Ukrainian band Antytila have been told they can’t play an upcoming benefit concert for their country because its “only able to focus on the humanitarian situation”.
After hearing of the concert’s announcement, the members of Antytila – who are currently fighting the Russians in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv – sent a video message to Ed Sheeran via Facebook to ask to play the concert remotely from their home country.
The ‘Bad Habits’ hitmaker responded by telling the band: “I just watched your video this morning, thank you so much for sending it. Firstly I just wanted to say to all Ukrainians, I love you, I stand with you and I’m so proud to be playing this fundraising event next week.”
However, Antytila have now been told they will not be permitted to perform as part of the benefit, with organisers explaining that the event must avoid association with the military.
“Because we are standing with guns and helmets, we are soldiers, and this concert is not for soldiers but for helping civilian people,” singer Taras Topolya said in a video posted to social media.
The singer said the band accepted the stance taken by the concert: “First of all we are musicians, helmets and body armour are temporary, but we understand the answer and we accept it.”
He added: “The main thing is the people of the United Kingdom must stand with Ukraine.”
@antytila_offic’s response “First of all, we’re musicians. Helmets, body armour is temporary”
I’ve also written to them about the unwavering support shown on social media and that the world is starting to know about their music. When the war ends, we’ll watch them live!
— Benjamin Lim (@ohitsbenji) March 26, 2022
Organisers for the event issued a statement on the band being refused a slot: “On a personal level, we do of course completely understand why they are bravely fighting for their country, but for this specific concert, it would not be possible for us to feature them, as we are only able to focus on the humanitarian situation, not the politics or the military conflict.
“We will be featuring the voices of Ukrainians within the concert, alongside the many performers who are united with music and in the desire for this terrible conflict to end as soon as possible.”
The show’s organisers said it sent its “genuine thanks” to the band for their offer to play.
Sheeran is set to perform with Camila Cabello, Emeli Sandé, Gregory Porter, Snow Patrol, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Manic Street Preachers, Tom Odell and Becky Hill at the show, which takes place at Resorts World Arena Birmingham.
All sponsorship and advertising revenue generated from the broadcast of the event – which is expected to raise over £3million – will be donated by ITV to the DEC fund.
The likes of Arcade Fire, Patti Smith and Franz Ferdinand have performed at Ukraine fundraiser shows recently, while London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire will host ‘A Night For Ukraine’ tonight (March 25).
Elsewhere, The Cure launched a new charity band t-shirt as Massive Attack confirmed plans to sell off special artwork to help victims of the Ukraine invasion.