King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard Have Pulled Out of Bluesfest 2023

"As a band and as human beings, we stand against misogyny, racism, transphobia and violence," the band's statement reads.
Ben Hansen
Published on February 20, 2023

Prolific psych-rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have pulled out of Byron Bay Bluesfest, the annual festival that's scheduled for the Easter long weekend. The band's decision to withdraw from the festival has been kept reasonably vague but, in a statement, the Melbourne sextet have cited the festival's decision to book content that conflicts with their values as the reason they won't be appearing.

"As a band and as human beings, we stand against misogyny, racism, transphobia and violence," the statement reads. "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," continues the statement. "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."

The band's decision comes five days after Bluesfest unveiled its sixth artist announcement which featured controversial band Sticky Fingers. The booking of Sticky Fingers received online backlash from others in the music industry including Jaguar Jonze and Camp Cope's Sarah Thompson.

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 women 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.

The festival has responded to the backlash on Facebook and in now-deleted Instagram comments.

Bluesfest previously faced controversy after festival director Peter Noble compared a Jewish woman to a Nazi for commenting on the gender imbalance present on the first announcement of the festival's 2018 lineup.

The festival will continue without King Giz from Thursday, April 6 until Monday, April 10 with headliners including Gang of Youths, Paolo Nutini, Tash Sultana, Bonnie Raitt, The Doobie Brothers and Sampa the Great.


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You can read King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard's full statement here.

Top image: Jason Galea

Published on February 20, 2023 by Ben Hansen
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