Gaza – a disputed exclave of Palestine, bordering Egypt and Israel – currently at the centre of seriously destructive ongoing conflict involving religion, violence, and war between Israel and Palestine. The tragedy of Gaza and Israel in 2014 is the loss of life – both civilian and military – and the likely dire consequences the conflict will have sociologically, politically and economically for the region in at least the foreseeable future. In dark times, people often turn to art as a form of solace – but the nature of the conflicts in Gaza and the surrounding country mean that even that small reprieve is increasingly unattainable. Due to the ongoing violence and threats of attack on both performers and the crowd, big-name artists have either postponed, cancelled, or have been forced to shut down their scheduled performances. Some have even boycotted, making a political statement by their absence.
As the violence escalates, the artists discussed below have all cancelled performances in Israeli cities as early as 2014 contributing to huge financial losses – many as recently as the month of August. Some plan to reschedule and most have been reimbursed. Although the disappointment of thousands of fans is probably the least of the worries in Israel today, it’s still worth noting that even the simplest of everyday leisure activities and pleasures many of us take for granted are denied especially to the citizens of Gaza trapped in a state of fear and constant war in 2014.
10. Cee Lo Green
Cee Lo Green is a five-time Grammy Award-winning singer, producer, actor, and questionable fashion icon. He reached worldwide fame in 2011 largely thanks to his hit song “Forget You” that won a Grammy for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance”. Green now acts as the Head Coach for the NBC television show The Voice alongside Christina Aguilera. Green was set perform for the first time in Israel on August 9th at Independent Park in Jerusalem. However, the artist cancelled the show. According to his promoter in Israel, Green wanted to make the show, but it wasn’t “the right time” to be promoting a concert.
America is a folk-rock band from London, England who has been playing music since 1972. Their songs like “A Horse with No Name” and “Sister Golden Hair” carried them to the tops of the music charts and they earned themselves a Grammy. In 2007, they released their first level-backed album in over twenty years. On August 7, due to fears of a possible rocket attack on the crowd, the band cancelled their show in Ra’anana.
Kansas is one of the biggest rock bands in the United States and the world. They gained widespread popularity in the 1970s with singles like “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind”, the latter selling more than a million copies, earning it a “gold” status. Despite their popularity, the band had never toured Israel or Gaza. Due to the ongoing conflict in both areas, they decided to cancel their first ever scheduled performance that was to take place on August 5th in Tel Aviv. They stated on their Facebook page they cancelled the show “out of concern for the safety of concert goers, the band, and its crew due to the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza.”
Megadeth is a hard-rock band hailing from Los Angeles, California. They formed in 1983 and have been relentlessly touring ever since. They have fourteen albums under their belt and have become one of the most popular thrash metal bands in the world. Even with their passion for touring, they decided to cancel their show in Tel Aviv among the ongoing conflicts in the area. According to their website, their August 6th show was cancelled because there was no guarantee that the band and their gear would have a guaranteed safe passage.
6. Brian Jonestown Massacre
Brian Jonestown Massacre started playing folk rock in 1988. Although their debut and sophomore albums have been successful, much of their media attention is due to one of their band member’s ongoing drug addiction. The band was set to perform in Tel Aviv on July 15th but they cancelled with only one day’s notice. One of the group’s main members, Anton Newcombe, posted on Twitter that the decision was the result of “a mutiny at the last moment.” Newcombe placed the blame on his band members for the cancellation, as evidenced in a number of his personal Tweets.
5. Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil is world-famous for their incredibly dense and mesmerizing shows featuring costumes, aerobatics and death-defying stunts. Due to Israel’s Operation Protection Edge and the ongoing violence, the modern circus show decided to cancel their performances from August 6th to 21st at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv. The promoters wrote that “it [was] impossible to secure the safety of the ensemble and the audience” and that they have “no choice but to look forward to an alternative and peaceful period to return to Israel as soon as we can.” Fortunately for fans, they received full refunds for the cancelled shows.
4. Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Neil Young is a folk music legend and has been touring the world since the 1960s. He originally hails from a small town in Northern Ontario, Canada, but has lived all over the United States performing songs with his band Crazy Horse. His show was set to take place at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on July 17. In this case, Young was forced to cancel the performance by Israeli authorities due to the potential threat of rocket fire. The Shuki Weiss production company wrote: “It is with deep regret that we are forced to announce the cancellation of the Neil Young and Crazy Horse show.”
3. The Pixies
The Pixies are an American rock band who made themselves known to the world with songs like “Hey” and “Where’s My Mind.” They were often credited by Kurt Cobain of Nirvana as his biggest influence and Cobain has jokingly admitted that his songs were just rip-off attempts. Back in 2010, the band cancelled their first scheduled performance in Israel due to the events at the time being “out of control”. They were set to reschedule for June 9th, 2010 but instead made the tough decision to bow out of performing.
Madonna is the undisputed Queen of Pop in America who has been pushing the boundaries of pop music since the 1980s. Her songs “Like A Virgin” and “Everybody” have stirred up controversy for their revealing and unconventional lyrics, making her an icon on MTV and in mainstream popular culture. In May of 2004, Madonna had multiple concerts scheduled, including in Israel at the Tel Aviv-Yaffo’s Bloomfield stadium. One concert was to be broadcast on television. According to a British tabloid, she received death threats to her herself and her children that ultimately pushed her fears to the limit. She eventually decided to not to go ahead with the concerts. Apparently, the threats came from an unnamed Palestinian group; however, the claims of threats and their source have been disputed.
1. Lana Del-Rey
Lana Del Rey has become one of America’s indie darlings with hit songs like “Video Games” – although she also garnered massive, negative media attention for her lacklustre performance on SNL in 2013. Although her singing abilities have been debated by fans and cynics alike, the singer is one of the most popular in America and the world. She was set perform her first show in Israel at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds on August 20th, but has postponed the concert until further notice. However, an alternative date has yet to be announced by either the singer or her promoters. It is still unclear if the concert is postponed or, in fact, cancelled. Fans of the singer will have to settle for Lady Gaga instead who is still scheduled to perform in Israel on September 13th.