Sticky Fingers Won’t Play At Bluesfest After All

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Organisers of this year’s Bluesfest have announced the removal of Australian band Sticky Fingers from the lineup in a press email that cites cancel culture and a “mistaken belief that forgiveness and redemption are the rock on which our society is built” as cause for the decision.

In a month that has seen Sampa the Great and King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard both cancel their planned appearances due to the controversial band’s inclusion at the festival, event organisers announced this afternoon that Sticky Fingers would not be performing at Bluesfest 2023.

“We are sad to announce that Bluesfest has decided that Sticky Fingers is to step off the Bluesfest 2023 line-up,” an email from Bluesfest 2023 confirmed.

“Bluesfest cannot, sadly, continue to support Sticky Fingers by having them play our 2023 edition, and we apologise to those artists, sponsors and any others we involved in this matter through our mistaken belief that forgiveness and redemption are the rock on which our society is built.”

The statement includes some strong words aimed at critics of the group’s past alleged actions. “The narrative that they continue to deserve to be cancelled, as well as anyone who publicly supports them, is difficult to accept, wherein a portion of society and media passes eternal judgement toward those, in this case, a diagnosed mentally ill person whom we feel doesn’t deserve the continue public scrutiny he’s being given,” the statement reads.

Sticky Finger’s lead singer Dylan Frost has previously been accused of allegedly intimidating female Indigenous musician Thelma Plum; an alleged altercation with a trans model Alexandra V. Tanygina at a Sydney pub; mid and high-range drink driving offences; and a band brawl that resulted in criminal charges. In a notorious interview on triple j‘s Hack, Frost remarked on the band’s reputation by quipping “boys will be boys” — a statement that the band later clarified was a “reference to our past experiences of fighting one another”.

Bluesfest Festival Director Peter Noble has previously defended the band’s inclusion in the 2023 lineup, describing criticism of the group as “cruel and unforgiving”. Many artists — along with one of our own contributors — including Jaguar Jonze, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Kira Puru and Sampa the Great have shared different perspectives on the inclusion of Sticky Fingers in the Bluesfest lineup, with Jaguar Jonze tweeting the following: “Victims of their violent, racist, abusive, mysoginistic behaviour have to carry the pain from their actions and yet we’re expected to just continually forgive even though no accountability was taken and ‘some time’ has passed? Cultural change starts with those in power.”