The Brag Media
exclusive News June 28, 2018

Music industry responds to Sticky Fingers’ inclusion on THIS THAT lineup

Music industry responds to Sticky Fingers’ inclusion on THIS THAT lineup

Fans and industry alike have taken to social media to voice their opinions on Newcastle festival THIS THAT’s decision to book controversial Sydney band Sticky Fingers.

Many have criticised the festival’s inclusion of the band, who have been under intense scrutiny over the past few years following a string of allegations of racism and violence, which Sticky Fingers responded to in a “final” statement following their interview with Hack in April.  

This performance would be their first major festival appearance since the band went on hiatus in December 2016.

TMN reached out to festival organisers, promoters and programmers to hear their thoughts on the issue, as well as their own policies and ethos surrounding booking decisions.

We also chatted to Your Choice – a music industry initiative launched last year to actively involve organisations and individuals in taking responsibility to address cultural issues and harmful behaviour.

THIS THAT are signatories of the Your Choice movement.

Regarding the festival’s decision to bill Sticky Fingers, a spokesperson from the organisation told TMN that “If there is an artist whose behaviour is damaging, as an industry we are all accountable to take a stand and make it clear that this won’t be tolerated in our community…

“We were really disappointed to see the statement from THIS THAT yesterday; the language of that statement trivialised and dismissed a wider community concern around Sticky Fingers’ behaviour, which is unhelpful to all parties.”

THIS THAT’s statement read:

“The THIS THAT team do not condone abuse and strive to create a safe and welcoming space for all those attending the festival.

The team is aware of the rumours and allegations surrounding recent behaviour of some of the members of the band Sticky Fingers.

THIS THAT will not be commenting further on the band’s personal matters.”

“It would be great to have a deeper understanding as to why the promoters have chosen to bill their line up the way they have,” continued the Your Choice representative.

“It seems odd not to have addressed it in full, knowing the current concern around that band and the response they receive.

“By supporting Your Choice, we know there is an understanding and an embracing of the ethos by the promoters. It would be great to have a better insight into their decision as to why they have gone down this road with their booking, and if they feel that decision still allows them to align [with Your Choice].”

There are also calls for other acts on the bill to take a stand against the decision, lead by executive direct and former Get Up campaign director Sally Rugg in a series of tweets yesterday afternoon.

Speaking to TMN, Rugg said that she is disappointed not only with THIS THAT’s decision to book Sticky Fingers, but also with their statement, which she says is “immediately trying to dodge criticism of their decision to give Sticky Fingers a stage.

“They knew it was problematic and anticipated this response, but booked them all the same.

THIS THAT say that they have no comment on the allegations of harassment and aggression from members of Sticky Fingers towards women, but by booking them at their festival they are in fact making a very loud comment: THIS THAT are happy to turn a blind eye to allegations of harassment and turn their back on fans who are affected by misogyny, racism and trans-misogyny in order to turn a profit.

“That’s the festival’s prerogative, but it’s also the prerogative of the music community and the general public to criticise that decision.”

TMN have contacted THIS THAT for an explanation regarding their decision to book Sticky Fingers. There has been no response at the time of writing. 

We also reached out to a number of other festivals to hear their thoughts.

Secret Garden festival director Clare Downes explained that their policy is that “we won’t book acts if we are aware that they have any claims of abuse or assault against them.

“It’s really important to us that Secret Garden is safe and inclusive festival. That means who we have on our stages is reflected in the crowd.

People should be held accountable for their actions and we have a responsibility to hold them accountable.”

Andrew Orvis, director of Queenscliff Music Festival, added: In today’s society everyone regardless of what they do for a living has a responsibility to support movements such as  #MeToo.

“Queenscliff Music Festival is a very family friendly, cross-generational and inclusive type festival so for us it’s certainly extremely important that any decisions we make support safety/inclusion etc.

“Do I support THIS THAT’s decision to include Sticky Fingers on their lineup? I don’t like to comment on other Festivals programming. It’s their decision, their festival, not mine. They can do what they want. Would I book them for Queenscliff again? NO!”

If THIS THAT chose to remove Sticky Fingers from their lineup they would not be the first festival to do so.

Bassist Paddy Cornwall commented on an article by Music Feeds accusing Rob Giovannoni and “your kronnies over at select” for getting them “pulled from the Yours & Owls Festival as well as the Sydney Meyer, over all of this.”

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