Barclaycard Withdraw From Summer Music Festivals

“A victory for ethical funding in music festivals and a victory for the Palestinian-led global BDS movement.”

Barclaycard have exited several high-profile music festivals after sustained pressure from the musician and industry-led boycott movement. Bands Boycott Barclays have campaigned for a full divestment over the bank’s financial ties to the Israeli military, and their complicity in the genocide of Gaza and the state of Palestine.

Bands Boycott Barclays, a collective of over 1,000 musicians and industry professionals, have declared this “a victory for ethical funding in music festivals,” with Barclays and Barclaycard being removed from all target festival websites.

The movement snowballed after a widespread boycott of Brighton’s Barclaycard-sponsored Great Escape festival in May, and has since impacted Download, Latitude and Isle Of Wight with their billing thrown into disarray by artists cancelling their bookings. So far, 17 acts have withdrawn from upcoming appearances at Latitude festival, taking place at the end of July.

A spokesperson from Bands Boycott Barclays said:

“This is a victory for the Palestinian-led global BDS movement. As musicians, we were horrified that our music festivals were partnered with Barclays, who are complicit in the genocide in Gaza through investment, loans and underwriting of arms companies supplying the Israeli military. Hundreds of artists have taken action this summer to make it clear that this is morally reprehensible, and we are glad we have been heard. Our demand to Barclays is simple: divest from the genocide, or face further boycotts. Boycotting Barclays, also Europe’s primary funder of fossil fuels, is the minimum we can do to call for change.”

A spokesperson from Palestine Solidarity Campaign said:

“This is testament to the hundreds of artists who spoke out and withdrew from Barclays sponsored events, refusing to participate in Barclays’ attempts to hide from accountability over its financing of arms companies supplying Israel’s genocide. Barclays shameful complicity in Israel’s assault on Palestinians means that it has become a toxic brand – it must end all financial ties to companies supplying weapons and military technology to Israel.”

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said:

“Palestinians welcome the exit of Barclaycard from Live Nation’s UK festivals, proving the impact of targeted, strategic boycotts like those targeting The Great Escape, Download and Latitude.

All of the festivals are owned or part-owned by Live Nation, who signed a 5-year contract with Barclaycard in 2023. According to the Barclays website, these festivals offer ‘customer perks’ to Barclaycard owners. A report released last month revealed that Barclays invests £2 billion and provides a further £6.1 billion in loans and underwriting to nine companies whose “weapons, components, and military technology are used in Israel’s genocide and underlying settler-colonial apartheid regime.”

In response to the boycotts, Barclays have previously issued a statement saying they don’t “directly invest”, which only refers to the £2bn but not the £6.1bn in unrestricted loans to arms companies.

In an online statement addressed to Melvin Benn, the director of Latitude and Download festivals, Bands Boycott Barclays said: “We refuse to let music be used to whitewash human rights violations. We cannot let our creative outputs become smokescreens behind which money is being pumped into murdering Palestinians.”

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.