U2 to be targeted by tax protesters at Glastonbury Festival

Art Uncut reveal plans to protest over group's tax arrangements

published: Mon 6th Jun 2011

around the festival site (Pyramid)

Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th June 2011
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
£195 - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 175000
last updated: Wed 29th Jun 2011

Art Uncut, which is linked to the UK Uncut campaign, revealed on Friday night in The Guardian (here) that they intend to stage a "highly visible" protest from the audience to draw attention to what they claim is U2's tax avoidance when they appear at Glastonbury Festival as the Friday night headliner.

around the festival site (Pyramid)
A spokesman for the campaign group told the Guardian, "Bono claims to care about the developing world, but U2 greedily indulges in the very kind of tax avoidance which is crippling the poor nations of this world."

Stressing their actions won't be violent or disruptive, Art Uncut say they will be holding up a large, illuminated 'Bono Pay Up' sign during the band's set and that they also plan to float an oversized bundle of fake cash across the crowd; from an Irish Tricolour on one side to a Dutch flag on the other. A reference to the band controversially moving parts of its business affairs from Ireland to the Netherlands in response to a cap on generous tax breaks for artists in the republic.

Campaigners also want to draw attention the impact of tax avoidance on Ireland's precarious public finances. They are reported as saying, "We will be showing the very real impact of U2's tax avoidance on hospitals and schools in Ireland. Anyone watching will be very much aware that Bono needs to pay up."

Art Uncut are an internet-based UK organisation, of artists and musicians, who are opposed to the current round of public expenditure cuts and campaign against those who they claim are 'tax dodging – whether legal or not'. Part of the bigger umbrella direct action tax protesters UK Uncut who are believed to have been involved in the recent protests against Vodafone, TopShop, Boots and Fortnum and Mason.

By announcing plans of their U2 protest in advance though, they run the risk of security being tightened up at the festival.

A spokesperson for One, the anti-poverty campaign group co-founded by Bono, responded to their claimes telling the newspaper, "U2's business arrangements have nothing to do with illegal tax evasion and transfer mispricing in developing countries, critical issues which Bono and One campaign on.

"One is currently lobbying for radical changes in the law that would require extractive industry corporations to report payments to governments, to ensure these substantial resources contribute to the domestic tax base instead of being stashed or siphoned off."

The organisers of Glastonbury Festival have declined to comment on the story. Sources close to the band said Bono and others live in Ireland, are employers there, and are involved in philanthropic activities.

Tickets have sold out. Pyramid Stage headliners are U2, Coldplay, and Beyonce. Other acts confirmed include Primal Scream, Mumford & Sons, Queens of the Stone Age, Morrissey, Biffy Clyro, BB King, Wu Tang Clan, Two Door Cinema Club, Metronomy, Tinie Tempah, Rumer, Pendulum, Plan B, Paul Simon, Laura Marling, Don McLean, The Low Anthem, Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes, The Wombats, The Vaccines, The Kills, Brother, White Lies, Friendly Fires, Jimmy Eat World, Jessie J, Kaiser Chiefs, Eels, TV on the Radio, Bombay Bicycle Club, Noisettes, Cee Lo Green, Chase & Status, Jimmy Cliff, DJ Shadow, Glasvegas, The Streets, Crystal Castles, Wild Beasts, Gruff Rhys, Caribou, Big Audio Dynamite, Warpaint, Brit Floyd, Deacon Blue, Suzanne Vega, Fatboy Slim, Professor Green, Pete Tong, Annie Mac, John Digweed, Subfocus & ID, Melanie, Terry Reid, System 7, Asian Dub Foundation, Lee Scratch Perry, Stereo MC's, The Wombles, Netsky, Bobby Friction, Gorillaz Sound System, Iration Steppas, Mark Thomas, Billy Bragg, Folkface, RSVP, Shlomo's Glasto Circus, Tony Benn, and many more. There are a few more of the smaller stages to be announced, and a few special guests to be confirmed.

To see the line-up in full, along with the latest rumours for some of the other stages, click here >> or to view it as a list click here.

Other attractions will include hands on craft, self-sufficient skill-learning, Hiroshima Peace Flame (burning since 1946), The Rabbit Hole, The Free University of Glastonbury, Mavericks Late Night Cabaret, Strummerville, Cubana Salsa Tent, Hurly Burly, Climate Camp Tripod Stage, HMS Sweet Charity, 'Babylon Uprising' Market Sound System, Arcadia, MP Caroline Lucas, The Dragon Field Underground Piano Bar, The Treehouse Café, The Cider Bus, White Ribbon Alliance Tattoo Parlour, The Crow's Nest Open Mic, The Pilton Palais cinema tent, The Worthy Farm Solar Array, Glastonbury FM, Worthy FM, sound artist Maria Marzaioli, The Glastonbury Firelighter daily newspaper and much, much more!

For detailed information on all aspects of the festival, click here.


Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th June 2011
Worthy Farm, Pilton, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 4AZ, England MAP
£195 - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 175000
last updated: Wed 29th Jun 2011


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