June 14, 2024

More artists drop out of Download Festival amid boycott

Hours after Leeds-based thrash metal outfit Pest Control announced a boycott of this weekend’s Download Festival on June 10th, due to its ties to Barclays bank amid Israel’s war with Gaza, three more artists have joined the protest.

Pest Control announced their protest earlier on June 10th, due to Barclays ties to weapons manufacturers assisting the actions of Israeli forces in Gaza. Following their announcement, Californian hardcore punks Scowl followed suit, posting a statement to social media which read, “We will not be playing Download Fest this year due to to Barclays Bank sponsorship of the event and Barclays connection to Israel and the genocide Israel is committing in Palestine,” before concluding, “Free Palestine”.

Speed, the hardcore punk band from Sydney, Australia, quickly joined in on the boycott, announcing their departure from the line-up “due to the recent news of Barclays Bank’s sponsorship of the event and their involvement in the war in Gaza”. Although, it is worth noting here that Download Festival has been sponsored by the bank for multiple years.

The fourth act to participate in the boycott is Zulu. The Los Angeles hardcore group posted to Instagram announcing that they had “just got word of Barclays bank” and promptly pulled their name from the line-up. The celebrated hardcore outfit concluded their statement by saying, “It’s free Palestine y’all don’t get it twisted,” adding that an alternate show would be announced for the date they were to play at Download.

With Download Festival now sold-out and due to take place at Donnington Park from June 14th until June 17th, it is unforeseen just how many more artists will remove themselves from the line-up before the gates open on Friday. Scowl noted in their post that it was Pest Control who first alerted them to the boycott, so perhaps we will see some more artists dropping out in the coming days.

The rock festival is the latest in a series of live music events targeted by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. Last month, The Great Escape Festival was enmeshed in chaos after more than 100 artists dropped out of the line-up, most of them doing so in the days before the festival was set to start.

Barclays is a major sponsor of many music festivals, including The Isle of Wight Festival, Camp Bestival, Lytham Festival and Latitude among others. Recently, the Irish singer-songwriter CMAT was among many artists to drop out of Latitude, due to take place next month, in solidarity with Palestine.

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