Barclays suspends sponsorship of Download, Latitude and Isle Of Wight festivals | EUROtoday

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By Mark Savage, Music Correspondent


Musician CMAT was amongst a number of artists who pulled out of Latitude

Barclays has suspended its sponsorship of all music festivals staged by promoter Live Nation in 2024, together with Download, Latitude and the Isle of Wight.

The transfer comes after a number of acts pulled out of the occasions in protest on the financial institution’s funding hyperlinks to arms firms that commerce with Israel.

Artists together with nation singer CMAT, steel band Ithaca and comic Joanne McNally all withdrew from deliberate slots this summer season.

A spokesperson for Live Nation stated: “Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of our festivals.”

The financial institution signed a five-year sponsorship take care of Live Nation in 2023. It is known that the suspension doesn’t apply to the complete time period of the contract.

Mercury-nominated band Lankum, who’re on the line-up for Suffolk’s Latitude competition in July, have been among the many first to reply to the announcement.

“We welcome the news,” they stated on Instagram.

“Since the beginning of the campaign there has been great collective effort from a number of bands, artists and fans to get to this point.

“Standing collectively is the perfect foot ahead.”

Ticketholders unaffected

The development comes after more than 100 artists boycotted Brighton’s Great Escape Festival in May over the event’s ties to Barclays.

Campaigners have accused the bank of increasing its investment in arms companies that trade with Israel, amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

A spokesperson for Barclays told the BBC: “Barclays was requested and has agreed to droop participation within the remaining Live Nation festivals in 2024.

“Barclays customers who hold tickets to these festivals are not affected and their tickets remain valid. The protesters’ agenda is to have Barclays debank defence companies which is a sector we remain committed to as an essential part of keeping this country and our allies safe.”

They added that the protests had led to intimidation of workers and vandalism of their branches.

“The only thing that this small group of activists will achieve is to weaken essential support for cultural events enjoyed by millions,” they added.

“It is time that leaders across politics, business, academia and the arts stand united against this.”

A variety of bands pulled out of this weekend’s Download competition at Donington Park in Leicestershire.

“We cannot sacrifice the principles held by this band and by the scene we come from and represent, just for personal gain,” thrash steel band Pest Control posted on Instagram.

The bands Speed, Scowl, Zulu and Ithaca additionally joined the boycott.

The latter stated: “Once we were made aware of Barclays’ involvement in Download we knew we could no longer participate. This moment of solidarity is an opportunity for festival organisers to reflect carefully on who they take money from and see that the younger generation of bands will no longer be silent.”

Irish singer CMAT additionally pulled out of Latitude, saying she would “not allow my precious work, my music, which I love so much, to get into bed with violence”.

Taskmaster star Joanne McNally cancelled her headline set within the competition’s comedy tent, saying she was “committed to minimising my complicity in what I consider to be a pattern of abhorrent, unlawful violence”.

Fellow comic Grace Campbell, the daughter of Sir Tony Blair’s former spokesperson Alastair Campbell, additionally pulled out of the competition, as did Alexandra Haddow, who wrote on Instagram: “I can’t in good conscience take the fee.”

‘We have been heard’

Barclays has beforehand stated it recognises “the profound human suffering” attributable to the “complex and long-running conflict” in Gaza.

However, it insisted it doesn’t make its personal investments, however offers monetary companies to companies “including those in the defence sector”.

That consists of firms “that supply defence products to Nato and other allies including Ukraine”.

It added that “Barclays does not directly invest in these companies” and that “decisions on the implementation of arms embargoes to other nations” needs to be taken by governments.

Protest group Bands Boycott Barclays referred to as the financial institution’s resolution to droop its ties with the festivals a “victory”.

“As musicians, we were horrified that our music festivals were partnered with Barclays, who are complicit in the genocide in Gaza through investment, loans and underwriting of arms companies supplying the Israeli military,” they stated.

“Hundreds of artists have taken action this summer to make it clear that this is morally reprehensible, and we are glad we have been heard.”