Country music legend Willie Nelson has cancelled an upcoming concert at Florida's SeaWorld attraction following criticism from animal rights activists.

Nelson was due to perform at the Orlando sea park next year (14) as part of the venue's Bands, Brew & Bbq events, but organisers have now confirmed he has pulled out.

Nelson's cancellation has been blamed on "scheduling conflicts", according to SeaWorld bosses.

The news comes after activists launched a campaign to persuade Nelson to cancel the show, citing alleged animal cruelty issues which were brought to the surface in new documentary Blackfish, which focuses on the struggle of captive killer whales.

A petition urging Nelson to quit the SeaWorld show had gained more than 9,000 signatures by the time of his withdrawal from the line-up.

Rockers Barenaked Ladies also pulled out of the event, due to pressure over animal rights issues, confirming their exit in a statement, which reads, "We've talked things over, and decided not to play at Seaworld at this time...This is a complicated issue... but we don't feel comfortable proceeding with the gig at this time. The Seaworld folks have been gracious and extended us invitations to the park to learn more about what they do, and how they do it."

SeaWorld's Bands, Brew & Bbq events are due to take place in February (14) and March (14).