Sampa the Great
Sampa the Great | Credit: Don Arnold/WireImage

Sampa the Great is the Latest Artist to Pull Out of Bluesfest

Sampa the Great was added to the 2023 Bluesfest lineup seven days ago, but the Zambian hip hop performer has announced her withdrawal, as confirmed by Double J.

In contrast to King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, who announced their withdrawal in a public statement, Sampa’s name was quietly removed from Bluesfest’s official channels. Representatives for Sampa the Great have confirmed she will not be performing at the Byron Bay event.

Sampa the Great joins King Gizzard in boycotting Bluesfest

Online sleuths noticed something was amiss when Sampa posted a list of upcoming festival dates on social media last week – A Festival Called Panama, WOMADelaide and Ability Fest were all included, but Bluesfest was not.

Sampa posted this info just one day after her name was featured in Bluesfest’s sixth lineup announcement, indicating her displeasure at being included alongside the controversial Sticky Fingers.

“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,” Sampa’s reps said in a statement to Double J.

The fallout from Sticky Fingers’ inclusion has been considerable enough to force festival director Peter Noble to field questions on the matter from The Sydney Morning Herald. Yesterday, Noble released an official statement defending the band’s place on the lineup.

“I believe an attempt to victimise this man and his band in the circumstances is cruel and unforgiving,” he wrote. “This cruelty and lack of compassion are foreign to my values, as is the attempt to suppress the band’s artistic expression. I was and remain proud to give the band a chance at rehabilitation.”

The controversy stems from Sticky Fingers’ history of alleged antisocial behaviour, including accusations of racism, sexism and transphobia made against singer Dylan Frost, as well as incidents of violence and disorder, and the band’s perceived lack of contrition.

Further Reading

Bluesfest’s Peter Noble Releases Statement Regarding His Decision to Give Sticky Fingers a “Chance at Rehabilitation”

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Cancel Bluesfest Performance

Sticky Fingers Address Onstage Walk-Off In Melbourne

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