“We will not take part in an event whose sponsor profits from facilitating a genocide.” Scowl, Speed, Zulu, Pest Control boycott Download festival due to sponsor Barclays investing in companies supplying weapons and military technology to Israel

Download festival 2024 bill
(Image credit: Download festival)

Scowl, Zulu, Speed, Pest Control, Negative Frame and Overpower have withdrawn from this week's Download festival due to sponsor Barclays' links to defence contractors and weapons manufacturers who arm the Israeli military. 

This follows similar boycotts of SXSW, The Great Escape and Latitude music festivals. When announcing plans to boycott Latitude, Irish singer/songwriter CMAT stated that Barclays "invested over £100 Million into General Dynamics which provides gun systems to the fighter jets which are being used by Israel to bombard Gaza."

Earlier today, June 10, Leeds crossover thrash band Pest Control became the first act to withdraw from Download, due to the involvement of Barclays: Barclaycard is listed on the Partners section of the festival website as the 'Official Payment Partner of Liquid Death presents Download Festival'.

Posting on their social media accounts, the band, who had been set to play The Courtyard Stage on June 12, and the Dogtooth Stage on June 16, state: "We have made the decision to pull out of our upcoming shows at Download festival this week (Wednesday 12 June + Sunday 16th June).

"This is due to us taking part in the boycott against Barclays bank, who are Download festival's payment partner and sponsor. Barclays bank oversees billions of dollars in investments and loans to companies whose weapons and technology are used in Israel’s onslaught against the Palestinian people. 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. 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.”

The band asked fans to look at the Bands Boycott Barclays Instagram page for more information on the boycott.

Scowl, who have previously withdrawn from the SXSW and Welcome To Rockville festivals in solidarity with the people of Palestine, thanked Pest Control on social media for bringing Barclays' involvement in Download to their attention, while also announcing their intention to withdraw from the weekender.

"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," they write. "Free Palestine!"

Zulu, Speed, Negative Frame and Overpower have also announced their intention to boycott the festival, with Zulu promising an "alternate show announcement soon for that Friday."

The event promoters have yet to comment upon the boycott.

Download festival is sold out.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.