Controversial Seagal Will Not Perform at Haapsalu Blues Festival (2)
After a media row erupted over the scheduled presence of pro-Kremlin US action movie star and musician Steven Seagal will not perform at the Augustibluus Festival in Haapsalu at the beginning of August with his eponymous blues band.
The organizers of the festival said they pulled the plug on Seagal's appearance, saying they did not want the festival being overshadowed by linking it to debates over political policy.
The blues festival has made an effort to bring more notable acts into Haapsalu, as well as blues performers from around the world, especially from the US - the birthplace of blues music.
"Steven Seagal is an interesting personality who has been engaged more than 50 years in music," a festival statement said. However, the organizers said Seagal's statements in support of Russia's annexation of Crimea, and his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past, was an unpleasant surprise for the festival.
Seagal was full of praise for Putin in an appearance on Russia Today in March.
"I know him well enough to know that he is one of the best leaders in the world, if not the best ever. He cares about Russia more than anyone else I know. And he is not afraid to stand up and do the things that need to be done," he said.
The announcement of Seagal's performance at the festival was met with harsh public criticism from Estonian singer Tõnis Mägi, who called for a boycott, as well as Foreign Minister Urmas Paet.
The festival will begin on August 21. A schedule of events can be found here, which will include 30 different acts from 11 countries.