Bluesfest Big Boss Has Tripled-Down On Booking Sticky Fingers And It’s A Bold Strategy, Cotton

bluesfest sticky fingers statement

Bluesfest director Peter Noble has released a lengthy statement about this year’s festival after the inclusion of Sticky Fingers to the lineup drew backlash and has resulted in at least one band dropping out of the festival.

Noble used the statement to triple down on the decision to book the controversial Sydney band and recognise that it was the reason why Melbourne’s King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard stepped away from the lineup.

He justified the booking of Sticky Fingers  — the members of which have a history of violence and alleged racism — as a means to give them a chance for rehabilitation.

“I believe an attempt to victimise this man and his band in the circumstances is cruel and unforgiving,” Noble said in the statement.

“This cruelty and lack of compassion are foreign to my values, as is the attempt to suppress the band’s artistic expression. I was and remain proud to give the band a chance at rehabilitation.

“Forgiveness is critical to helping people with mental health challenges continue functioning in society.”

The Bluesfest head honcho also addressed suggestions that the booking of Sticky Fingers implies he and the festival team are supportive of their historical behaviour.

“It has been suggested that because of the listing of Sticky Fingers, Bluesfest and I endorsed the lead singer’s ancient troubled behaviour,” the statement read.

“That suggestion is deplorable, untrue, and actionable as being defamatory.”

While the inclusion of Sticky Fingers doesn’t necessarily mean any kind of endorsement of the band members’ behaviour, it does definitely come across as a dismissal of that behaviour — that has continuously been an issue — in efforts to rehabilitate the band’s image.

Noble’s continued rejection of criticism about booking an act that has caused known trauma within the wider community shows that although he’s keen to reach a younger audience he refuses to listen to them when it’s desperately needed.

Bluesfest is planned to go ahead at Byron Events Farm over the April 6-10 weekend.