Sting canceled his concert in Kazakhstan because he believed performing in the country would go against everything he stood for. The former frontman of The Police withdrew from the gig which was held as part of the 13th anniversary celebration of Kazakhstan's new capital, Astana, after he was apprised by Amnesty International about major human rights issue in the country.
He was informed that there were repression and crackdown from the government against oil workers, their union leaders, legal representatives and non-profit organizations working with them. Additionally, he was warned that if he goes ahead with the concert, his decision would be seen as an endorsement of President Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and his policies.
On May 26 this year, a number of oil workers at UzenMunaiGas, a unit of London-listed oil producer KazMunaiGas Exploration Production, went on strike in the country, protesting against the cut of their salaries and the imprisonment of their lawyer on false charges. Instead of meeting the protesters to solve the problems, the company fired them for breaching their contract terms and called the strike illegal.
Responding to this info, Sting reached out to his fans to make sure that he condemned such policy by calling it "unacceptable." He shared, "Hunger strikes, imprisoned workers and tens of thousands on strike represents a virtual picket line which I have no intention of crossing." He added, "The Kazakh gas and oil workers and their families need our support and the spotlight of the international media on their situation in the hope of bringing about positive change."
Sting was supposed to perform in Kazakhstan on Monday, July 4 at Astana's futuristic Republican Velodrome venue. He was booked to perform his acclaimed Symphonicity concert.