Royal Vauxhall tavern to close on Eurovision night after boycott calls

LGBTQ+ club not to host annual Eurovision party amid protests over Israel’s participation


LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29: A general view of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, where the late Paul O'Grady had a long-running solo residency, on March 29, 2023 in London, England. The television presenter, also known by the drag queen persona Lily Savage, died on March 28.(Photo by Ming Yeung/Getty Images)

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has announced it will close on Saturday rather than host its annual Eurovision party.

The LGBTQ+ venue on Kennington Road was set to host its regular Eurovision watch party but, amid controversy around Israel's inclusion in the contest, yesterday announced that it will be closed all day on Saturday, the day of the Eurovision Song Contest Grand Final.

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is the second high profile London venue to cancel its party after the Rio Cinema in Dalston announced in March that it had cancelled its viewing party over Israel’s inclusion in the competition.

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s Managing Director and CEO, James Lindsay, confirmed the closure in a statement released via social media on Tuesday: “Royal Vauxhall Tavern will not be open for any event on Saturday night.”

Last year, The Royal Vauxhall Tavern teamed up with Eurofest club night for an evening with Mr Roy the DJ. The famous party involves watching the live broadcast of the competition and dancing until 4am.

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s decision to cancel comes amid furious controversy over Israel’s inclusion in this year’s singing contest. Some Eurovision fans have called for a boycott of the competition.

Over 1,000 Swedish artists called for Israel to be banned from the contest and over 1,400 Finnish music industry professionals also signed a petition to ban the country from taking part.

The UK’s entry, Olly Alexander, initially signed a statement last December calling Israel an “apartheid state” and accusing it of genocide and there has been sharp criticism levelled at the British singer from all sides of the debate.

Meanwhile, the Israeli entry to the contest, Eden Golan, 20, has faced death threats and calls for a boycott. She was told by Israel’s Shin Bet security agency not to leave her hotel room in Malmo, Sweden.

After the cancellation of Rio Cinema’s Eurovision Party London over Israel’s inclusion in the contest, the Charity Commission opened an investigation.

A number of Jewish politicians and organisations wrote to the Charity Commission over concerns that the independent cinema, which is run as a charity organisation, has contravened the Charity Commission’s rules in its decision to cancel the screening.

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