Grassroots artists boycott music festival over Israel Gaza conflict

By Charlie Fenton

19 May 2024

Around 163 grassroots bands claimed to have pulled out of the The Great Escape Festival last weekend over its partnership with Barclays Bank.

One up-and-coming artist, Hang Linton, posted on Instagram saying, “I will be pulling out of the ALT Escape Showcase at The Great Escape Festival in solidarity with the boycott”.

He also said: “I was under the assumption that it was something separate & a fringe festival but information revealed to us over the past days has made it known that its just a second head of the same beast.

“Without grassroot musicians there would be no festival, we have the power to say no.”

The Great Escape is an annual festival for new music held in Brighton.

The boycott comes over the bank’s links to companies involved with Israel amid the war in Gaza.

Another artist, Singer Steven Bamidele, who pulled out, told the BBC the boycott was an “amazing statement” that shows people “won’t sit by and watch things like this happen”.

He said it was a hard decision and added: “I don’t judge any musician for playing.”

A Barclays spokesperson said they recognise the immense human suffering and loss caused by the conflict in Gaza.

Action group, Bands Boycott Barclays, told the BBC “The most powerful thing we can do as musicians to send a collective message is withdraw our labour.

“History has shown us this is a tactic that works, there is no festival without the artists.”

The event still went ahead.

READ: How the ticket levy on arena’s will help grassroots musicians

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tiktok for more content!

You may also like…
document.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', function() { // Select all audio modules with the custom class var audioModules = document.querySelectorAll('.custom-audio-module'); audioModules.forEach(function(module, index) { // Create a container for the counter var counterContainer = document.createElement('div'); counterContainer.classList.add('counter-container'); counterContainer.innerHTML = '0'; // Append the counter container to the module module.appendChild(counterContainer); // Get the audio element var audio = module.querySelector('audio'); // Initialize the counter var counter = 0; // Add play event listener to the audio element audio.addEventListener('play', function() { counter++; document.getElementById('audio-counter-' + index).textContent = counter; }); }); });