Dying Wish

Barclays Withdraw As A ‘Download Festival’ Sponsor In Wake Of Recent Protests, Dying Wish, Enter Shikari, Etc. React (Updated)


After a turbulent week, Barclays has withdrawn as a sponsor for this year’s ‘Download Festival‘. Until today (June 14th), Barclaycard had been one of the primary sponsors for the annual metal, etc. event, but that is no longer the case. The British multinational banking chain have newly suspended their sponsorship of several Live Nation-backed festivals in the UK, including ‘Download‘, ‘Latitude‘ and ‘Isle Of Wight‘.

That sponsorship was part of a broader five-year deal which the banking institution signed with Live Nation back in 2023. Barclays has faced a growing wave of backlash in the UK this week in light of the company offering financial services to those facilitating weapons used by Israel in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

In addition to a a concerted social media campaign against the company and their sponsorship of live events, physical protests have also spilled over to numerous locations of their bank across the UK, with windows being smashed and more.

Earlier this week, several artists booked to play this year’s ‘Download Festival‘ announced they would be exiting the festival, citing the Barclays sponsorship as the reason. Among those to partake in the protest were Scowl, SPEED, Pest Control, Dying Wish, Zulu, Ithaca and more. The aforementioned artists alleged that in providing financial services to parties involved with the Israeli side of the Israel-Hamas war, Barclays were complicit in committing genocide in Gaza .

Barclays explained their stance earlier this week to BBC, stating that their company, “provides vital financial services to US, UK and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies. 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.”

In a new statement issued to BBC, Barclays said of this suspension of their current sponsorship arrangement:

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. 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 added:

“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.”

Several artists who had expressed concerns have reacted to the news of this suspension, including Dying Wish, who earlier this week threatened to withdraw from the festival if Barclays remained involved. In a statement issued by the band today, they offered:

Download has informed us that they have officially removed Barclays as a sponsor from their festival – we will be playing tomorrow as scheduled. We never wanted to let anyone down and celebrate the news that the boycott was successful. Huge thank you to everyone who was involved in making this possible.

We appreciate the understanding and support as we stand by something that truly matters to us. We are so proud to be a part of a community that can come together and create change.

That being said – we cannot wait to see you tomorrow at 4:40 pm on the Dogtooth stage.

With love, solidarity and free Palestine

Dying Wish

Enter Shikari have also reacted to the news, offering the below statement:


There has been mounting pressure for bands to drop out of Download festival due to the involvement of Barclays Bank.

We have been in talks with Download themselves, expressing our serious objection at Barclays involvement. We have considered all options, and along with other artists have been working tirelessly on this.

We don’t believe in rushed reactions and always want the best outcome for all involved. Thanks to this collective pressure we now believe we have achieved that — Barclays have pulled out of Download Festival.

For those unaware, Barclays has large financial ties to Israeli weapons manufacturers, and therefore is complicit in genocide and has no place at our festivals.

Big ups Download and Bands Boycott Barclays, who both engaged with us in a calm & considered manner while this was being resolved.

This is what we can achieve when we work together instead of dividing ourselves with attempts at moral purity. There are many understandable positions on this, don’t be malicious and don’t be divided. It does not help the cause.”

Pest Control reacted to the news via an Instagram story post:

Pest Control on Instagram

Several artists originally set to be involved with the festival who pulled out earlier in the week, including SPEED, Scowl, Zulu and Pest Control, instead opted to hold a benefit show of their own for Palestinian aid & charities at the Centrala in Birmingham, UK tonight.

This week’s flare up of the protest hasn’t been without its critics though, with at least one high profile musician calling out bands involved with the protest. Earlier this week Falling In Reverse‘s Ronnie Radke, called Scowl & SPEED “communist poseurs” following their respective announcements of pulling out of ‘Download‘.

Update: June 14th, 2024 02:03pm:

Several more artists have commented on the matter:


Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine):

“BREAKING: Barclays ends sponsorship of @DownloadFest @IsleOfWightFest & @LatitudeFest! A bank funding war crimes has no place at music festivals. The fact that Download has listened to its musicians and cut ties with Barclays Bank is a testament to the power of artists taking collective action for human rights. I’ve been pushing hard for this behind the scenes for some time and I salute all the artists who have taken a stand to help make this historic withdrawal happen.”

Olli Appleyard (Static Dress):

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