Tropical Fuck Storm posted a statement to social media commenting on Sydney Festival’s “dodgy, pointless and controversial” sponsorship partnership with the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, which supplied $20,000 in funding for the dance performance, Decadence, a collaboration between Sydney Dance Company and Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin (of Tel Aviv’s Batsheva Dance Company).
Like many artists caught up the prevailing imbroglio, TFS have been bombarded by online abuse in recent days. The abuse is coming from both sides – if artists don’t cancel immediately, they’re accused of being anti-Palestine and pro-apartheid. If they do cancel and condemn the Israeli regime, they’re accused of antisemitism.
Here is the band’s statement:
Rather than immediately announce online that we’d jump ship, we thought we’d actually try to do something in the real world for everyone involved and try to encourage Sydney Festival to do the right thing and fix the problem they created, that problem being Sydney Festival taking on a sponsor so dodgy, pointless and controversial it would inevitably mean that hundreds of unwitting artists (who are having a rough enough time with the pandemic as it is) would become the targets of online harassment, bullying, smear campaigns, ridiculous accusations, misrepresentations and abuse from total strangers who have no idea what’s actually going on behind the scenes, what any artist’s position is or even what they’re talking about.
At the time of posting, Sydney Festival has stated they have no intention to refund the money or sever the sponsorship relationship, even though the shit sandwich they’ve landed every billed artist in is blatantly obvious to them.
Due to this complete lack of respect and integrity towards the artists billed from Sydney Festival and its partners, we have decided to cancel our two appearances.
We want to apologise to our fans who have made arrangements to come to the show; we appreciate you all. When we do finally get to play for you, Sydney, it is going to be a corker. We will see you soon!
Tropical Fuck Storm were due to play two shows in Sydney in late January. The band’s tour behind their latest album, Deep States, kicks off in Victoria this weekend. Find the full list of dates here.