Bluesfest director Peter Noble has quadrupled down on his decision to book Sticky Fingers (for some ungodly reason) in a playing schedule email sent exclusively to email subscribers and ticket holders. This email comes moments after Zambian singer and rapper Sampa the Great pulled out of the festival lineup.
In a statement to Double J, representatives for Sampa the Great confirmed that she had been trying to get out of performing at Bluesfest since February 14, when it was revealed that her name would be announced alongside controversial Sydney band Sticky Fingers.
“We started contact with Bluesfest to inform them of our standpoint within half an hour of receiving the embargoed press release and seeing the remainder of the line-up,” read the statement.
“We then delivered final confirmation to Bluesfest at 7:36pm AEDT on Tuesday February 14 that Sampa was coming off the line-up, in the hopes they would remove her from all materials before they announced the following day.”
Bluesfest announced Sticky Fingers to its lineup alongside Sampa the Great and an Archie Roach tribute performance on February 15. It also started fighting tooth and nail in the comments section, defending its decision to give Sticky Fingers a platform.
In the statement, reps for Sampa said that while she has pulled out of Bluesfest, she’s still excited to perform at Ability Fest, Panama and WOMAD.
“Sampa, her band, and the crew’s safety is always our main priority, and we feel confident these festivals can provide that,” the statement continued.
Love a bit of subtle shade.
Sampa joins King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard as artists who have pulled out of the festival due to its decision to put Sticky Fingers on the lineup.
Meanwhile, Bluesfest sent out the expected playing schedule email to ticketholders and email subscribers, but decided to use the extra text space to go on a 200 word 1,178 character spiel about how we should “support inclusivity” by casually celebrating someone with allegations of violence towards women, racism and transphobia against them. Love that use of energy, king.
“I hoped it didn’t need to be said, but unfortunately, it does. We at Bluesfest stand for something: inclusivity,” the email read.
“We want to support artists who are achieving greatness, which often involves overcoming incredible hurdles. Please take the time to educate yourself with the facts regarding Sticky Fingers.
“They aren’t monsters; they are a seriously great Australian band whose singer has had to overcome barriers that would have sidelined all but the most determined to continue to perform. Yes, he has transgressed in the past, but not for many years.”
It should be noted that the last notable “transgression” that made headlines was in 2021… barely two years ago.
“I question why there is such an ongoing witch-hunt toward a man with a mental health disorder. A man who is attempting to grow and function in society,” the email continued.
“Is Australia the only place in the world where a minority attempts to ban one of Australia’s great bands over something that happened so many years ago?
“Make us proud, Dylan; you are doing great!”
Mental health should never be used as an excuse for violent behaviour in any situation, but this has been said one million times before.
It’s wild that Peter Noble is swinging so hard for Sticky Fingers, especially after he’s already released statements of a similar nature. Is a “minority” really attempting to “ban” the band from playing when it’s YOU who calls the shots? And if the anti-Sticky Fingers voices really are a minority, why have you felt the need to pen four entire statements about it?
I’m so tired.