The management of The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has confirmed that US pop icon Taylor Swift has withdrawn from performing live at the Flemington Racecourse, headlining Melbourne Cup Day (5 November) celebrations.
Marked as the singer’s only performance in Australia for 2019, promoting her new album ‘Lover’, Swift had been scheduled to play a televised mini-set at Flemington’s ‘Mounting Yard’ ahead of the start of the Melbourne Cup race – Australian racing’s marquee event, billed as ‘the race that stops a nation’.
However, on Saturday, Michael Gudinski Chairman of ‘Mushroom Events’ – Australia’s leading live music promoter and the firm charged with Swift’s Flemington booking – confirmed that the singer had withdrawn her participation.
“Regrettably, Taylor is no longer able to make it to this year’s Melbourne Cup. Changes to her Asian promo schedule have made it logistically impossible for her to be here,” read the Mushroom Events statement. “To all of Taylor’s fans, we hope to see Taylor in Australia in 2020.”
Entertainment news sources report that Swift had come under pressure to withdraw her Melbourne Cup appearance from a number of animal rights groups, including PETA and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses.
Furthermore, animal rights activists had launched an online campaign demanding that Swift cancel her Melbourne appearance and instead #NupToTheCup.
The planned performance of Taylor Swift had been branded as a major coup by VRC for its promotion of the ‘Melbourne Cup Week’ (2-9 November Flemington Racecourse) during Australia’s Spring Racing Carnival.
Swift, who is widely recognised as pop’s biggest artist, was central to VRC management plans to break The Melbourne Cup’s global viewership figures for its 2019 event.
Confirming Swift’s cancellation, VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said: “The VRC has learned that Taylor Swift is now unable to make the trip to Australia and therefore cannot be with us on Melbourne Cup Day. Obviously, this is disappointing for everyone. We understand how important the pre-Cup entertainment is and we look forward to providing an update shortly.”