Lana Del Rey has called off her Sept. 7 performance at Israel’s Meteor Festival. It would have been her first time performing in the country, after cancelling a previous engagement in 2014.
Writing on social media, Del Rey commented: “It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally. … therefore, I’m postponing my appearance at the Meteor Festival.”
Del Rey was to headline the inaugural Meteor Festival, set to take place at Kibbutz Lehavot Habashan, outside of Tiberias in the upper Galilee region of Israel, from Sept. 6 through 8. Some 15,000 attendees are expected at the event, the brainchild of Eran Arielli, whose Tel Aviv-based concert promotion company Naranjah is responsible for bringing scores of beloved Western indie bands to the country.
A statement in Hebrew posted on the Meteor website reads:
“Just got the word that Lana will be a no-show at Meteor. We do appreciate her for choosing meteor to help her score some press attention.
With that, Meteor will take place with the same badass mix of local and international talent that we’ve been working with this past year. The mission that we’ve all been on together is reaching the finish line in just a matter of days as planned: A pioneering, independent festival in the Upper Galilee of a magnitude and quality that has yet to be seen in the Middle East.”
A source tells Variety that Del Rey had already been paid for the performance, receiving a fee of $700,000. Although the cost will be reimbursed, and the festival is nearly sold out, organizers are said to be livid at the last-minute cancellation, especially considering Del Rey allegedly approached the festival about appearing.
Western artists who perform in Israel often face protests and social media criticism from believers of the BDS movement, which calls for “boycott, divestment and sanctions” against the country. Among the most vocal proponents of the stance is Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters.
Del Rey had previously defended her decision to perform in Israel, writing on Aug. 19: “I believe music is universal and should be used to bring us together. … Performing in Tel Aviv is not a political statement or a commitment to the politics there just like singing here in California doesn’t mean my views are in alignment w my current governments opinions or sometimes inhuman actions.”
Among the 50-plus acts on the Meteor bill are ASAP Ferg, Pusha T, Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington, Of Montreal, Ariel Pink and Rhye in addition to local artists like Noga Erez, Balkan Beat Box, Geva Alon and Hadag Nahash.
Del Rey is booked by Primary Talent International out of the U.K. and is managed by London-based Tap Management.