More than 80% of acts pull out of scandal-hit festival

Dozens of bands pulled out of the Hit the North festival following allegations against the promoters of the event, SSD Concerts.

These allegations forced the festival to put on a very limited production.

A total of 79 bands were scheduled to play the festival which was to take place in Newcastle last weekend – but by the time it went ahead just 11 artists were left.

The boycott of the festival comes after the company and their managing director, Steve Davis, faced allegations of inappropriate behaviour, sexual misconduct and bad business practices in April 2021. Allegations which he denies.

Additionally, former staff members accused SSD of underpaying workers and making them feel uncomfortable while doing their jobs.

This led to Davis leaving his role a week after the allegations were made.

He made a statement following his departure: “I would firstly like to say that it is vital to take any allegations of inappropriate behaviour seriously.

“If people feel they have been treated poorly, they should feel safe in speaking out and confident that action will be taken.

“I am sorry for any mistakes I have made along the way, it has never been my intention. I would never want to upset or make anyone feel uncomfortable.

“If that has been the case, then I am shocked and saddened and am truly sorry. I will learn from any examples of such behaviour.”

Action was consequently taken in which an independent and internal investigation was carried out.

The results of the investigation were released a day before the festival was scheduled to take place.

No evidence of racism, misogyny or sexual misconduct by the managing director were found.

The investigation also shed some light on the accusations, they were made by an ex-employer of SSD Concerts, aswell multiple allegations were made by the same person.

SSD Concerts told Chronicle Live that they ‘could, and should, have done better.’

The company called the allegations ‘false and malicious’, and said it ‘did not tolerate bullying, harassment or discrimination in any form’.

But, acts started to boycott the festival on the same day, with artist Oscar Lang writing on twitter: ‘As much as we love playing shows, we don’t love supporting sexual misconduct allegations.’

The Goa Express also directly blamed SSD Concerts for the reason for them pulling out.

They took to twitter to share: “Sorry Newcastle but we’ll be pulling out of Hit the North due to the ongoing issues surrounding SSD.”

In addition to Lang, headline act Sports Team, Stockport band Fuzzy Sun and Manchester based band The Blinders all pulled out from the North East festival.

The festival still went ahead, with three more last minute acts being added to the lineup.

Venues were cut from five to three, as well as 15% of the original acts scheduled to play.

A crowdfunder has subsequently been set up to support the bands who pulled out, as well as the staff affiliated with them.

The GoFundMe page was set up by Cole Gilroy, a tour and event manager.

He said on the website: “Organisers, SSD Concerts have failed to sufficiently address ongoing claims of abuse which has led to many artists rightly pulling out of the festival.

“A number of artists were let down by the organiser and need help with costs that these artists will lose out on.

“We also hope to raise enough to help working crew etc who will also be losing out after what has been a terrible time for this industry over the last two years.

“Any help is appreciated – the North East is better than this and we can rebuild our scene.”

To donate to the crowdfunder and support the bands who decided not to play Hit the North Festival, follow https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-support-our-scene-and-emerging-artists?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

Main photo courtesy of Hit the North Twitter

Related Articles