Artists cancelling shows in Russia over Ukraine: from Green Day to Imagine Dragons

Hollywood studios have also announced they are pausing film releases indefinitely

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and British singer Louis Tomlinson. The artists along with their bands have all cancelled upcoming shows in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Photos: AP and AFP
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Rock band Green Day, British singer Louis Tomlinson and pop-rock group Imagine Dragons are the latest major acts to call off concerts in Russia as President Vladimir Putin showed no signs of stopping his attack on Ukraine.

On Monday, Tomlinson, who was scheduled to perform in Kiev and Moscow in July in support of his debut 2020 album Walls, announced the cancellation on Twitter.

"Due to recent events in Ukraine, I have to sadly announce that my tour shows in Moscow and Kiev are cancelled until further notice," the former One Direction member posted. "The safety of my fans is my priority and my thoughts go out to the people of Ukraine and all those suffering from this needless war."

A day earlier, on Sunday, Green Day posted a message on their Instagram Stories, announcing the cancellation of their planned stop in Moscow on Sunday, May 29.

"With heavy hearts, in light of current events we feel it is necessary to cancel our upcoming show in Moscow at Spartak Stadium. We are aware that this moment is not about stadium rock shows, it’s so much bigger than that. But we also know that rock and roll is forever and we feel confident there will be a time and a place for us to return in the future," the American band wrote. "Refunds available at the point of purchase. Stay safe."

Green Day were scheduled to perform as part of their ongoing Hella Mega Tour, which also includes rock bands Fall Out Boy and Weezer in the line-up. The May 29 show, however, was only supposed to feature Green Day. The date has since been removed from the band's website.

Last week, pop rock group Imagine Dragons, who are currently on their Mercury world tour, announced they were cancelling their June dates in Kiev and Moscow.

"In light of recent events, we're sad to announce our Russia and Ukraine shows are cancelled until further notice. Our thoughts are with Ukraine and all others suffering from this needless war," the band posted on Instagram, along with a picture of the Ukrainian flag.

American indie pop group AJR also announced they were cancelling a planned October show in Moscow.

"We are sad to announce that we will be cancelling our upcoming show in Russia," the trio, made up of siblings Adam, Jack and Ryan Met, posted on Twitter. "Thank you to our Russian fans who oppose their country’s unprovoked and criminal behaviour. Our hearts are with the people of Ukraine. At this point, the best thing you can do is share accurate info."

News of AJR's cancellation came after the European Broadcasting Union, which organises the annual Eurovision Song Contest, banned Russia from participating in the competition.

"The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year's Contest would bring the competition into disrepute," the broadcasting union said. "Before making the decision, the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership."

There will now be a total of 40 countries competing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2022, which will take place in Turin, Italy.

Known for its flamboyant costumes and cheesy songs, Eurovision is watched by more than 180 million people in more than four dozen countries as far afield as Australia.

A number of Russian artists are also displaying solidarity with Ukraine. The New York Times reported that Russian rapper Oxxxymiron has cancelled six sold-out concerts in Moscow and St Petersburg.

“I know that most people in Russia are against this war, and I am confident that the more people would talk about their real attitude to it, the faster we can stop this horror,” Oxxxymiron said. “I cannot entertain you when Russian missiles are falling on Ukraine — when residents of Kiev are forced to hide in basements and in the metro, while people are dying.”

Hollywood is also making a statement, with studios Disney, Warner Bros and Sony Pictures Entertainment pausing theatrical releases of coming films in Russia.

Disney said on Monday it is not releasing any new films in the country, starting with the coming Pixar film Turning Red, which features the voices of Sandra Oh and Netflix star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan among others.

Within hours, Warner Bros said it would pause this week's release of The Batman, one of the year's most anticipated films, in Russia.

"We will be pausing our planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming release of Morbius," a Sony Pictures Entertainment representative also said.

The Marvel superhero film starring Jared Leto is scheduled to be released globally on Friday, April 1.

Updated: March 01, 2022, 12:12 PM