Guitarist Buddy Guy cancels Israel shows, citing ‘military operations’

Octogenarian blues legend says he’s calling off concerts in Caesarea and Tel Aviv because of ‘ongoing unrest’

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Blues musician Buddy Guy in 2018. (Paul Natkin)
Blues musician Buddy Guy in 2018. (Paul Natkin)

Blues legend Buddy Guy has canceled his two upcoming Israel shows, citing the “ongoing unrest and recent military operations” as his reason for not traveling to the region during his farewell tour.

Guy announced his decision in a statement posted to Facebook overnight: “To all of my fans in Israel,” he wrote, “Due to ongoing unrest and recent military operations, I am choosing not to travel to the region, and unfortunately, I will be cancelling my July 19 and 20 performances. From the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry for any inconvenience. I wish you all peace and love. – BG”

The octogenarian was scheduled to play the Caesarea amphitheater on Wednesday, July 19, and Tel Aviv’s Heichal Hatarbut auditorium on Thursday, July 20, with opening acts by American vocalist Tom Hambridge.

His five-month tour began in mid-February with shows in the US and performances are planned around the world for the next five months.

Promoter Shuki Weiss, who announced Guy’s Israel performances in January, said he was “very disappointed to receive this message from Buddy Guy,” and “very sorry for the best audience in the world.”

Israel’s summer concert schedule is fuller than it has been in years, with visiting performers including Guns N’ Roses, Robbie Williams and The Black Keys having played in June and July, Christina Aguilera due in August as well as Imagine Dragons, and two sold-out shows for Bruno Mars in October.

The Backstreet Boys canceled their planned May 13 performance in Israel due to the military conflict with the Gaza Strip and the threat of rocket attacks, and were not able to reschedule a performance in the coming year.

In the hours prior to The Black Keys performance on Monday night, also promoted by Weiss, the visage of Buddy Guy, along with other upcoming performers, was featured heavily on the venue’s giant video screens.

Weiss, a longtime promoter for international rock n’ roll performers in Israel, stated that ticket holders for Buddy Guy would receive an automatic reimbursement for their purchase, within 45 days.

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