CMAT has announced that she has pulled out of Latitude 2024 over the festival’s sponsorship with Barclays and its ties to Israel.

The Irish singer-songwriter took to her official Instagram account to share a statement explaining why she had decided to not perform at the Suffolk Music Festival. She used a photo of her attending the festival back in 2021 as the background photo of her post.

She began her statement by pointing out how Barclays is the festival’s main sponsor, and discussing its connections to ongoing war in Gaza.

“You may or may not be aware, but Latitude’s main sponsor is Barclays bank, who have been revealed to I have increased their financing of various companies who are supplying weapons and military technology to Israel. Specifically, it has invested over £100 Million into General Dynamics which provides gun systems to the fighter jets which are being used by Israel to bombard Gaza,” began her statement.

CMAT – real name Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson – went on to reveal she had made her decision to pull out of Latitude weeks ago but hoped that with the boycott of The Great Escape, Latitude would go on to find a new sponsor. “It has been made clear to me that it will not happen.”

“I will not allow my precious work, my music, which I love so much, to get into bed with violence. Myself, and the entire CMAT touring crew who I love so much, refuse to be complicit in genocide,” she wrote.

She continued: “I want to say now utterly devastated i am that it has come to this. I love Latitude festival, they gave me one of my first big festival slots back in 2021, and playing the sunrise arena is one of my most cherished memories ever.

“It was the first time I’d met so many people who believed in me and i had been looking forward to the full circle moment this slot would have given me, the band, and my fans. I really hope to play this festival again in the future under different circumstances, and under a different sponsor.”

CMAT added that she was sorry to be letting down her fans that had bought tickets to see her at the festival and hopes that they are understanding and hopes that she will be able to make it up to them somehow.

She also shared that she thought about donating her performance fee and explained: “It honestly just isn’t what the BDS movement is asking me to do, and i could never claim to know more than them.”

“Let me be clear. There is a genocide happening in Palestine right now. All I can do as a citizen is turn up to as many demonstrations as possible and try to follow the advice of the BDS boycott list as closely as I possibly can,” she wrote. “This falls under that action. I hope that as many of you reading this as possible will choose to show your solidarity with the Palestinian people in whatever way you can.”

She follows Pillow Queens, who became the first band to boycott this year’s edition of Latitude festival over its sponsorship with the bank and their ties to Israel.

According to the Latitude Festival partnership website, Barclaycard’s description reads: “Official Headline Partner of Latitude Festival. Barclaycard are excited to return to this year’s festival season as official naming partner for Latitude Festival 2024!

“Barclaycard is your pass to perks for music-loving Barclaycard and Barclays Premier cardholders with early access to tickets and discounts on food and drink at selected vendors.”

Other sponsors include TK Maxx, Three, Co-Op, Bacardi, Grey Goose, Bombay Sapphire, Pepsi Max, Big Green Coach, Aperol Spritz, and Tia Maria.

The announcement of CMAT pulling out of Latitude comes shortly after the aforementioned major boycott of The Great Escape in Brighton earlier this month, also due to its ties with Barclays. Over 100 acts dropped out of this year’s Great Escape Festival in solidarity with Palestine – constituting approximately a quarter of the full programme.

Speaking to NME about their decision to pull out of The Great Escape, Big Scary Monsters founder Kevin Douch said: “Honestly, for us it was an easy decision. We spoke to our bands and explained our position, asked them what they wanted to do and it was unanimous that we’d all pull out. It’s been awesome seeing so many people getting behind this. There are enough voices now to make Live Nation listen and hopefully remove Barclays as a sponsor.”

A Barclays spokesperson shared a statement that read: “We recognise the profound human suffering caused by this conflict. We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do. Barclays does not make its own investments in these companies.”

They continued: “As a bank, our job is to provide financial services to businesses, including those in the defence sector. Clients in this sector include US, UK or European companies which supply defence products to NATO and other allies including Ukraine and are an important contributor to our security in the UK. Decisions on arms embargos are rightly the job of elected governments.”

When previously approached about The Great Escape, a Barclays spokesperson pointed to their online Q&A ahead of their upcoming AGM and said that they would not be making further comment.

“Barclays has been the subject of criticism in relation to Gaza based on two arguments: that Barclays is an investor in these businesses, and that we provide a range of financial services to clients which produce equipment used by the Israeli Defence Force,” the Q&A read.

“We have been asked why we invest in nine defence companies supplying Israel, but this mistakes what we do. We trade in shares of listed companies in response to client instruction or demand and that may result in us holding shares. We are not making investments for Barclays and Barclays is not a ‘shareholder’ or ‘investor’ in that sense in relation to these companies.”

Barclays continued: “An associated claim is that we invest in Elbit, an Israeli defence manufacturer which also supplies the UK armed forces with equipment and training. For the reasons mentioned, it is not true that we have made a decision to invest in Elbit. We may hold shares in relation to client driven transactions, which is why we appear on the share register, but we are not investors. We note also that Elbit is highlighted because campaigners claim it makes cluster bombs. We would cease any relationship with any business where we saw evidence that it manufactures cluster bombs or components.

“As a bank, our job is to provide financial services to thousands of business clients and that includes those in the defence sector. Clients in this sector include US, UK or European companies which supply defence products to NATO and other allies including Ukraine.”

NME has reached out to Latitude for a comment.

In a move similar to the Great Escape walkout, many artists refused to play at SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas in March because of the event’s connections to the US Army and weapons companies amid the Israel-Gaza conflict. These included Gruff RhysKneecap, SprintsLambrini Girls, GelRachel ChinouririCardinals and NewDad.

SXSW responded to the cancellations in a statement: “We are an organisation that welcomes diverse viewpoints. Music is the soul of SXSW, and it has long been our legacy. We fully respect the decision these artists made to exercise their right to free speech.”

Explaining its sponsorship with the US Army, SXSW wrote: “The defence industry has historically been a proving ground for many of the systems we rely on today. These institutions are often leaders in emerging technologies, and we believe it’s better to understand how their approach will impact our lives.”

The post CMAT joins boycott of Latitude 2024 due to Barclaycard sponsorship: “I will not allow my music to get into bed with violence” appeared first on NME.