One of the upcoming stops on the Justin Timberlake concert tour could be in serious trouble. The show is sold out, but nevertheless may not have a chance to play out. Justin is scheduled to perform at Finland’s largest concert venue, the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, on May 12th. The problem is not with Timberlake, but that the arena is owned by the co-founder of Russia oil trader Gunvor, Gennady Timchenko, along with his brothers Boris and Arkady Rotenberg. The three are close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and are included in a list of visa bans and asset freezes imposed by the United States following Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Reuters reports. This may not bode well for Timberlake fans.
Justin Timberlake is not the only one who might lose this venue. Miley Cyrus, Nine Inch Nails, and Aerosmith are all scheduled for events at Hartwall Arena this spring. United States authorities are discussing with concert promoter LiveNation Finland to determine if the sanctions against the arena owners will affect Justin Timberlake and the American shows already scheduled at that venue. “We are examining the possibility whether this could have an impact on American artists’ shows,” says Nina Castren, chief executive of LiveNation Finland. “If it does, then we will need to come up with a different solution. But I believe that the problem will be solved and the concerts will be held.” Surely Justin Timberlake and his fans, as well as those of the other American artists, hope this proves to be true, but as of yet it remains to be seen.
Former member of ’90s boy band sensation, ‘NSYNC, Justin Timberlake has emerged from his youth a wildly popular celebrity. Many singers who once belonged to a group have attempted to move forward with a solo career, only to find disappointment and the realization that popularity was only to be found within the niche of a group performance. Not so with Justin Timberlake. In the many years since the dissolution of ‘NSYNC, Justin has worked hard to build a solo career, and has found great success. His popularity seems to be ever growing. In a review of Timberlake’s recent performance, which appears in The Independent, Daniel Wray says Justin “seems to be cultivating an almost ‘loveable rogue’ aura around himself, like a James Bond of pop or a zeitgeist Sinatra.”
Though fans are certainly looking forward to seeing Justin Timberlake live in concert on this tour, it is very possible the event in Finland may fall through. Stay tuned to see if the Justin Timberlake show remains scheduled at the Hartwall Arena, or if other accommodations will be made.
[Image via Billboard]