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Latitude Festival 2024: Musicians dropping out over sponsorship with Barclays

Latitude Festival 2024: Acts dropping out over Barclays links
Latitude Festival 2024: Acts dropping out over Barclays links Copyright Jacob King/PA via AP
Copyright Jacob King/PA via AP
By David Mouriquand
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Several musicians are dropping out of the upcoming UK music festival Latitude, over its sponsorship with Barclays and the bank’s ties to Israel. These announcements come shortly after the major boycott of The Great Escape in Brighton last month, also due to its ties with Barclays.

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Mui Zyu and Georgia Ruth are the latest artists to pull out of this year’s edition of UK music festival Latitude over its sponsorship with Barclays and the bank’s ties to Israel. 

Both artists join indie rockers Pillow Queens and Irish singer-songwriter CMAT, who are also boycotting the festival over a financial partnership with the bank whose investment in companies associated with the Israeli military has made them the target of action by the BDS movement.

Zyu shared a statement on her Instagram account. 

“The festival is sponsored by Barclays who are continuing to profit from the genocide in Palestine,” began her statement. “Barclays are on the BDS Movement’s boycott list. Throughout the last six months they have continued to increase their financing to companies making weapons that are then used on Gaza where at this moment over 37,000 people have been killed and over 82,000 people injured (many of whom are children).” 

She continued: “As a small artist this may not have much impact on the festival, but if others join it can. If you are planning to attend the festival please consider using your voice as a customer to speak out against your money going towards a genocide.” 

Her statement concluded with: “Follow Bands Boycott Barclays who are leading this movement. Familiarise yourself with the BDS Movement, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.” 

The campaign group listed Isle of Wight and Download as their “next festival targets”. 

Georgia Ruth shared a statement online, which included the comment: “I was inspired by the effective boycott of Hay Festival this week by participating authors, which led directly to Baillie Gifford being dropped as main sponsor. We can make a difference; festivals can make meaningful change. I urge Latitude to cut financial ties with Barclaycard.” 

CMAT was one of the first artists to pull out of the festival.  

“I love Latitude Festival, they gave me one of my first big festival slots back in 2021 and playing the Sunrise Arena is one of my most cherished memories ever.” 

However CMAT noted that she could not be “complicit in Genocide”. 

"I will not allow my precious work, my music, which I love so much, to get into bed with violence," said CMAT in a statement. 

She said she had asked Latitude to find another sponsor, but in vain.  

"This has not happened and it has been made clear to me that it will not happen. As such, I am now officially pulling out." 

These announcements come shortly after the major boycott of The Great Escape in Brighton last month, also due to its ties with Barclays.  

More than 100 acts dropped out of this year's The Great Escape festival in solidarity with Palestine - representing approximately a quarter of the full programme. 

In response to the boycotts, Barclays have repeatedly pointed to their online Q&A which states: “We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do. We trade in shares of listed companies in response to client instruction or demand and that may result in us holding shares. We are not making investments for Barclays and Barclays is not a ‘shareholder’ or ‘investor’ in that sense in relation to these companies.”

Latitude have yet to comment on the call-offs. The festival runs between 25 – 28 July.  

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