Frankfurt court overturns ruling barring Roger Waters from playing live in the city

Roger Waters onstage
(Image credit: Sergione Infuso - Corbis)

Former Pink Floyd man Roger Waters has won his legal with authorities in the German city of Frankfurt, after local authorities overturned the city council decision to cancel his upcoming show at the Festhalle concert hall.

The council had originally moved to deny Waters the right to perform at the venue – which is 60% owned by the city – amid accusations of antisemitism, saying Waters "repeatedly called for a cultural boycott of Israel and drew comparisons to the apartheid regime in South Africa" and referencing Waters' use of a pig-shaped balloon emblazoned with a Star of David alongside corporate logos on previous tours.

Last month Waters' received support in the form of a petition that included signatures from his former Pink Floyd bandmate Nick Mason alongside Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello, Brian Eno and Eric Clapton, before revealing earlier this month that he taken legal action against the council.

“Frankfurt Council were legally required to respond to Roger Waters [sic] interim injunction by midnight April 14,” Waters wrote. “Did they? Nobody knows? We can only guess at what’s going on in Frankfurt? Are they playing for time? Who knows?

“Not that it matters much! We’re coming anyway! Because human rights matter! Because free speech matters! Yes!"

Frankfurt’s administrative court has now declared that the show can go ahead, calling the show's use of "symbolism manifestly based on that of the National Socialist regime" tasteless, but citing artistic freedom among the reasons for the decision and confirming that the concert should be "viewed as a work of art." The court also ruled that Waters' show “did not glorify or relativise the crimes of the Nazis or identify with Nazi racist ideology."

The court's ruling has been condemned by the International Auschwitz Committee and the Central Council of Jews in Germany. Frankfurt City Council retain the right the appeal the decision. 

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.