Rototom Sunsplash apologizes to Matisyahu
UPDATE - AUGUST 21st: Matisyahu will perform!
"The US artist Matisyahu has confirmed his participation at Rototom 2015 and will perform on Main Stage on Saturday 22 August, as was originally programmed.
SOJA, Protoje, The Uprising Roots and Etana will complete the last day’s lineup on the festival’s Main Stage."
Matisyahu confirmed his appearance with a statement via Facebook as well:
"Today music wins. Freedom of expression wins. Spain, this Saturday Aug 22nd.
I have always believed in the power of music to unite all people, regardless of religion, politics or geography. This was an excruciating decision, as I felt that my core, essential being was being used as a pawn for political convenience. It is my deep conviction however that acceptance and the ability for rebirth allow us to move forward.
The incredible outpouring of worldwide support from fans and organizations who rose up as one to protest the intrusion of politics into a borderless celebration of music has been humbling. My deepest thanks to the worldwide community for rallying to the cause of musical freedom. Most of all, thank you to my incredible fans and to so many people of all faiths who refused to remain silent in the name of artistic freedom. This is your victory." - Matis
Today [August 19th] Rototom Sunsplash published the statement below to apologize to Matisyahu and reinvites him to perform on August, 22nd as originally planned.
Not only a worldwide media outcry, but also the spanish government condemned the cancellation.
IN THE PRESS
# Spain condemns cancellation of Jewish musician at reggae festival [REUTERS]
# The Matisyahu Israel boycott controversy, explained [VOX]
# Matisyahu Dropped From Concert Lineup for Not Endorsing Palestine [NEWSWEEK]
August, 19th 2015
A Rototom Sunsplash public institutional declaration regarding the cancellation of Matisyahu
Rototom Sunsplash rejects anti-Semitism and any form of discrimination towards the Jewish community; we respect both their culture as religious beliefs and we sincerely apologize for what has occurred, thereby rectifying point 4* in the previous releas …
1. Rototom Sunsplash rejects anti-Semitism and any form of discrimination towards the Jewish community; we respect both their culture as religious beliefs and we sincerely apologize for what has occurred, thereby rectifying point 4* in the previous release regarding this controversy.
2. Rototom Sunsplash would like to publicly apologize to Matisyahu for having cancelled his concert and invite him to perform at the festival next Saturday 22 August, as was initially programmed in the lineup.
3. Rototom Sunplash admits that it made a mistake, due to the boycott and the campaign of pressure, coercion and threats employed by the BDS País Valencià because it was perceived that the normal functioning of the festival could be threatened. All of which prevented the organization from reasoning clearly as to how to deal with the situation properly.
4. After 22 years of history, Rototom Sunsplash reaffirms its commitment to a Culture of Peace and respect between cultures, including the freedom of belief as recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Spanish Constitution.
* “Rototom Sunsplash, after having repeatedly sought dialogue given the unavailability of the artist for comment, in order to clearly declare himself regarding the war and in particular the right of the Palestinian people to have their own State, has decided to cancel the performance of Matisyahu scheduled for August 22”
August, 17th - 2015
Matisyahu statement via Facebook
"The festival organizers contacted me because they were getting pressure from the BDS movement. They wanted me to write a letter, or make a video, stating my positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to pacify the BDS people. I support peace and compassion for all people.
My music speaks for itself, and I do not insert politics into my music. Music has the power to transcend the intellect, ideas, and politics, and it can unite people in the process. The festival kept insisting that I clarify my personal views; which felt like clear pressure to agree with the BDS political agenda. Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements. Were any of the other artists scheduled to perform asked to make political statements in order to perform?
No artist deserves to be put in such a situation simply to perform his or her art. Regardless of race, creed, country, cultural background, etc, my goal is to play music for all people. As musicians that is what we seek. - Blessed Love, Matis"
August, 17th - 2015
Rototom Sunsplash statement via Facebook
The festival directors point of view about what happened with Matisyahu:
“It was easy for many people to say that because Matisyahu was canceled, it meant the Rototom was accepting the pressure of an association (which was denouncing hardly with its words and actions) which lead to a boycott of the festival. The Rototom has suffered many boycotts along its 24 years of existence, but the people of the festival have always had faith in the actions and the thoughts of the festival, which was never influenced by the extorsions of people using power. CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL STATEMENT!