After Weeks of Controversy, Sticky Fingers Have Been Dropped From Bluesfest 2023
The festival released a reluctant statement showing support for the band while announcing it'll be removing them from this year's lineup.
March 02, 2023
Following weeks of controversy around Bluesfest's decision to book Sticky Fingers for its 2023 edition, the festival has decided to remove the band from its lineup. The announcement comes after both King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard and Sampa the Great withdrew from this year's event following the band's addition.
Five weeks out from the festival, which is scheduled to arrive at North Byron Parklands across the Easter long weekend, Bluesfest has released reluctant a statement announcing that Sticky Fingers will not be performing — while also defending the controversial band.
"Bluesfest cannot, sadly, continue to support Sticky Fingers by having them play our 2023 edition, and we apologise to those artists, sponsors and any others we involved in this matter through our mistaken belief that forgiveness and redemption are the rock on which our society is built," the statement reads.
"The narrative that they continue to deserve to be cancelled, as well as anyone who publicly supports them, is difficult to accept, wherein a portion of society and media passes eternal judgment toward those, in this case, a diagnosed mentally ill person whom we feel doesn't deserve the continued public scrutiny he's being given."
In the two weeks following Bluesfest's sixth artist announcement for 2023, which featured Sticky Fingers, the festival experienced acts dropping out. When King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard cancelled their appearance, it cited Bluesfest's decision to book content that conflicts with their values.
"As a band and as human beings, we stand against misogyny, racism, transphobia and violence," King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's statement reads. "Surprised and saddened to see Bluesfest commit to presenting content that is in complete opposition to these values."
The removal of Sticky Fingers is the fourth confirmed lineup change since Monday, February 20, after The Soul Rebels featuring GZA, Talib Kweli and Big Freedia were also removed from the lineup due to a separate disagreement with the festival's founder Peter Noble.
Dylan Frost, Sticky Fingers' frontman, has been the subject of serious allegations which include physically threatening First Nations singer Thelma Plum and harassing a transgender woman at a Sydney pub. Frost and bassist Paddy Cornwall were also caught in an alleged brawl with each other in 2019 which saw Cornwall charged with affray.
"We will now move on, put this behind us and continue to plan and present our best-ever edition of Bluesfest... proudly," continues the statement from Bluesfest, before linking to a lengthy article from The Weekend Australian about the band.
The festival will continue without Sticky Fingers, The Soul Rebels, King Giz and Sampa the Great from Thursday, April 6 until Monday, April 10 with headliners including Gang of Youths, Paolo Nutini, Tash Sultana, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers and Beck.
Bluesfest 2023 will run from Thursday, April 6–Monday, April 10 at Byron Events Farm, Tyagarah. For the most up-to-date lineup, head to the Bluesfest website.
Top image: Lachlan Douglas.
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