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Latitude is the latest UK festival to lose acts over Barclays ties

The bank's financial ties to arms companies that supply Israel have been criticised.

By Nick Reilly

Latitude Festival. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Latitude Festival is the latest major UK event to face a slew of acts pulling out due to its sponsorship with Barclays and the bank’s financial ties with Israel.

The Suffolk festival is set to take place at the end of July, with headline sets from the likes of Duran Duran, Keane and London Grammar.

But it now faces the prospect of major acts dropping out, just months after Brighton’s The Great Escape faced a similar issue due to its position of having Barclays as a financial supporter.

The bank has faced criticism for holding investments in companies that supply arms to Israel, leading to a selection of acts announcing they will now choose to not play Latitude.

Among the key acts to pull out so far are Irish country star CMAT, who said that they refused to be “complicit in Genocide”.

“I want to say how utterly devastated I am that it has come to this,” said CMAT on Instagram.

“I love Latitude Festival, they gave me one of my first big festival slots back in 2021 and playing the Sunrise Arena is one of my most cherished memories ever.”

As well as Irish rockers Pillow Queen – the first to announce they were boycotting the festival – emerging artists Mui Zyu and Georgia Ruth have also announced they will pull out.

Mui Zyu shared a statement on her official Instagram account and said: “The festival is sponsored by Barclays who are continuing to profit from the genocide in Palestine.

“Barclays are on the BDS Movement’s boycott list. Throughout the last six months they have continued to increase their financing to companies making weapons that are then used on Gaza where at this moment over 37,000 people have been killed and over 82,000 people injured (many of whom are children).”

She continued: “As a small artist this may not have much impact on the festival, but if others join it can. If you are planning to attend the festival please consider using your voice as a customer to speak out against your money going towards a genocide.”

In addition, Ruth highlighted the Palestine Solidarity Campaign’s (PSC) latest report which reveals that Barclays “now invests over £2 billion in, and provides loans and underwriting worth £6.1 billion, to nine companies whose weapons, components and military technology are used in Israel’s attacks on Palestinians”.

A spokesperson for Barclays said: “We provide vital financial services to US, UK and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies. Barclays does not directly invest in these companies.​ The defence sector is fundamental to our national security and the UK government has been clear that supporting defence companies is compatible with ESG considerations. Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.”

Both Latitude and Barclays have been contacted for comment.