While Coldplay continued to formally deny plans for upcoming concerts in Israel and the West Bank, an Israeli PR company sent out photos of band members in Israel with the directors of a music festival production company, and said that is exactly what the UK group is finalizing.
Nidar Oz Communications sent out photos of the mega-band’s singer Chris Martin and guitarist Jonny Buckland at the weekend with Israeli music festival producers Roe Schwartz and Ilan Factor, and Eitan Bar Zeev, the CEO of the Big shopping center chain.
Schwartz and Factor run Forum Factor, an events production company that handles major music festivals in Israel.
The PR firm said Martin was in Israel in order to sign contracts and scout locations, though Martin in a tweet Friday had denied this.
“Now it’s official and exciting!” stated the Nidar Oz press release sent Friday, relaying the information about Coldplay’s arrival in Israel and tour of possible sites for the future performances. “Within the framework of signing the contract, there will be a cooperative effort with Israeli and Palestinian artists who will participate at the height of a number of performances that will allow all residents of the area and neighboring countries to watch and enjoy the biggest band in the world.”
The PR company did not explain how that cooperative effort and participation of neighboring Arab countries would take place.
On the Coldplay Instagram and Twitter accounts, Martin denied the latest flurry of reports that the band is finalizing concerts here in November.
“We are in Israel and Palestine to listen and learn and that’s all; there is no concert scheduled, we are just having an interesting and enlightening trip to learn about the area.” Reports of a signed contract to play here were “incorrect,” he said.
— Coldplay (@coldplay) February 24, 2017
According to Nidar Oz, the band members landed in Israel on Thursday to tour around Tel Aviv, Jericho, Jerusalem and Rawabi — the first planned city built for and by Palestinians, in the West Bank near Birzeit and Ramallah.
Channel 2 also reported Friday that Martin was visiting the cities to finalize venues for the shows in early November and that tickets would go on sale soon.
Once the news of Coldplay’s arrival in Israel hit social media, there were hundreds of responses from anti-Israel, pro-BDS sources begging Martin to reconsider any plan to perform in Israel.
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) February 25, 2017
Coldplay had last month said through a representative that earlier reports on upcoming shows in Israel and/or the West Bank were false. At the time, Channel 2 had reported that unprecedented joint concerts were scheduled for November 3 and November 4, at an outdoor location north of the Dead Sea, and that tickets would be sold both in Israel and in the Palestinian territories.
Clearly Martin and Buckland weren’t keeping a low profile this weekend; a lucky Israeli fan named Bar Schwartz bumped into the Coldplay members, as shown on her Instagram feed, which featured a photo of her and her friends with Martin and Buckland.
She wrote, “Chris Martin and Jon Buckland! omg!!!!! #coldplay”
This is Martin’s second visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories in less than four months.
He came to Israel in November 2016, directly from Mumbai, where the band headlined the Global Citizen Festival. During that visit, Martin was said to be touring sites for a possible Global Citizen Festival here.
Representatives for Coldplay and the Global Citizen Festival did not respond to Times of Israel requests for more information about planned shows in Israel.
Two recent Coldplay videos were directed by Israelis.