Roger Waters concert is back on after German court intervenes

Waters’ planned concert in Frankfurt was cancelled after city authorities accused him of being 'one of the world’s best-known antisemites'


The former Pink Floyd lead singer, Roger Waters, has secured a temporary victory in his bid to perform a controversial series of concerts in Germany. 

Two months ago, Waters’ planned concert in Frankfurt, set to take place on May 28, was cancelled after city authorities accused him of being “one of the world’s best-known antisemites”.

Frankfurt city government, which, jointly with the state of Hesse, owns the Festhalle where the concert was scheduled, said Waters openly backed a campaign of boycott against Israel, and noted the use of apparent antisemitic imagery in the musician’s previous concerts, such as a balloon shaped like a pig, embossed with a star of David and various corporate logos.

The Festhalle has its own dark history — more than 3,000 Jews are assembled there in November 1938 before being sent to concentration camps.

But Waters announced he was taking legal action to reverse the cancellation, insisting: “I fight for all of our human rights, including the right to free speech. We are on the road to Frankfurt. Frankfurt, here we come!”

On Monday, the Frankfurt Administrative Court ruled in his favour, ruling that the memory of the Jewish deportees who were forcibly gathered at the Festhalle would not be tainted by the singer exercising his “artistic freedom.” 

While the court conceded that Waters’ use of Nazi imagery in his stage show was “tasteless,” it was also the case that the singer did not “glorify or relativise the National Socialist atrocities or identify with National Socialist racial ideology,” a spokeswoman for the court told German media. 

The decision can still be appealed at the Administrative Court for the state of Hesse.

Waters is also scheduled to perform in Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich as part of his “This is Not A Drill 2023” tour. 

An attempt to ban his Munich show at the Olympiahalle failed over concerns that Waters could sue for breach of contract. 

Now the Munich city council has urged the Olympiahalle to prepare signs, flags and other symbols on the day of the concert that would send a “clear signal for international understanding and international solidarity, against antisemitism and for the right to exist of the state of Israel and the sovereignty of Ukraine.”

Last year, in a clear signal of its warmth of feeling towards the Jewish world, Munich hosted a landmark Conference of European Rabbis event in which 400 rabbis debated and celebrated, in the city many describe as Nazism’s birthplace.

Roger Waters has become one of the most outspoken critics of Israel, and has made frequent incendiary comments about the alleged power of the “Jewish lobby” in America, and Israel’s supposed programme of “genocide” targeting the Palestinians.

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