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Wales and the Eurovision Song Contest – new petition launched

11 Feb 2024 6 minute read
Charlotte Church headlining a Eurovision party in Liverpool (Credit: Matthew Rimmer)

Stephen Price

Wales, the land of song – a European country with one of its oldest spoken languages. And yet we are voiceless when it comes to participating in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Ahead of the 2024 event, and in what has become an annual tradition of its own, Welsh Eurovision fans are repeating calls for Wales to be represented.

To play our part in giving these fans a voice – and to amplify that voice to both the BBC and the Welsh Government – Nation.Cymru has launched a new petition calling for Wales to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Welsh participants

Many Welsh artists have represented the United Kingdom in the past including Mary Hopkin in 1970, Emma in 1989, Jessica Garlick in 2002, Bonnie Tyler in 2013 and, more recently, Lucie Jones in 2017.

There was also Joe Woolford, from Rhuthun, who with Jake Shakeshaft from Stoke-on-Trent, competed in Stockholm in 2016 with the song “You’re Not Alone.”

There has, however, only been one Welsh Eurovision winner – Nicky Stevens, as a member of Brotherhood of Man, in 1976.

And, importantly, there has not been a single Welsh language entry despite Welsh being an official language of Wales.

‘Not eligible’

Wales competed in Junior Eurovision in 2018 and 2019 but has always been represented by the United Kingdom at the main event.

Phil Jackson, Associate Head of Media at Edge Hill University and expert on all things Eurovision, told Nation.Cymru that it would be difficult to see a Welsh entry while the BBC remained the main public service broadcaster in Wales.

“Wales is currently not eligible to be a competitive country as we compete as the United Kingdom,” he said.

“Devolved government does not mean separate participation, as the Eurovision Song Contest is populated by the main member public service broadcaster of each country.

“For the UK it’s the BBC, although S4C are members of the European Broadcasting Union.”

Erin Mai – Calon yn Cyro – LIVE – Junior Eurovision 2019

Continued calls

In 2021, Plaid Cymru pledged in their manifesto that they would prepare for Wales to enter the Eurovision Song Contest as a nation in our own right if they were to win power.

As part of their pledges for Culture, Media and Sport in Wales, Plaid Cymru have said that they will “prepare a bid” for Wales to enter Eurovision as an independent nation.

Cân i Gymru

In the 1960s, it was proposed for the first time that Wales should enter the Eurovision Song Contest as an independent nation. As a result of this, the music festival Cân i Gymru was launched – which is still held annually in March. The festival would have acted as a national selection for Wales.

For the first time ever, Cân i Gymru is set to be held at the Swansea Arena on 1 March (St David’s Day) this year, with tickets and more information available here.

The bid to enter Eurovision as an independent nation was unsuccessful but Wales has still taken part in several other EBU events, including Jeux Sans Frontières, Eurovision Choir and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest.

The BBC

Lynn Kenway of Eurovision Times concurred that while the BBC was in charge, Wales would not be represented.

“Although we’ve seen Wales compete in the Junior Eurovision in 2018 and 2019, I don’t see how they can possibly compete in the adult version whilst the BBC is still officially the UK’s broadcaster for Eurovision,” she said.

“If the BBC ever gave up being the broadcaster, then we may see the possibility of different broadcasters picking it up – as United Kingdom Independent Broadcasting did for Junior Eurovision.

“Then we could see nations entering rather than a United Kingdom entry, but whilst the publicly-funded BBC runs the show, they will want to represent the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Dr. Paul Jordan, expert on the Eurovision Song Contest, said that one possible solution was for the nations of the UK to take turns in putting up an act.

“It may technically be possible to devolve the entry each year but I think it would probably still end up being a UK entry,” he said.

Petition

In 2021, a petition was created calling for an independent Welsh entry in the Eurovision Song Contest.

The petition came about after the UK scored ‘nul points’ for only the second time in its history.

At the same event, the UK’s vote announcer Amanda Holden was also criticised after she made a joke of not understanding the difference between French and Dutch.

“Bonsoir. Goedenavond,” she said. “That is good evening in French and Dutch although I’ve got absolutely no idea which is which.”

Wales’ Bonnie Tyler represented the United Kingdom at Eurovision in 2013. Picture by Albin Olsson (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Whilst that petition, obviously, didn’t get the desired outcome, it’s not dampened the enthusiasm and defiance of Welsh fans, so we at Nation.Cymru felt it would only be right to keep up the momentum and launch another with the blessing of its original creator.

The petition simply says: “Wales is known around the world as “The Land of Song”, and we have a rich culture of music and performance which is recognised and celebrated internationally,” his previous petition said.

“Wales should have the opportunity to be represented at Eurovision as a nation in its own right. Therefore, we call on the Welsh Government to work with S4C and other relevant bodies to prepare a bid for Wales to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest.”

Wales under the spotlight

Eurovision super fan, Luke Prisk from Brynmawr said: “Eurovision fan or not, an opportunity to shine on a European, indeed worldwide stage should be a given, not something we need to fight for.

“Why shouldn’t we be able to celebrate our rich culture and talent in the same way other countries do?

“I’m super excited about this year’s event, but in the back of my mind I can’t overlook the fact that my flag isn’t officially represented and was once even banned!

“Just imagine how many more people would get to hear about us, or visit us, if only we had the same time under the spotlight that other countries have.”

You can find Nation.Cymru’s Eurovision petition here – deadline 23 March 2024.


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Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
3 months ago

An Independent Wales would be a Wales entry in the Eurovision song contest A Welsh team in the Olympics Not G B or U K

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
3 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

Don’t forget the Winter Olympics Emrys yr Eagle.

Gareth
Gareth
3 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

I think the word you are looking for is “eryr”, poor trolling today.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago
Reply to  Iago Traferth

Can I make a suggestion ‘The Welsh Trotters’…best thing I’ve seen for ages…

Rob
Rob
3 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

Don’t forget Cricket. As the other home nations have their own team, then we don’t need to be independent to have one as well. In this regards its willpower.
We should not tolerate being represented in sporting events as ‘England’ just to suit Glamorgan’s self-interest.

Doctor Trousers
Doctor Trousers
3 months ago
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
3 months ago

Please add the Olympic games to this excellent petition too. Sick to death of seeing my nation’s athletes participating in the world’s pre-eminent sporting occasion under a flag on which Wales isn’t even represented.

Last edited 3 months ago by Leigh Richards
Gareth
Gareth
3 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

The Olympic committee have previously said they have no objection to the 4 countries of Britain entering seperate teams, but that would depend on the British Olympic association disbanding, and allowing the seperate countries to enter. Guess what, the GB Olympic committee have said they have no intention of disbanding, and are happy with the way things are. The GB Olympic committee are ran and controlled from London, with GB Gov financing.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
3 months ago

Eurovision is a joke contest- do Plaid have nothing better to do.

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
3 months ago

That’s two jokes.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
3 months ago

It’s the most watched annual televised event in Europe.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

What’s wrong with jokes !

The Welsh Trotters would win hands down…

Ryan and Ronnie were the best…

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Well don’t watch it then

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
3 months ago

Look, I couldn’t care less about the Eurovision song contest. But what I do care about is Wales right to representation, be it playing that analy retentive non-sport called cricket to playing tiddlywinks, want to see the Y Ddraig Goch flown proudly never that bloodstained banner of empire Union Flag. And how ironic that you have the ridiculous situation where you have Israel, a country in the Middle East that was established in 1948 out of Palestinian bloodshed, and a former British colony Australia, a country & continent that’s over 10,000 miles away from Europe, are able to enter the… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by Y Cymro
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Beats me, my money is on the The Welsh Trotters, where do I sign…

Jeff
Jeff
3 months ago

They are quite right when they mention BBC as representing the UK, they are the main UK broadcaster, this is an EBU thing, to which The BBC is the UK rep. The contest is a fantastic event but it also comes at a cost, if you win it, you stage it.

Tricky. I would like to see Wales as a stand alone but that comes at a cost and I fear you wont have that till indy. And you need somewhere to host it. Not sure the Principality is suitable.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

What Principality? The building society !

Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies
3 months ago

A Welsh entry would be great especially if it was in Welsh.

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