Pest Control, Scowl, Speed, ZULU and more pull out of Download 2024

Six bands have pulled out of Download this weekend due to the festival’s payment partnership with Barclays – a bank accused of ‘investing in arms manufacturers supplying weapons used by Israel in Gaza’.

Pest Control, Scowl, Speed, ZULU and more pull out of Download 2024
Kerrang! staff
Nat Wood

Updated story, June 12:

Ithaca have now also cancelled their appearance this weekend, writing that, “We will no longer be playing Download Fest. Whilst we hate letting anyone down, this moment of solidarity sends a powerful message to the organisers about where the younger generation of bands stand. FREE PALESTINE”

Original story, June 11:

This week, a number of bands have pulled out of Download Festival, as part of the Bands Boycott Barclays campaign.

First to drop off the line-up yesterday (June 10) were Leeds thrashers Pest Control, who took to Instagram to detail the boycott, alleging that Download’s “payment partner and sponsor”, Barclays, “oversees billions of dollars in investments and loans to companies whose weapons and technology are used in Israel’s onslaught against the Palestinian people”.

The band added that, “We will not take part in an event whose sponsor profits from facilitating a genocide.

“We’re sorry to anyone who was looking forward to seeing us perform,” they continued. “This is something we’ve been looking forward to for the best part of a year and was a big milestone for us as a band. However, we cannot sacrifice the principles held by this band and by the scene we come from and represent, just for personal gain.”

Shortly after, Split Chain were announced as Pest Control's replacement (and recently stated they are donating their fee to Palestine Children's Relief Fund and Medical Aid For Palestinians).

A few hours later, several stars from the hardcore scene dropped off the bill: Scowl, Speed and ZULU.

“We will not be playing Download fest this year due to Barclays Bank sponsorship of the event and Barclays’ connection to Israel and the genocide Israel is committing in Palestine,” posted the former. “Free Palestine!”

Speed added that they “will no longer be playing Download Festival this Friday June 14 due to the recent news of Barclays Banks sponsorship of the event and their involvement in the war in Gaza.”

“We will not be playing Download Festival as we just got word about Barclays Bank and their sponsorship of the fest,” posted ZULU. “Barclays Bank is involved with Israel and the genocide they are ACTIVELY committing against Palestine. It’s FREE PALESTINE y’all don’t get it twisted.”

Negative Frame and Overpower, who were due to play The Courtyard Stage for RIP ticket holders on Wednesday, June 12 and Thursday, June 13 have also pulled out of Download for the same reasons.

In the FAQ section on Barclays’ website, a question asks if the bank is ‘financing and investing in arms manufacturers supplying weapons used by Israel in Gaza’.

‘We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do,’ the report reads. ‘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.

‘An associated claim is that we invest in Elbit, an Israeli defence manufacturer which also supplies the UK armed forces with equipment and training. For the reasons mentioned, it is not true that we have made a decision to invest in Elbit. We may hold shares in relation to client driven transactions, which is why we appear on the share register, but we are not investors. We note also that Elbit is highlighted because campaigners claim it makes cluster bombs. We would cease any relationship with any business where we saw evidence that it manufactures cluster bombs or components.’

Read their full response here, about more about Boycott Barclays at this link.

At the time of writing, there has been no public response from Download Festival.

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