Barclays, one of the U.K.’s big four banks, has suspended its sponsorship of Live Nation’s slate of festival brands in the U.K. following an uproar over the financial giant’s alleged involvement in the Israel-Gaza war.

The banking giant quietly steps away from its backing of LN’s fests, including Download, Latitude and Isle of Wight, following a wave of criticism, artist revolts and boycotts sparked by Barclays’ reported financial ties with businesses supplying arms to Israel.

A spokesperson for Live Nation confirms to The Guardian: “Following discussion with artists, we have agreed with Barclays that they will step back from sponsorship of our festivals.”

Barclays had signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Live Nation in 2023. It’s understood that the suspension does not apply to the entire contract, according to the U.K. broadsheet.

A spokesperson for Barclays tells The Guardian: “Barclays was asked and has agreed to suspend participation in the remaining Live Nation festivals in 2024. Barclays customers who hold tickets to these festivals are not affected and their tickets remain valid. The protesters’ agenda is to have Barclays debank defence companies which is a sector we remain committed to as an essential part of keeping this country and our allies safe.”

Several performers had already pulled out of the bill for this weekend’s Download festival, including Australia’s own metalcore group Speed, and scores of acts withdrew from the Barclaycard-sponsored The Great Escape showcase event and festival, presented May in Brighton.

“Speed will no longer be playing Download Festival this Friday June 14 due to the recent news of Barclays Banks sponsorship of the event and their involvement in the war in Gaza,” reads an earlier statement issued by the band.

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Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello weighed in. “A bank funding war crimes has no place at music festivals,” he writes on social media. “The fact that Download has listened to its musicians and cut ties with Barclays Bank is a testament to the power of artists taking collective action for human rights. I’ve been pushing hard for this behind the scenes for some time and I salute all the artists who have taken a stand to help make this historic withdrawal happen.”

Barclays’ network, which operates in more than 40 countries, and has a prime piece of real estate in the United States through its naming rights sponsorship for the Barclays Center, the home court of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, is feeling the strain.

Across the U.K., its branches have been targeted by protesters, and human rights watchdog Palestine Solidarity Campaign has spearheaded a boycott, calling for the bank to stay out of Middle East affairs.

Barclays CEO CS Venkatakrishnan took the unusual step of writing an open-letter, published today in the left-leaning Guardian, in which he calls for a ceasefire from activists. “We are appalled by the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Gaza,” he writes. “Activists must not threaten my colleagues as a result of a disinformation campaign against us.”

Download’s lineup features headliners Queens of the Stone Age, Fall Out Boy and Avenged Sevenfold, and wraps this Sunday, June 16 at Donington Park.

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