Jazz saxophonist and bandleader Kamasi Washington was in Vienna, Austria on Monday, where he was scheduled to perform at Arena Wien as part of a run of European tour dates. Unfortunately for fans in attendance, Washington’s headlining performance came to an abrupt end when Kamasi and his band walked off stage after playing just one song.
Washington’s reasoning for ending his show early came with claims that one of the venue’s security guards assaulted his father (and touring bandmate) Rickey Washington earlier in the day. When Kamasi approached the security guard and one of the security managers, the two laughed in his face, resulting in a shortened show, disappointed fans, and the venue having to figure out what exactly happened.
“Today was a tough day,” Washington’s drummer Tony Austin said of the incident in a statement shared to his Instagram. “As we were entering our show at #arenawien one of the security guards assaulted Kamasi’s father, [Rickey Washington]. When Kamasi calmly asked for [an] explanation from the security guard and his superior, they laughed in his face and told Kamasi that is father was acting like [an] asshole. It took everything in me to not respond to this level of hate with hate in return. Instead Kamasi kindly got on stage, explained to the audience what happened. We played and gave all our love to our audience for one song and left the venue as a united squad.”
That one song performed prior to the show’s abrupt end was, fittingly, “Truth”, the lengthy instrumental from Washington’s Harmony of Difference LP.
Watch Washington address the audience at Arena Wien prior to leaving the stage below.
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The venue has since released a statement claiming that Washington’s father attempted to enter the venue without proper identification or show proof of artist credentials, and even went as far as to insult the security guard watching the entrance with insults that included, “stupid punk ass bitch.”
“Security can not know or recognize every musician in or each tour member,” the venue’s statement reads. “Therefore, it is just required that attention is paid to the access rights: no ticket or no tour pass etc. does not mean admission. Unfortunately, the situation has rocketed and both parties have become unnecessarily loud. After a 10-minute dispute and repeated attempts to enter the hall, it came to a mutual jostling between Kamasi Washington’s father and an arena security staff. No people were beaten or injured and no one fell.”
Fans who purchased tickets to attend the show will receive a full refund, and the venue promised to donate all of the cash earnings from the performance to an unnamed charitable organization.