The charity concert to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee has been toned down and relocated to a site within the British Bases, following “the hostile response of a very small minority.”
Originally set to take place on June 2 at the ancient site of Curium, the concert will instead be held in Episkopi’s Happy Valley on the same day.
The Sovereign Base Areas (SBA) administration said on Friday that they were saddened over the withdrawal of partners and beneficiaries, following strong reactions which resulted in the withdrawal of some of the concert’s partners and beneficiaries.
The announcement added that the authorities “respect those decisions and hope to be able to work with them again in the future”.
Critics fired at the bases organising the concert in honour of the Queen’s platinum jubilee, criticising the event as celebrating a ‘killer queen’
Critics arguments stemmed from the fact that Elizabeth II was the head of state during the Cyprus independence struggle from British colonial rule in 1955-1959, during which nine young EOKA fighters were executed.
The issue came about after George Colokasides, an independent candidate for the presidency in 2023, called for the event to be cancelled.
Known for his nationalistic views, Colokasides argued that the queen is linked to the darkest moments of Cypriot history. He referred to the “so-called friendship” between the UK and Cyprus.
Cancellations started raining in, as the mantle had been picked up by social media users, followed by political parties such as EDEK which branded the event as unacceptable.
Amidst the fuss building up around the event, two children’s cancer charities that were set to receive funds from the proceeds of the event, pulled out.
Little Heroes was first to leave, followed by the One Dream One Wish Foundation soon, both citing “the political dimension the event has now gained”.
The well-known Diastasis Cultural Association dance and chorus group also withdrew.
The bases said that they preferred to point out the close ties between the Cyprus and the UK in recent years, referring to security ties, administrative, cultural, education as well as personal and familial links.
“We must not forget the past – but it is most important to look to the future,” the press release read, adding that the relationship today between the UK and Cyprus is one of friendship and close partnership.
“We remain committed to putting on a truly fantastic event… All proceeds will continue to be donated to extremely worthwhile charities, and there are still many brilliant acts in the line-up to look forward to,” the bases said.
Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952 when her father, King George VI, died in February 1952. She was 25 years old at the time.
Her first and only visit to Cyprus took place in 1993 to attend a Commonwealth heads of state meeting. She was then met with a rowdy protest with demonstrators chanting for her to leave the country.