"We are deeply disappointed to be in this position"
Prolific psych-rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have announced today that they will no longer appear at Byron Bay's Bluesfest this Easter long weekend. The band have pulled out of their appearance just days after the event's final lineup announcement, which included controversial rock band Sticky Fingers.
Last week's line up announcement also included Sampa The Great and a heartfelt tribute to Uncle Archie Roach in conjunction with the Archie Roach Foundation, however, it was Sticky Fingers' inclusion that drew social media attention after the band's well-documented history of alleged altercations, internal band fights and struggles with alcohol addiction and mental health issues.
Promoter Peter Noble defended the decision in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this week.
“Everybody has a right to be forgiven and to show who they can be ... and this man is attempting to do that, so that’s why he’s on Bluesfest. Our community is one of inclusiveness ... and this man deserves an opportunity. Give him a chance. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
The band's inclusion was slammed by artists including Jaguar Jonze and Camp Cope. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard confirmed their withdrawal from the bill this afternoon.
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"As a band and as human beings, we stand against misogyny, racism, transphobia and violence," the band said in an Instagram statement. "Surprised and saddened to see Bluesfest commit to presenting content that is in complete opposition to these values. Given this decision by the festival, we have decided to cancel our appearance at Bluesfest. We are deeply disappointed to be in this position but sometimes you need to be willing to make sacrifices to stand up for your values. This is, unfortunately, one of those moments".
Bluesfest has yet to address the band's statement.
Sticky Fingers have previously cancelled festival appearances due to public pressure, including 2018's This That festival although proceeded with their shows at the troubled Grass Is Greener festival last last year. The band have continued to sell out their own tours, despite failing to get radio or mainstream media support on their latest album Lekkerboy.