large tech firms, such as Amazon, Sony, and Facebook, announced that they would not be coming to this year's MWC, the organizers decided to cancel the lucrative event over "concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak."

In March, after the first coronavirus cases began appearing in Catalonia, and the Catalan and Spanish authorities introduced strict restrictions on movement and gatherings, more and more major events began to be canceled or postponed.

Alimentaria food fair now set for September

One of the first, on March 5, was Alimentaria, the country's largest food and drinks trade show, which was due to take place in the Catalan capital on the week beginning April 20 but was rescheduled for September 14 to 17.

Then came the postponement until further notice of the Saló del Còmic, Barcelona's comics fair, which was to have taken place from May 8 to 10, and the city's international film festival, BCN Film Fest 2020, which will now be held from June 19 to 26.

Outside Barcelona, too, major events have had to be canceled due to the coronavirus crisis, such as Badalona's 31st Blues & Ritmes Festival, or Terrassa's 39th Festival of Jazz, both which were supposed to go on throughout March.

Sporting events at a standstill

Yet it is not just major business and cultural events that have fallen victim to the pandemic, sporting events, too, have come to a standstill as people all over Spain are confined to their homes and only allowed to leave for essential reasons.

One of them is the 42nd Zurich Barcelona Marathon, which was supposed to be held on March 15, but was postponed until October 25 because of the coronavirus crisis. Some 17,500 runners took part in last year's Barcelona Marathon.

All football matches have also been canceled, with the Spanish football federation calling off all La Liga matches for two weeks on March 12, and after UEFA, Europe's football governing body, called off this summer's Euros, the Spanish federation announced on March 23 that all games would be postponed indefinitely.


  • World Press Photo 2019 at Barcelona's CCCB (by Pau Cortina)

  • World Press Photo 2019 at Barcelona's CCCB (by Pau Cortina)