Newcastle Festival This Saturday Sees Huge Last Minute Drop Out Due to Misconduct Allegations
Now I don’t want to take sides or get weirdly political here, BUT…..
Today’s scheduled Hit The North festival in Newcastle, England was set to feature an outlandishly packed schedule of some of the best indie and alternative acts today in an area in the north of England which is one of the best incubators of the genre remaining. The likes of DMA’s, Sports Team, Vistas, Fuzzy Sun, and The K’s were set to headline shows up a handful of venues across the city, but just this morning and afternoon dozens of bands all of a sudden pulled out.
Why you may ask? The reasoning revolves around allegations around the event’s promotors SSD Concerts. All the way back in April there was news about employees being underpaid and being objects of harassment that led to the managing director at the time, one Steve Davis to resign.
Subsequent investigations went on by an independent HR consultant and found no evidence of “racism, misogyny or sexual misconduct was found.” Now you can read more about everything here but apparently this was basically one former employee who hacked an instagram account and posted a bunch of shit on Glassdoor that went viral about how terribly they were treated. I don’t know if any of this was actually true, or how bad it was, but I usually tend to think where there’s smoke there’s fire, but I don’t really have any desire to comment on that because it essentially doesn’t matter.
What does matter to me as a fan of music and concerts more than anything, is the response of many of the booked acts for this festival pulling out the day of in protest of SSD Concerts. You can see an edited list of the original lineup with all the bands that have already pulled out.
And there’s even more that have pulled out since.
Here’s some tweets directly from some of the bands that announced they’re pulling out.
Given, I’m really not sure exactly what’s happening with the “ongoing situation” here, but it seems like nearly every band and their management got together to boycott the show.
I’ll begin by giving these bands some credit for standing up and making a financial sacrifice by pulling out; they’re not likely to get paid if they don’t show up and most of these are indie and even unsigned artists and this was a big festival to play. So you know these bands cancelling must really have some conviction in deciding not to support the festival and boycott it’s promoters in doing so.
But I’m not entirely sure any of these bands really know the full story either. There’s probably a handful of people on earth that really know the truth behind these allegations, so it’s hard to have a true conviction over something like this and it not seem a little disingenuous or ignorant. Still most of the response on social media I saw was supportive from fans to the acts that cancelled. The remainder was mostly people complaining about how they’re not going to get a refund.
Now that all being said, for me personally, as a fan, if I had tickets to this I would be pissed.
Who’s really getting punished here? 3 groups: the artists not getting paid because they pulled out; the artists still playing and getting no support and likely a shell of the original expected audience; and the fans who bought tickets and will hardly get to see any bands or are just going to abandon going and not get a refund.
But you know who doesn’t get punished? The promoters. They still get their money, they move on. Their reputation was already damaged likely beyond repair after this whole situation unfolded. I mean what manager and venues are going to want to work with them after all these allegations and investigations. Concert promoters are a dime a dozen. So what’s the point of all these acts pulling out now only hurting themselves, their fellow bands, and their fans while there’s no further punishment passed onto the perceived villains?
There’s simply no sense in it.
It’s odd to think about it, but there really is no wisdom required to make a “good” decision anymore. For the most part these bands pulling out are being given a pat on the back for standing up to the big bad wolf, but even thinking 30 seconds about the consequences of the actions of their choice would tell you playing or not playing the show makes absolutely no difference to the future or past of SSD Concerts, and you’re only hurting the fans, yourselves, and fellow artists.
I still get it though. As fans we need to support artists, and the artists are always going to be at the forefront of protest and support of “the people” and their fans. But why can’t band managers stop worrying about media perception and actually think for once about the direct consequences of their actions and fuck off to the optics.
– A Fan.