Picture Parlour join Great Escape boycott, promise fundraising gig for Palestinian relief

Picture Parlour are the latest band to announce that they are boycotting The Great Escape this year, joining over 100 other acts that have done so.

READ MORE: Introducing Picture Parlour, the fearless rockers ready to take on the world

The band took to their official X/Twitter account to share that they will no longer be performing at the Brighton-based festival. “Hey guys, we have made the decision to pull out of this year’s Great Escape festival,” they began.

“We will be putting on a show next month and all ticket & merch sales will be donated to charities for Palestinian relief. More details TBA.” They also encouraged fans to donate funds to Gaza via MAP.

Picture Parlour are the latest act to announce that they are boycotting The Great Escape. Over 100 artists have now dropped out of this year’s edition of the festival in solidarity with Palestine.

Hey guys, we have made the decision to pull out of this year’s Great Escape festival.

We will be putting on a show next month and all ticket & merch sales will be donated to charities for Palestinian relief. More details TBA.

Please donate :https://t.co/OTIRGzAT4R

— PictureParlour (@pictureparlour_) May 15, 2024

The 2024 edition of the event – which showcases new and rising artists – is due to take place across various music venues in Brighton from today (May 15) until Saturday (18).

The Great Escape is sponsored by Barclays, which has been a source of controversy amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza because of the bank’s financial investment in companies that supply arms to Israel.

The issue was first highlighted in a petition started by the promoter How To Catch A Pig and the band The Menstrual Cramps – which has since been signed by musicians including KneecapLambrini GirlsAlfie TemplemanLip CriticWunderhorse and Mary In The Junkyard.

Last month, Cherym pulled out of The Great Escape as a result of the festival’s connection to Barclays, before record labels Alcopop and Big Scary Monsters joined the boycott and withdrew from the event.

Dozens more acts soon followed suit, with over half the line-up demanding that The Great Escape drop its sponsorship deal with Barclays.

Now, over 106 artists have cancelled their scheduled appearances at The Great Escape 2024 in total – constituting approximately a quarter of the full programme. They cite the festival’s partnership with Barclays “bankrolling genocide” as their reason for withdrawing, per a press release.

The latest names to have pulled out include Alfie Templeman, Avije, Beetlebug, Bo Milli, BODUR, Bug Teeth, C Turtle, Cryalot, Delilah Bon, Delilah Holliday, Graft, Hang Linton, Jianbo, Kerensa, Lewis G Burton, Message From The Ravens, Pem, Pop Vulture, Projector, Smoke Filled Room, Sophia Ryalls, Steven Bamidele, Sunday Club, The Halfway Kid and Tony Njoku. See the full list here.

Massive Attack – who’ve previously spoken out on their boycott of gigs in Israel – have recently expressed their support for the mass walkout.

“We’ve endless, special respect for younger artists or artists at earlier stages of their careers who choose to take a stand against corporate support for apartheid and now genocide in Palestine,” they wrote.

“It’s extraordinary to think that in 2024, promoters and festivals still don’t understand that as artists, our music is for sale but our humanity and morality is not. The truth is, while the boycott of events sponsored by toxic corporations like Barclays is courageous, the motives behind it are totally uncontroversial: everyone can see what’s happening in Gaza and no one should accept it.”

Massive Attack added: “Whether it’s apartheid and genocide in Gaza, or the funding of new fossil fuel extraction worldwide, Barclays has repeatedly proven it is without conscience. Barclays therefore has no place in any music festival or any cultural event. Solidarity with and total respect to all musicians who’ve taken this stand.”

Over half the acts on The Great Escape’s line-up have signed an open statement coordinated by Bands Boycott Barclays calling on the festival to drop its partnership with Barclays, which is on the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) list. The statement is supported by a further 1,000 musicians and industry professionals.

The festival has not responded to the statement, but when approached by NME, a Barclays spokesperson pointed to their online Q&A ahead of their upcoming AGM and said that they would not be making further comment.

“Barclays has been the subject of criticism in relation to Gaza based on two arguments: that Barclays is an investor in these businesses, and that we provide a range of financial services to clients which produce equipment used by the Israeli Defence Force,” the Q&A read.

“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.”

Barclays continued: “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.

“As a bank, our job is to provide financial services to thousands of business clients and that includes those in the defence sector. Clients in this sector include US, UK or European companies which supply defence products to NATO and other allies including Ukraine.”

NME has also reached out to The Great Escape Festival for comment.

Earlier this month, the Musicians’ Union (MU) issued a statement “in solidarity with members and non-members who are boycotting this year’s Great Escape Festival” over concerns regarding its sponsorship.

“The boycott is an act of solidarity with the people of Palestine, and one of the few instruments that freelance musicians have to call attention to practices that they disagree with,” it read.

Elsewhere, Nick Cave shared his advice with an artist who had reached out to say they had considered pulling out of The Great Escape 2024 “due to the sponsorship of Barclays”. In response, the Bad Seeds frontman simply wrote: “Play. Love, Nick.”

The stance from Cave to not boycott the event came after he courted controversy in 2017 when the Bad Seeds went ahead with their shows in Tel Aviv, despite pressure for them to withdraw from the likes of Roger Waters and Thurston Moore.

In a move similar to the Great Escape walkout, many artists refused to play at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas in March because of the event’s connections to the US Army and weapons companies amid the Israel-Gaza conflict. These included Gruff RhysKneecap, Sprints, Lambrini Girls, GelRachel ChinouririCardinals and NewDad.

SXSW responded to the cancellations in a statement: “We are an organisation that welcomes diverse viewpoints. Music is the soul of SXSW, and it has long been our legacy. We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.”

Explaining its sponsorship with the US Army, SXSW wrote: “The defence industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives.”

The post Picture Parlour join Great Escape boycott, promise fundraising gig for Palestinian relief appeared first on NME.

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