Matisyahu Shows Canceled In Santa Fe and Tucson Following Staff Shortages

Matisyahu In Concert Austin, TX
Matisyahu performs at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater on February 10, 2024 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images)

Two Matisyahu shows on his “Hold The Fire Tour” were canceled at the Meow Wolf in Santa Fe and the Rialto in Tucson on Feb. 14 and 15, respectively, in the wake of venue staff shortages and, according to some reports, followed pro-Palestinian activists who opposed the Jewish artist’s performances.

“My band and I should have played a sold-out show at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe last night and we were excited for tonight’s show at the Rialto Theater in Tucson,” Matisyahu posted on his Instagram account on Friday (Feb. 16). “Instead, the staff at these venues refused to come to work, forcing cancellations. Without our permission or approval, the venue in Santa Fe misinformed our fans cancelling the show due to ‘security concerns,’ when the only concern was a group of staff unwilling to work my show.”

Matisyahu’s post goes on to claim that they “offered to supplement any staff shortages on our own dime, but to no avail.”

The Rialto’s website posted a show cancelation notice on their website saying “Due to safety concerns and staff shortage, the Rialto Theatre is unable to continue with tonight’s Matisyahu performance For Feb. 15. We will always prioritize the safety of our employees and our guests We are in the process of refunding all our ticketholders.”

Matisyahu reportedly put on a free show for his fans at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave in Tucson that same day.

“Let me be very clear on this situation. The decision to not have Matisyahu play tonight was not made about politics or religion,” the Rialto’s executive director Cathy Rivers told The Arizona Republic. “This decision was made based on safety. The temperature of the day changed, and the tone was not set by us.”

Rivers also noted in the same interview that, “We have hosted Matisyahu at our theater many times but today was not the day to have him play.’ She also noted that the artist was paid in full and all ticket holders were refunded.

Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf took to Instagram on Feb. 16 to confirm that staffing and security were also an issue for them.  “On February 14th, we canceled a concert at the House of Eternal Return,” the Meow Wolf venue posted. “Two hours before the show was set to begin, we found ourselves without adequate staff to safely manage the sold out crowd. Meow Wolf will always prioritize the safety of our employees and our guests. We are in the process of refunding all ticket holders.”

According to the Arizona Republic report, Albuquerque’s KOAT television cited “several local pro-Palestinian activist groups credited themselves for pressuring Meow Wolf to cancel the event.”
The Santa Fe venue in its post went on to express its solidarity with all people. “Meow Wolf believes in free expression, respectful discourse and the power of art to bring people together. We do not tolerate Antisemitism, Islamophobia, hate, racism, discrimination or violence of any kind.”
Matisyahu expressed a similar unification message in his post. “They do this because they are either anti-Semitic or have confused their empathy for the Palestinian people with hatred for someone like me who holds empathy for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

Matisyahu’s “Hold The Fire” tour picks back up at the Felton Music Hall in Felton, CA tomorrow (Feb. 21) and continues through March 23 in Brooklyn, NY.

Matis tour