Sunday 21 July 2024

Artists withdraw from music festival in Britain in support of Gaza

More than 100 music artists have pulled out of an annual 4-day festival held in Britain to show solidarity with the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Media reports said as of Tuesday 106 music artists have cancelled their scheduled appearances at The Great Escape 2024 to voice opposition to their sponsors “bankrolling genocide.”


The annual Great Escape Festival in England, held in May, is sponsored by the British Barclays Bank, which has investments in companies that supply arms and munitions to the Israeli regime.


"Barclays is funding Israel’s genocidal assault on Palestinians through its financial ties with arms companies that sell weapons to Israel," musicians booked to play at The Great Escape said in an online survey, urging the event organizers to drop Barclays as a sponsor.


"UN human rights officials and genocide scholars have said that Israel’s military assault on Gaza is a 'textbook case of genocide'. Over 30,000 [35,000] Palestinians have been killed in the last five months, with whole families being wiped out. Relentless bombings are causing more than 10 children per day to lose one or both of their legs. These bombings are bankrolled by Barclays, which invests over £1bn [$1.2bn] – and provides financial services worth over £3bn [$3.6bn] to – companies supplying weapons and military technology to Israel, used in its attacks on Palestinians," they stated in the online survey.



"My morals cannot and will not align with the amalgamation of entertainment and human suffering," Alfie Templeman, one of the music artists performing at the event said on Tuesday with a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter.


 “Solidarity to everyone else on the line-up that has dropped out and used their platform to direct attention to the boycott. I really hope that together our absence from the festival will make other festivals and events around the world prioritize being ethical when choosing their partners.”


Delilah Bon said, “Seeing the horrors happening currently in Gaza, Palestinian solidarity should be at the forefront. I’m shocked that The Great Escape festival have not responded to calls to drop their partner Barclays, who are actively funding genocide, forcing artists like myself to pick between ‘business’ and my own ethics."


“I stand with the BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement and Palestinian solidarity and will sadly no longer be performing at the festival.”


 “We will not be appearing at The Great Escape festival this year. This is a targeted approach of a cultural boycott, considering Barclays sponsorship,” said the Lambrini Girls, another one of the acts that withdrew.


“Barclays provide financial services of over 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion) to companies supplying military technology and weapons to the (Israeli military), perpetuating the horrors unfolding in Gaza.”


Some other music artists who have pulled out of the event include Avije, Beetlebug, Bo Milli, BODUR, Bug Teeth, C Turtle, Cryalot, Delilah Holliday, Graft, Hang Linton, Jianbo, Kerensa, Lewis G Burton, Message From The Ravens, Pem, Pop Vulture, Projector, Smoke Filled Room, Sophia Ryalls, Steven Bamidele, Sunday Club, The Halfway Kid and Tony Njoku.


In March, and in a move similar to the Great Escape pullout, many music artists refused to play at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, because of the event’s connections to the US Army and weapons companies providing weapons and ammunition to Israel.

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