the crowd at the main stage at Download Festival 2022

Enter Shikari have spoken out after Barclays Bank withdrew from sponsoring Download, Latitude and Isle Of Wight festivals following an artist boycott.

A number of bands had dropped out of the Donington Park festival in protest at their commercial partnership with Barclays, including Pest Control, Scowl, Speed and Zulu.

Pest Control wrote that they “would not take part in an event whose sponsor profits from facilitating a genocide”, while Scowl added they were boycotting due to “Barclays Bank sponsorship of the event and Barclays’ connection to Israel and the genocide Israel is committing in Palestine.”

And now, it appears that Barclays have withdrawn their sponsorship of Download, Latitude and Isle of Wight Festivals, with the bank no longer being listed on their official websites.

In a response shared with NME, Latitude confirmed the news, saying: “Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of Latitude Festival.”

NME have also contacted Download Festival for comment.

Enter Shikari, who are set to play the main stage at Download this weekend, have responded to the news with a lengthy social media post, which read: “There has been mounting pressure for bands to drop out of Download festival due to the involvement of Barclays Bank.”

“We have been in talks with Download themselves, expressing our serious objection at Barclays involvement. We have considered all options, and along with other artists have been working tirelessly on this.”

“We don’t believe in rushed reactions and always want the best outcome for all involved. Thanks to this collective pressure we now believe we have achieved that – Barclays have pulled out of Download Festival.”

The band continued by congratulating Download and the pressure group Bands Boycott Barclays.

“This is what we can achieve when we work together instead of dividing ourselves with attempts at moral purity,” the band added. “There are many understandable positions on this, don’t be malicious and don’t be divided. It does not help the cause.”

They also said they will continue to take direction from the Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott Divest Sanction) campaign.

“Though public support for an Israeli weapons embargo is strong, political will is small,” they concluded. “In order to change this we must stand strong together.”

Enter Shikari made a speech expressing solidarity with Palestine during a show at Wembley Arena in February. “We have been yelling ‘Free Gaza’, ‘Free Palestine’ for 15 years,” frontman Rou Reynolds said. “I just hope to God that there is still a Gaza and a Palestine left when this fucking nightmare ends.

Enter Shikari
Enter Shikari. Credit: Jess Drews/Getty

The Download boycott followed a large number of acts, including Gruff RhysKneecap, SprintsLambrini GirlsGelRachel Chinouriri, Cardinals and NewDad, dropping out of SXSW earlier this year, due to that festival’s ties to the US Army and weapons companies amid the Israel-Gaza conflict.

More recently, some artists had withdrawn from playing this year’s Latitude Festival, also in connection to a sponsorship by Barclays. Among those to have made the decision include CMATPillow QueensMui Zyu and Georgia Ruth.

There was also a major boycott of The Great Escape in Brighton last month, also due to its ties with Barclays. Over 100 acts dropped out in solidarity with Palestine – constituting approximately a quarter of the full programme.

At the time, a Barclays spokesperson shared a statement that read: “We provide vital financial services to US, UK and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies. Barclays does not directly invest in these companies. The defence sector is fundamental to our national security and the UK government has been clear that supporting defence companies is compatible with ESG considerations. Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.”

The post Enter Shikari speak out as Barclays pull out of Download, Latitude and Isle of Wight festivals after boycott appeared first on NME.


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