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Download festival artists pull out days before event after CMat leads boycott


Crowds watching Skindred perform at Download Festival

Three bands set to perform Download Festival are now boycotting the event (Picture: Katja Ogrin/Getty Images)

Several bands have pulled out of Download Festival days before thousands of music fans arrive onsite over sponsor Barclaycard’s ties to Israel.

Scowl, Zulu, Speed, Pest Control, Negative Frame and Overpower have pulled out of the three-day Donington Park Circuit event in solidarity with Palestine and the ongoing war in Gaza.

The festival is set to take place this weekend with performances from Queens Of The Stone Age, Fall Out Boy, Avenged Sevenfold, Limp Bizkit, and Busted.

Barclaycard is listed as the official payment partner for Download, with campaigners accusing the bank of increasing its investment in arms companies that trade with Israel.

The company has said it doesn’t make its own investments, but that it does have customers in the defence sector.

Announcing their departure from the lineup, Leeds-based band Pest Control posted: ‘We have made the decision to pull out of our upcoming shows at Download festival this week (Wednesday 12th June and Sunday 16th June).

https://www.instagram.com/p/C8B6nMmCM9h/?img_index=2

‘Barclays bank oversees billions of dollars in investments and loans to companies whose weapons and technology are used in Israel’s onslaught against the Palestinian people. We will not take part in an event whose sponsor profits from facilitating a genocide.

They apologised to fans who were looking forward to seeing the band, and expressed their own sadness over the cancellation as playing the festival would be ‘a milestone for us as a band.’

They continued: ‘We cannot sacrifice the principles held by this band and by the scene we come from and represent, just for personal gain.’

It comes as CMAT pulled out of their performance at this year’s Latitude Festival, where Barclays was the headline sponsor.

Barclays previously released a statement addressing concerns, which 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.’

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