Roger Waters denies cancelling Polish shows over comments on Russia-Ukraine war

“I have been looking forward to sharing my message of love with the people of Poland,” says the former Pink Floyd leader

Roger Waters has denied reports that he’d cancelled the two Polish dates of his 2023 world tour, instead accusing a councillor in Krakow – the city he’s slated to perform in next April – of attempting to censor the former Pink Floyd leader.

Waters is due to perform at Krakow’s Tauron Arena on Friday April 21 and Saturday 22. The dates have been removed from Waters’ website, however, with a report from The Guardian claiming they were cancelled over backlash he’d received after making incendiary comments on the Russia-Ukraine war.

In the report, it was said that Lukasz Pytko, a representative for the Tauron Arena, claimed Waters’ management “decided to withdraw [from their scheduled booking] without giving any reason”. It was also reported that city councillors in Krakow were planning to vote on a proposal to deem Waters a “persona non grata”, citing their “indignation” over the artist’s public stance on the aforementioned war.

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Waters has now shared a statement denying the report, asserting that neither he, nor his management, have cancelled his upcoming shows in Krakow. 

Explaining his side of the controversy, the artist wrote: “It is true that a town councillor in Krakow, a Mr Łukasz 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, rather than escalate matters towards a bitter end that could be nuclear war and the end of all life on this planet.

“Not withstanding that this chap Łukasz Wantuch seems to know nothing of my history of working, 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 not to buy tickets to my show. Not very democratic sir?”

Waters went on to assure fans that he does in fact plan to perform in Krakow next April, noting that if Wantuch is successful in having the artist barred from entering the city, “it will be a sad loss for me”. He continued: “I have been looking forward to sharing my message of love with the people of Poland, something I have been doing on many tours over a career that has lasted in excess of 50 years.”

Waters described Wantuch’s alleged attempt at censorship as “draconian”, claiming it will “deny [the people of Krakow] the opportunity to make up their own minds” on the opinions shared in Waters’ current live show, ‘This Is Not A Drill’.

See the full statement below:

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HEY! ŁUKASZ WANTUCH, "LEAVE THEM KIDS ALONE!"Correction Roger Waters didn’t cancel Krakow Gigs.To Nadeem Badshah at…

Posted by Roger Waters on Saturday, September 24, 2022

Tickets for Waters’ Polish shows are not available to purchase online, with Live Nation, Ticketmaster and the venue itself all having removed their pages on the shows. This doesn’t appear to be the case for any other dates on Waters’ upcoming European tour, which will officially kick off in Lisbon, Portugal on Friday March 17.

Last month, Waters spurred controversy over his takes on the Russia-Ukraine war, claiming in a heated interview with a CNN journalist that “this war is basically about the action and reaction of NATO pushing right up to the Russian border, which they promised they wouldn’t do when [the final leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail] Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR from the whole of Eastern Europe”.

The artist then penned an open letter to Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, suggesting she persuade her husband to work toward a ceasefire with Russia and “stop the slaughter”.

Waters is currently underway with the North American leg of his ‘This Is Not A Drill’ tour, with back-to-back shows in LA scheduled for Tuesday September 27 and Wednesday 28. The tour will roll on until mid-October, when Waters and his band play two shows in Mexico City. Find remaining tickets for those dates here

Following his European run, Waters will perform a trio of shows in the UK – Birmingham on Wednesday May 31, Glasgow on Friday June 2, and London on Tuesday June 6. Like all shows on the run, these are billed as being part of Waters’ “first ever farewell tour”, on which he’ll perform cuts from the Pink Floyd albums ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Animals’, ‘The Wall’ and ‘The Final Cut’. Find tickets here.

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