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Editors pull out of Park Live in Kazakhstan over Russian tech company sponsor

Our Show Times

Editors have pulled out of Park Life festival in Almaty, Kazakhstan, due to concerns over its Russian sponsor.

READ MORE: Editors – ‘EBM’ review: brooding bangers show flashes of their very best

The Birmingham six-piece were due to play the festival in Kazakhstan’s largest city, but announced on Instagram earlier today (July 9) that they are no longer involved.

“As some people are aware,” they wrote, “We have been in talks to play Park Live festival in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Editors, who recently played a show at the newly reopened O2 Academy Brixton, continued: “However, having now been informed who the sponsor of the event is, we have decided to withdraw our involvement. We dearly hope to come to Kazakhstan in the future, under different circumstances.”

Yandex, a Russian technology company based in Moscow, is sponsoring the festival, which is calling itself Yandex Park Live. One of its biggest products is Yandex Search, one of the biggest search engines in the world and a rival to the likes of Google and Bing.

The festival takes place from September 6 to 8, and the headliners are Die Antwoord, Tyga and Placebo. Other acts set to appear include Dizzee Rascal, Oliver Tree, and Brennan Savage, with more scheduled to be announced.

In February, Yandex announced it was going to pull out of Russia, with its Dutch-based parent company selling it for 475billion roubles (£4.2b, $5.2b). This means that Yandex’s Russian business is now fully Russian-owned.

Arkady Volozh, Yandex’s co-founder who left the company in 2022, has spoken out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, the European Union has sanctioned him, saying in 2022 that Yandex is “responsible for promoting [Russian] state media and narratives in its search results, and deranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

An experiment by BBC Monitoring in 2022 showed that the search engine’s results didn’t report Russian atrocities in the city of Bucha, Ukraine, too.

The government of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky declared today a day of mourning after civilians were killed in a series of attacks where targets included the likes of Ukraine’s largest children’s hospital.

Meanwhile, Russia claimed to have captured the village of Yasnobrodivka in the east of Ukraine, near the city of Donetsk – currently occupied by the country.

Over the last few months, a number of festivals have been hit with boycotts from both artists and fans due to sponsors. Over 100 acts boycotted The Great Escape in Brighton as part of the campaign Bands Boycott Barclays.

The campaign claims that Barclays Bank, which sponsored The Great Escape as well as other UK festivals including Latitude and Isle of Wight, increased its investment in arms companies that trade with Israel.

South by Southwest (SXSW) in Texas also saw a lot of boycotts earlier this year, due to the festival’s sponsorship by the US Army. NME described it as a “festival mired in confusion and controversy at the time.”

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