Polish venue cancels Roger Waters gigs after Ukraine comments

Reports broke about an open letter Waters wrote to Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska urging her to ask her husband to choose "a different route" and criticizing the West for arming Ukraine.

Roger Waters speaks during a #FreeAssange rally to urge US Attorney General Merrick Garland to drop all charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, outside of the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, US, August 17, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)
Roger Waters speaks during a #FreeAssange rally to urge US Attorney General Merrick Garland to drop all charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, outside of the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, US, August 17, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/LEAH MILLIS)

Concerts by Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters were canceled by a venue in the Polish city of Krakow, organizers said on Sunday after the artist's comments on the war in Ukraine caused a storm of criticism.

Waters had been due to appear in Krakow next April, but Polish media reports about an open letter he wrote to Ukraine's first lady Olena Zelenska urging her to ask her husband to choose "a different route" and criticizing the West for supplying Ukraine with arms provoked a fierce backlash.

"Live Nation Polska and Tauron Arena Krakow have canceled Roger Waters' concert," organizers said in a statement on the venue's website. They did not elaborate on the reason for the cancellation.

On Saturday, state-run news agency PAP reported that a spokesperson for the Tauron Arena had said that Walters' management had canceled the concert without giving a reason.

Support for Ukraine in Poland

Poland counts itself among Kyiv's staunchest allies, and public support for the Ukrainian cause is very high.

Former rock band ''Pink Floyd'' musician Roger Waters performs on stage during his tour, at Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, US, September 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY/FILE PHOTO)Former rock band ''Pink Floyd'' musician Roger Waters performs on stage during his tour, at Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, US, September 18, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/AMR ALFIKY/FILE PHOTO)

“Lukasz Wantuch has threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me 'Persona non grata' because of my public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace.”

Roger Waters

Local councilors in Krakow had been due to vote on a resolution declaring Waters 'Persona non grata' on Wednesday.

In a social media post, Waters said that it was not true that he or his management had canceled the concerts and criticized local councilor Lukasz Wantuch over the vote to declare him unwelcome in the city.

"Lukasz Wantuch has threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me 'Persona non grata' because of my public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace," Waters wrote in a post on Facebook.

"If Mr Lukasz Wantuch achieves his aim, and my forthcoming concerts in Krakow are canceled, it will be a sad loss for me, because I have been looking forward to sharing my message of love with the people of Poland."

Wantuch said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning that he was in Ukraine and would comment on Waters' statement in the evening.