Brirtish rock legend and co-founder of Pink Floyd’s planned concerts in Poland in April, Roger Waters, have been canceled amid a backlash to the musician’s stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Live Nation Poland, the concert promoter, confirmed the cancellation on Saturday but did not specify a 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 opposed the West sending arms to Ukraine to help the beleaguered 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 providing evidence, that “the forces of extreme nationalism that had lurked, malevolent, in the shadows, have since ruled Ukraine”.
Waters went on to accuse these “extremist nationalists” of putting Ukraine on the path to war with Russia by crossing “a number of red lines” set by the Kremlin.
On Sunday, Waters denied canceling the shows himself. The shows were to take place in Krakow as part of his international tour.
In a statement on Facebook to British newspapers The Guardian and Polish newspaper Gazeta Krakowska, Waters denied that he or his management had canceled the shows in Poland. He instead pointed the blame at Lukasz Wantuch, a Krakow city councilman who wrote his own Facebook post on September 10 against Waters’ broadcasts.
“It is true that a city councilor from Krakow, a Mr. Łukasz Wantuch, threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me ‘Persona non grata’ because of my public efforts to encourage all those involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the United States and Russia, to work for 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 guy Łukasz Wantuch seems to know nothing about my life-long work history, at personal cost, in the service of human rights, he, in an article in a local newspaper, urged the brave people from Krakow not to buy tickets for my show,” Waters added.
He went on to say that if Wantuch “achieves his goal…it will be a sad loss for me” as well as for the people of Krakow.
“His draconian censorship of my work will deny them the opportunity to form their own opinion,” Waters concluded.
Wantuch’s post expressed his opposition to Waters’ show, calling the musician an “open Putin supporter” and his planned performances in Krakow “a disgrace to our city.”
“Roger Waters, an outspoken Putin supporter, wants to play at Tauron Arena in Krakow,” Wantuch wrote. “On Wednesday we have a session of the Krakow city council and I will speak to the president and the councilors to block this. Such an event would be a shame for our city. Let him sing in Moscow.
Wantuch responded to Waters’ statement on Sunday, writing that he was still in Ukraine but “would have an offer” for Waters that evening.
Earlier this year, Pink Floyd released their first new music in 28 years, a single titled “Hey Hey Rise Up” to raise money for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Waters, who left the group in 1984, did not contribute to the song.
Nearly 6,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion, according to the United Nations.