Scowl, Zulu, Speed and More Have Pulled Out of Download Festival Citing Sponsor Conflict

Scowl, Zulu, Speed and More Have Pulled Out of Download Festival Citing Sponsor Conflict

- By Ramon Gonzales

The band have now announced a benefit show

Photo by Maurice Nunez

UPDATE: As of 11:10am PT on June 11th, Ithaca have become the latest band to withdraw from Download in protest of the fest's sponsorship deal with Barlcays Bank. 

Additionally, the bands that initially cancelled their Download performance in protest including Scowl, Speed, Zulu and Pest Control have announced plans to perform a Palestinian benefit show on June 14th at Centrala in Birmingham. Added special guests include Cauldron, Ikhras, and Transistrrr also on the bill. All proceeds go towards Palestinian aid and charities.

See the show announcement below. 

Original Story - June 10th, 2024

With one of the biggest festivals of the year in Download less than a week away, a handful of bands have announced plans to withdraw from the festivities as a show of solidarity with the anti-war movement amid the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict. 

Prompted by UK thrash crossover band Pest Control announcing they would be bowing out, the band announced via their social media platform that they would not be performing due to the fest's partnership with Barclays Bank. Citing the bank's investments in weapons and tech used in the Israel-Palestinian conflict, the band expressed their unwillingness to participate given the gravity of the situation. 

Pest Control shared, "We have made the decision to pull out of our upcoming shows at Download Festival this week (Wednesday 12th 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."

In the wake of the announcement, three additional bands on the bill have expressed their alignment with Pest Control with hardcore sensations including Scowl, Speed and ZULU all announced they too would not be participating at Download. For Scowl in particular, the announcement follows their withdraw from SXSW year this year when they band opted to not align with the organization citing their sponsor relationship with the U.S. Army. 

Scowl took to their socials to announce the news. "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. 

Free Palestine!"

Australian hardcore breakouts SPEED followed suit. "SPEED will no longer be playing Download Festival this Friday June 14 due to the recent news of Barclays Banks sponsorship of the event and their involvement in the war in Gaza."

Los Angeles-based aggressors ZULU also made their stance especially clear. "We will not be playing Download Festival as we just got word about Barclays Bank and their sponsorship of the fest. Barclays Bank is involved with Israel and the genocide they are ACTIVELY committing against Palestine.

 It's FREE PALESTINE y'all don't get it twisted."


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