Barclays Suspends Live Nation Festival Sponsorships After Political Protests, Artist Pullouts

Barclays pulls out of festival sponsorships
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Barclays pulls out of festival sponsorships
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Photo Credit: Liz Murray / CC by 4.0

Barclays is suspending its sponsorship of all Live Nation music festivals in 2024—including Download, Latitude, and this weekend’s Isle of Wight Festival. Here’s the latest.

The move follows several political protests and artist pullouts from these festivals due to the bank’s investment ties with arms companies trading with Israel. Country singer CMAT, metal band Ithaca, and comedian Joanne McNally dropped out of their planned performances. Live Nation has confirmed that Barclays is stepping back as a sponsor of these upcoming music festivals—interrupting a five-year sponsorship deal the pair signed in 2023.

Artistic protestors have been placing pressure on Barclays, with a boycott by over 100 artists at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival in May. Many of the protestors accused the bank of increasing its investment in arms companies that do business with Israel.

“Following discussions with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of our festivals,” A Live Nation spokesperson said about the move. While Barclays is stepping back, this suspension does not apply to the full five-year contract Barclays signed with Live Nation.

“Barclays was asked and has agreed to suspend participation in the remaining Live Nation festivals in 2024,” a spokesperson for Barclays said in a statement. The suspension does not impact any customers who bought festival tickets through any Barclays pre-sale events.

Pest Control, Speed, Scowl, Zulu, and Ithaca all withdrew from the Download festival this weekend. Irish singer CMAT withdrew from Latitude, citing her unwillingness to allow her music to be associated with violence. Barclays has clarified that it provides financial services rather than direct investments in defense companies—stating that arms embargoes should be decisions left to governments rather than corporations.

Protest group Bands Boycott Barclays responded positively to the announcement, thanking artists for taking action and calling the decision a moral win.