KGUN 9NewsCommunity Inspired JournalismMidtown & Downtown News


Pro-Palestine protestors gather outside of free concert from Reggae artist Matisyahu

Posted at 11:47 PM, Feb 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 01:47:49-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — A pro-Palestine rally took place outside The Rock Music Club ahead of a free concert Thursday night by music artist Matisyahu.

Chants erupted outside the venue around 6:30 P.M. as approximately 100 people protested against the venue's decision to host a free concert by Matisyahu, whose real name is Matthew Paul Miller and who has been vocal in his support for Israel in the past.

"People like Matisyahu and all those attending this show, and all those allowing things like this to happen, are complicit in or allowing genocide," said Kerrick Wolfe, a protester.

This came on the heels of the Rialto Theater canceling Matisyahu's scheduled concert hours before showtime due to "safety concerns and staff shortage," according to flyers posted outside the theater.

"Our government could stop it tomorrow, and that’s what needs to happen—an immediate ceasefire," said Brian Flagg, who showed up at the Rialto Theater anticipating the originally scheduled protest. "That’s why I came, to make sure artists who support genocide are not welcome in Tucson."

The reggae artist saw two scheduled shows canceled in as many days after his Valentine’s Day concert in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was also scrapped for similar reasons.

In a statement posted to his social media, Matisyahu said his team tried to work with staff at the Rialto to keep the concert alive and that he was empathetic to both "Israelis and Palestinians."

Many of the people attending the concert had purchased tickets for the Rialto Theater show and told KGUN 9 they were there just for good music and a good time.

When asked for comment, management at The Rock declined, with security at the door telling KGUN 9 they were not providing any comments at that time.

Kenny Darr is a reporter for KGUN 9. He joined the team in January 2023. Before arriving in Arizona he was an Anchor and Reporter at KADN in Lafayette, LA. Share your story ideas with Kenny by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.