SPONSORED BY NOBODY: NEIL YOUNG EDGES OUT BARCLAYS AS A FESTIVAL SPONSOR

Neil Young performing in Oslo, Norway, 2009 Image: Per Ole Hagen

Internationally renowned musician, Neil Young, has slammed Barclaycard – the sponsor of the British Summer Time Hyde Park 2019 show. Young was due to perform at the show, alongside Bob Dylan, when the sponsorship controversy hit last weekend. Young updated his website – Neil Young Archives – with a statement from himself:

“There’s no doubt about it – it’s been a massive fuck up! There is more to life than Money. There is more to decision making than Habit. There is more to results than Greed. I am standing against Barclays. Not on their stage. Not under their name.”

Barclays have long since been criticised for their heavy investment in fossil fuels. Along with the Tar Sands Pipeline in Canada, they also back fracking in the UK, at Third Energy’s Kirby Misperton site. However, in 2017, the bank’s chairman, John McFarlane made a pledge of divestment to shareholders during the AGM. He stated:

“We regret that we made this investment. We’re hoping to divest this company at the appropriate time. As soon as possible.”

Just one year later, Barclays ploughed cash into Third Energy’s fracking project in Kirby Misperton, increasing its loan to the company to 16.9m as of October 2018.

Neil Young statement continued, stating his opposition to Barclays over their backwards views on energy investment and the flouting of democracy:

“It shows how out of touch with reality Barclays Bank is, still investing in Fossil Fuels. Our children’s Planet is in trouble. Fossil Fuels are a major cause. Every day it gets much worse. Science on this matter is indisputable. Period. Barclays is still involved in the Canadian Tar Sands and currently backs fracking in England, overtly against the will of the people. It’s like they live in the past.

Anti-fracking groups in the UK responded to the news, with Pippa Hockey saying:

“UK anti-fracking groups wrote to Neil Young as soon as the announcement was made about the Barclays sponsored show, to make him aware of Barclays’ track record.

“We are delighted that a Neil Young, a man of principles, has helped to shine a light on Barclays’ dirty practices. The very fact that they are funding Tar Sands Pipelines in Canada and fracking in the UK shows they are not listening to scientists and what is right not only for the planet, but for their investors.

“It’s high time companies stopped investing in fossil fuels and took serious action on climate change.”

Young is a known activist for environmental causes, supporting anti-fracking campaigners and previously raising funds for the Native Canadian group, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, and their legal challenge against Shell Canada’s Jackpine Mine expansion.

Wednesday 12th December 2018 saw Young announce via his website that the summer event will now go ahead without the involvement of Barclays:

 

Barclaycard refused to comment on the situation.