Roger Waters in Frankfurt: Mayoral candidates call for concert to be cancelled

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Roger Waters, co-founder of Bank Floyd, wants to perform at the Frankfurt Festhalle in May. But because he repeatedly made anti-Semitic remarks, three mayoral candidates demanded that the concert be cancelled. There is already a plan for how this could work.

Roger Waters earned rock legend status decades ago. The fact that at the age of ninety-nine he is still filling great halls is proof of that. If the Pink Floyd co-founder performs at the Frankfurt Festhalle at the end of May as planned, a sold-out home can be expected.

But there was stiff resistance to the concert in the historic exhibition hall. With Uwe Becker (CDU), Mike Josef (SPD) and Manuela Rottmann (Greens), the three promising candidates in the March mayoral election have spoken out in favor of canceling the concert.

The reason for this is Waters’ numerous statements, which critics classify as anti-Semitic.

“It’s not just a hall.”

justifying his call for the ceremony to be cancelled, said Becker, who is also the Hesse state government’s anti-Semitism commissioner.

It sounds similar to what SPD candidate Mike Joseph said: “In the past, Waters has used clearly anti-Semitic slogans and symbols.”

Both mayoral candidates maintain that this is unacceptable, especially after the controversy surrounding the documenta scandal in Kassel.

In a press release, Green Party candidate Manuela Rotmann also stated that during the November pogroms of 1938, hundreds of Jewish men were rounded up in the Festival Hall and from there deported to concentration camps.

“It’s not just a hall,” says Rutman. The idea that Waters, who spreads anti-Semitic narratives, should appear in this place of all places is preposterous.

“Empty anti-Semitism about Israel”

Waters has repeatedly made a name for himself as a supporter of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement in recent years. The campaign aims to isolate the State of Israel politically, economically and culturally in order to – as it describes itself – end the occupation of Arab lands. But critics accuse the campaign of questioning Israel’s right to exist.

In the past, Waters himself has repeatedly asked artists not to perform in Israel. In interviews, he has also gone so far as to equate Israel with the Nazi regime and the apartheid state of South Africa.

Baker stressed that “in the end, this has nothing to do with freedom of speech, but with pure anti-Semitism related to Israel.”

Messi sees no legal recourse

Concert cancellation request problem: The concert promoter’s contract is legally valid. The Frankfurt Trade Fair management takes the position that it has no legal recourse.

“We are not aware of any judgment against Mr. Waters or any current trial,” said a spokesperson for Messe GmbH when asked by human resources. Therefore, you are supposed to act in a “lawful” manner towards the contractual partner and allow the concert to take place as planned.

The city and state can issue cancellation instructions

But this is not the last word in the concert dispute. The shareholders of Messe Frankfurt GmbH are the city of Frankfurt (60 per cent) and the state of Hesse (40 per cent). If the two shareholders agree to a common position, management may soon be instructed to cancel the concert.

And SPD candidate Mike Joseph, who is also a member of the Justice of the Peace as chief of the planning division, wants to lay the groundwork for that with a corresponding judge’s decision this week. The Frankfurt city government is expected to make a decision on the corresponding application on Friday. “It’s about going to the business level,” says Joseph. “There’s been enough discussion.”

So it seems that canceling the concert is not far off. However, this could cost Messe GmbH dearly. Because if the worst comes to the worst, they are likely to face a contractual penalty. “But I think that the damage to the fair and the city will be greater if the concert takes place,” says Uwe Becker.

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