Neil Young says Hyde Park show will proceed without Barclaycard as sponsor

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

image sourceGetty Images
image captionYoung's best-known songs include Cinnamon Girl, Rockin' In The Free World and Heart of Gold

Neil Young says he'll go ahead with a show in London's Hyde Park next year - but it will no longer be part of the Barclaycard-sponsored BST festival.

The star had previously criticised BST organisers for choosing a "fossil fuel funding entity" as a sponsor.

"That doesn't work for me," he said in a subsequently-deleted website post.

"I believe in science. I worry about the climate crisis and am deeply concerned about its massive global ramifications."

Although he stopped short of cancelling the shows, he said "one option" would be to replace the sponsor.

On Tuesday, he appeared to claim victory in a separate post, saying he was "happy to announce that the Hyde park show will proceed without Barclays as a sponsor".

"We are overjoyed, so happy to be playing the show!"

Later in the day, BST organisers said in a statement: "Neil Young has made the decision to move away from the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time concert series.

"Neil Young and Bob Dylan will play a stand-alone concert in Hyde Park on the same date, 12 July. All tickets will remain valid."

Barclaycard told the BBC it would not comment on the situation. Other BST gigs, including dates by Robbie Williams and Florence + The Machine, will not be affected.

'Jumped the gun'

Barclays was listed as a major funder of fossil fuel extraction in a 2018 report by the non-profit group Banking on Climate Change, receiving a "D+" rating.

Earlier this year, the bank's AGM was disrupted by protestors critical of its funding for oil pipelines from Canadian tar sands.

Barclaycard, a division of Barclays that provides credit card and payment services, has sponsored the BST Hyde Park concerts since their inception in 2013, with headline acts including The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and Tom Petty.

Young also played the festival in 2014 with his band Crazy Horse, apparently without objection to the bank's involvement.

On Sunday, the star aired a number of grievances about his upcoming concert, claiming it was announced prematurely, and objecting to the fact that tickets were put on sale to the public ahead of his fans.

"I had no idea the announcement was coming that day," he wrote. "I was still finessing the art for the poster and trying to make sure that all of the details of the show were agreeable to me.

"Then, suddenly, someone jumped the gun. The tickets were put on sale and the announcement was made, all without my knowledge."

The post included lyrics from Young's 1988 anti-corporate sponsorship song This Note's For You: "I ain't singing for Pepsi / Don't sing for Coke / I won't sing for nobody / Makes me look like a joke."

Fittingly, the post announcing Barclaycard's withdrawal from the event was headlined "Sponsored By Nobody".

The 73-year-old is an active environmentalist, criticising the automotive industry, supporting anti-fracking activists and recording songs about climate change, including 2014's Who's Gonna Stand Up? (and Save The Earth).

More recently, the star took President Trump to task over his response to the California wildfires, in which he lost his home.

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