Latitude, Download and Isle of Wight festivals pull Barclays sponsorship

The Latitude Festival has cut ties with sponsor Barclays after a number of acts pulled out over the bank’s ties to Israel.

The bank has now suspended sponsorship of all Live National festivals for 2024, affecting Download and the Isle of Wight too.

Latitude Festival told Sky News: “Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of Latitude Festival”.

Barclays had signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Live Nation last year, but The Guardian reports the suspension does not apply to the entirety of the contract.

Comedians Joanne McNally, Grace Campbell, Sophie Duker, and Alexandra Haddow announced they would be boycotting Latitude last week.

Writing on Instagram McNally wrote: ‘I’m getting messages today about me performing at Latitude when it’s being sponsored by Barclays. I’m no longer doing Latitude. was due to close the comedy tent on the Sunday night but I pulled out last week.”

CMAT, Mui Zyu, Pillow Queens and Georgia Ruth are all musicians who have also pulled out of the event following its links to Barclays.

Barclays has said it does not directly invest in firms but does provide financial services to “public companies that supply defence products to Nato and its allies”.

Barclays has been the target of pro-Palestine action (Palestine Action/PA Wire)
Barclays has been the target of pro-Palestine action (Palestine Action/PA Wire)

The bank has also been the subject of direct action protests by campaign group, Palestine Action.

Earlier this week, a total of 15 sites had their windows smashed and red paint thrown at them as part of a protest calling on them to divest from arms companies that sell to Israel, as well as firms linked to fossil fuels.

A spokesperson for Live Nation said: “Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of our festivals.”

A spokesperson for Barclays told the Guardian: “Barclays was asked and has agreed to suspend participation in the remaining Live Nation festivals in 2024. Barclays customers who hold tickets to these festivals are not affected and their tickets remain valid.

Latitude has cut ties with the bank (PA)
Latitude has cut ties with the bank (PA)

“The protesters’ agenda is to have Barclays debank defence companies which is a sector we remain committed to as an essential part of keeping this country and our allies safe.

“They have resorted to intimidating our staff, repeated vandalism of our branches and online harassment. The only thing that this small group of activists will achieve is to weaken essential support for cultural events enjoyed by millions. It is time that leaders across politics, business, academia and the arts stand united against this.”

Protest group Bands Boycott Barclays, called the news a “victory”.

“This is a victory for the Palestinian-led global BDS movement. As musicians, we were horrified that our music festivals were partnered with Barclays. 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, or face further boycotts. Boycotting Barclays, also Europe’s primary funder of fossil fuels, is the minimum we can do to call for change.”