Controversial Band STICKY FINGERS ‘CANCELLED’ from BLUESFEST Line-up

WORDS: Steve Waterman - ORM Music Writer PHOTOGRAPHY Supplied

The organisers of the Bluesfest have been forced to ‘cancel’ controversial band Sticky Fingers from appearing at this year’s festival.

In a statement issued today, the Bluefest said it had ‘sadly’ decided against the band’s appearance despite an earlier statement in February saying they would be included in the extensive international and national line-up for the February festival.

“We are sad to announce that Bluesfest has decided that Sticky Fingers is to step off the Bluesfest 2023 line-up,” Bluesfest said in a statement issued to Ocean Road today.

“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 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 judgment toward those, in this case, a diagnosed mentally ill person whom we feel doesn’t deserve the continued public scrutiny he’s being given.”

Public campaigns and personal attacks against Sticky Fingers have dated back to 2016 when lead singer Dylan Frost was accused of abusing and threatening other artists. Frost has subsequently been diagnosed with bipolar schizophrenia disorder.

On February 21, Bluesfest Director Peter Noble appealed for forgiveness for the band’s alleged misdemeanours dating back more than seven years, after a band threatened to withdraw from Bluesfest if Sticky Fingers played.

At the time, Mr Noble said he hoped ‘the public will understand, respect, and hopefully, on reflection, agree with the position my company and I have taken. Forgiveness is critical to helping people with mental health challenges continue functioning in society’.

“I believe an attempt to victimise this man and his band in the circumstances is cruel and unforgiving. 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.”

However today, Bluesfest confirmed it had been forced to deny Sticky Fingers a gig.

“We thank everyone who has contacted us and advised their support in this matter, especially those suffering from a mental illness who feel they cannot have their illness supported in a manner whereby they feel included in society,” said the statement.

“Sticky Fingers has done so many good deeds that have never been reported, including building and funding recording studios and music education programs in disadvantaged regional communities.

We will now move on, put this behind us and continue to plan and present our best-ever edition of Bluesfest… proudly.”

The Bluesfest will be held from 6-10 April at Byron Bay and will feature an array of international acts including the Doobie Brothers, Jackson Browne, Paolo Nutini, Elvis Costello, Counting Crows, and Beck as well as an array of Australian star performers such as Gang of Youths.