Sting was supposed to perform at the Astana Day Festival in Kazakhstan on July 4th, but after being contacted by Amnesty International, he decided to cancel the appearance.
The singer announced on his website that he made the decision after learning about the “crackdown against oil workers, their union leaders, their legal representatives and of the human rights NGOs working with them.”
Sting said about the decision, “Hunger strikes, imprisoned workers and tens of thousands on strike represents a virtual picket line which I have no intention of crossing. The Kazakh gas and oil workers and their families need our support and the spotlight of the international media on their situation in the hope of bringing about positive change.”
This wouldn’t have just been a concert for the people. Sting’s performance would have been a part of a series of events designed to celebrate the city’s birthday as well as the country’s independence.
The city of Astana isn’t publicizing Sting’s real reason for canceling his appearance. On their website they said, “According to the organizers, Sting’s concert is canceled due to reasons beyond the control of the Kazakh side, since all conditions of technical and everyday artist’s rider were performed at 100%.”
Perhaps Sting’s refusal to perform due to the plight of the gas and oil workers will make the Kazakh president consider how his actions appear on the international stage.