Over 100 Artists Withdraw from The Great Escape Festival Over Barclays Sponsorship

Over 100 artists, including Alfie Templeman, have withdrawn from Brighton's The Great Escape music festival in solidarity with Palestine, protesting the festival's partnership with Barclays, which has investments in companies supplying arms to Israel. The boycott, sparked by the bank's alleged complicity in human rights issues, has led to a significant impact on the festival's lineup and reputation, with prominent acts and record labels joining the movement." This description focuses on the primary topic of the article (the boycott of The Great Escape festival), the main entities involved (artists, Barclays, and the festival), the context of the event (Brighton, UK), and the significant actions and consequences (mass withdrawal of artists, impact on the festival's lineup and reputation). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as the setting of the festival and the entities involved.

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Nitish Verma
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Over 100 Artists Withdraw from The Great Escape Festival Over Barclays Sponsorship

Over 100 Artists Withdraw from The Great Escape Festival Over Barclays Sponsorship

More than 100 artists, including Alfie Templeman, have withdrawn from Brighton's The Great Escape festival, scheduled to take place from May 15 to 18, 2024, in solidarity with the people of Palestine. The festival has faced criticism for partnering with Barclays, which holds investments in companies that supply arms to Israel amid the ongoing attacks on Gaza.

Why this matters: The boycott highlights the growing trend of artists using their platforms to raise awareness about social and political issues, and the impact it can have on corporate sponsorships and events. This controversy also underscores the ongoing struggle for accountability and transparency in the financial sector's involvement in human rights issues.

The boycott, initiated by Bristolian punks The Menstrual Cramps and promoters How to Catch a Pig, has led to approximately a quarter of the festival's lineup pulling out. Prominent acts such as Pop Vulture, Delilah Bon, and Hang Linton are among those who have withdrawn, with record labels like Alcopop and Big Scary Monsters also joining the boycott.

In a statement, Alfie Templeman explained his decision, saying, "I am no longer performing at The Great Escape festival this year due to their ongoing partnership with Barclays, who are actively funding the Israeli military and therefore being complicit in genocide. My morals cannot and will not align with the amalgamation of entertainment and human suffering."

Massive Attack has also voiced their support for the boycotting artists. The band stated, "We've endless, special respect for younger artists or artists at earlier stages of their careers who choose to take a stand against corporate support for apartheid and now genocide in Palestine... Whether it's apartheid and genocide in Gaza, or the funding of new fossil fuel extraction worldwide, Barclays has repeatedly proven it is without conscience. Barclays therefore has no place in any music festival or any cultural event."

The Great Escape festival, which has been a key part of the UK's music calendar since its launch in 2006, showcases about 500 artists performing in various locations around Brighton. However, the festival's opening showcase and a keynote speech by Jarvis Cocker have been scrapped as a result of the boycott.

The controversy surrounding Barclays' sponsorship stems from the bank's alleged financial ties to arms companies that trade with Israel. In March 2024, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign protested outside about 50 branches of Barclays Bank around the UK, calling for a boycott due to the bank's alleged involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As the boycott gains momentum, The Great Escape festival faces a significant challenge in addressing the concerns raised by the artists and the public. The festival has not yet publicly acknowledged the controversy or the reasons behind the mass withdrawal of artists. With the event set to take place in just a few days, it remains to be seen how the organizers will respond to the growing pressure and the potential impact on the festival's lineup and reputation.

Key Takeaways

  • Over 100 artists, including Alfie Templeman, boycott The Great Escape festival in solidarity with Palestine.
  • Festival faces criticism for partnering with Barclays, which invests in companies supplying arms to Israel.
  • Boycott highlights artists using their platforms to raise awareness about social and political issues.
  • Quarter of festival lineup pulls out, including prominent acts and record labels.
  • Festival faces significant challenge in addressing concerns, with event set to take place in just a few days.