The British rock legend and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters’ planned April concerts in Poland have been canceled amid a backlash to the musician’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Live Nation Poland, promoter of the concert, confirmed the cancellation on Saturday (24), but did not specify the reason.
The cancellation comes after Waters, 79, posted a controversial open letter on her website in early September to Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska.
In the letter, Waters wrote that he was opposed to sending weapons from the West to Ukraine to help the embattled country in its war against invading Russia.
Waters also accused Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of backtracking on his 2019 election campaign promises and said, without offering evidence, that “the forces of extreme nationalism that lurked malevolently in the shadows have since ruled Ukraine.”
Waters accused these “extremist nationalists” of putting Ukraine on the path to war with Russia by crossing a “set of red lines” laid down by the Kremlin.
This Sunday (25), Waters denied having canceled the shows. The shows were planned to take place in Krakow as part of their international tour.
In a Facebook statement addressed to British newspapers The Guardian and Poland’s Gazeta Krakowska, Waters denied that he or his manager had canceled the shows in Poland.
The musician blamed Lukasz Wantuch, a Krakow councilor who wrote his own Facebook post on September 10 opposing Waters’ concerts.
“It is true that a Krakow councilor, Mr Łukasz Wantuch, threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me ‘Persona non grata’ because of my public efforts to encourage everyone involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the US and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace rather than escalating things to a bitter end that could be nuclear war and the end of all life on this planet,” Waters wrote on Facebook.
“Although this fellow Łukasz Wantuch seems to know nothing of my work history, all my life, at some personal cost, in the service of human rights, he, in an article in a local newspaper, urged the good people of Krakow to not buy tickets to my show,” added Waters.
He went on to say that if Wantuch “achieves his goal… it will be a sad loss for me” and for the residents of Krakow as well.
“Your draconian censorship of my work will deny them the opportunity to make up their own minds,” concluded Waters.
Wantuch’s post expressed his opposition to Waters’ concert, calling the musician “an open supporter of Putin” and his planned performances in Krakow “a disgrace to our city”.
“Roger Waters, an outspoken supporter of Putin, wants to perform at the Tauron Arena in Krakow,” Wantuch wrote. “On Wednesday we have a session of the Krakow City Council and I will speak with the president and councilors to block this. Such an event would be a disgrace to our city. Let him sing in Moscow.”
Wantuch responded to Waters’ statement on Sunday by writing that he was still in Ukraine but would “make an offer” for Waters in the evening.
Earlier this year, Pink Floyd released their first new song in 28 years, a single called “Hey Hey Rise Up” to raise funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Waters, who left the band in 1984, did not contribute to the music.
About 6,000 civilians have been confirmed dead in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, the UN says.
*Sarah Diab and Claudia Rebaza of CNN contributed to this story.
Source: CNN Brasil