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Sampa The Great Withdraws From Bluesfest

22 February 2023 | 3:40 pm | Staff Writer

Joins King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard after the inclusion of Sticky Fingers.

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A week after being announced on the 2023 Bluesfest line-up, it has been confirmed that Sampa The Great will no longer appear at the five-day festival this Easter long weekend.

As Double J reports, Sampa The Great's representatives state that she has been requesting her removal from the line-up since last Tuesday, February 14, a day prior to her announcement.

"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," a representative told Double J.

"We then delivered final confirmation to Bluesfest at 7:36pm AEDT on Tuesday 14 February that Sampa was coming off the line-up, in the hopes they would remove her from all materials before they announced the following day."

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She joins King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, who also pulled out of their slated show after the addition of controversial rock act Sticky Fingers to the bill.

At the time of their cancellation on Monday, King Gizzard stated: "As a band and as human beings, we stand against misogyny, racism, transphobia and violence.”

"Surprised and saddened to see Bluesfest commit to presenting content that is in complete opposition to these values,” they said. 

“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.”

Yesterday, Bluesfest director Peter Noble issued a statement to the media.

“I was and remain proud to give the band a chance at rehabilitation,” Noble said.

“Bluesfest hopes that the public will understand, respect, and hopefully, on reflection, agree with the position my company and I have taken. Forgiveness is critical to helping people with mental health challenges continue functioning in society.”

Last week’s sixth line-up announcement featured Sampa The Great alongside a heartfelt tribute to Uncle Archie Roach in conjunction with the Archie Roach Foundation, and Fools and Jerome Williams.

Sticky Fingers' inclusion in that announcement drew social media attention due to the band's well-documented history of alleged altercations, internal band fights and struggles with alcohol addiction and mental health issues.

Returning to Byron Events Farm, Bluesfest 2023 will feature Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Paolo Nutini, Lucinda Williams, Beck, Gang Of Youths, Tash Sultana and more.