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Comedians Sophie Duker, Grace Campbell and Alexandra Haddow have pulled out of Latitude Festival in protest over event sponsor Barclays’ ties to the Israel-Hamas war.

They follow in the footsteps of musical acts including Irish singer-songwriter CMAT, who announced last week that she would no longer be performing at the Suffolk festival.

Duker shared a photo of her at a previous Latitude Festival, along with a short video explaining that she would no longer be performing as long as Barclays were the sponsor, despite it being “magical for me in the past”.

She said she believed the bank was “profiting from the production of weaponry” used in the Israel-Hamas war.

“I am committed to minimising my complicity in what I consider to be a pattern of abhorrent, unlawful violence,” Duker added.

She also said her pro-Palestinian stance “has gained me violent abuse, targeted pile-ons and death threats”.

The Palestine Action, a group whose members attacked 20 of the bank branches across England and Scotland this week, has accused Barclays of having financial interests in both Israel’s weapons trade and fossil fuels.

Fellow comedian Grace Campbell, who is the daughter of Sir Tony Blair’s former spokesman Alastair Campbell, shared Duker’s post in an Instagram story, announcing she was also pulling out of the festival – which is being held from the 25-29 July.

Meanwhile, comedian Alexandra Haddow said she too would no longer appear, writing on Instagram: “I can’t in good conscience take the fee”.

She went on to say that Barclays was on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) official boycott list, which is a Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestments and economic sanctions against Israel.

She said that while she hoped to play the festival in the future, she felt that boycotting this year’s event “is one of the only things I can actively do”.

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In response to the exodus of acts, Barclays has defended its position, saying it recognises “the profound human suffering” caused by the war.

“We provide vital financial services to US, UK and European public companies that supply defence products to NATO and its allies,” it said in a statement.

Pic: Palestine Action/X
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Pic: Palestine Action/X

“Barclays does not directly invest in these companies. The defence sector is fundamental to our national security and the UK government has been clear that supporting defence companies is compatible with ESG considerations.

“Decisions on the implementation of arms embargos to other nations are the job of respective elected governments.”

In a post shared on her Instagram account last week, CMAT said: “I will not allow my precious work, my music, which I love so much, to get into bed with violence”.

Other musical acts to pull out of Latitude include Pillow Queens, Mui Zyu and Georgia Ruth.

Ruth said she had been inspired to pull out after authors at the Hay Festival boycotted the event in protest at Baillie Gifford, resulting in the investment fund ending its sponsorship of literary festivals following pressure from campaign group Fossil Free Books.

And it’s not the only festival facing a backlash over links to the Israel-Hamas war.

Last month, more than 100 acts dropped out of The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and Hove due to its ties to Barclays.

In March, SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas, saw many artists refuse to play due to the event’s connections to the US army and weapons companies linked with the conflict.

Download Festival, which comes to Donington Park, Leicestershire this weekend, has seen acts including Pest Control, Scowl, Speed and Zulu pull out, also over the festival’s sponsorship by Barclays.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Suffolk.

Musical acts including Keane, Kasabian, Duran Duran and London Grammar are due to headline the event.

Other comedy acts due to perform at Latitude include Jo Brand, Sara Pascoe, Lucy Beaumont, Rosie Jones and Judi Love.

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Justin Timberlake addresses ‘tough week’ at first concert since drink-driving arrest

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Justin Timberlake addresses 'tough week' at first concert since drink-driving arrest

Justin Timberlake has performed his first gig since his arrest for alleged drink-driving, telling the crowd it had been a “tough week”. 

The US star is currently on his The Forget Tomorrow World Tour and performed in Chicago on Friday night after being arrested earlier this week.

He told the screaming crowd: “We’ve been together through ups and downs, lefts and rights.

“It’s been a tough week, but you’re here and I’m here, and nothing can change this moment right now.”

The singer appeared emotional as he added: “I know sometimes I’m hard to love but you keep on loving me and I love you right back.”

Timberlake was in Long Island in New York state – having reportedly had dinner with friends – when he was pulled over by police in the early hours of Tuesday.

Officers said the 43-year-old had failed to pause at a stop sign and was seen not being able to stay in his lane.

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Timberlake’s car caught on CCTV

Timberlake was held overnight and formally charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) misdemeanour at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on Tuesday morning before being released.

According to a source talking to Page Six, the officer who pulled Timberlake over “was so young that he didn’t even know” who the star was.

A second source told the celebrity news outlet that during the arrest, Timberlake said: “This is going to ruin the tour.”

Justin Timberlake.
Pic: Sag Harbor/Reuters
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Timberlake’s mugshot after his arrest. Pic: Sag Harbor/Reuters

Timberlake, who rose to fame with boyband NSYNC before finding huge success as a solo artist with hits including Like I Love You, Cry Me A River, SexyBack and Mirrors, is due to perform in Chicago again on Saturday night.

Further shows are scheduled across the US, Canada and Europe between June and December.

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According to court documents filed about the star’s arrest, there was “a strong odour of an alcoholic beverage… emanating from his breath, he was unable to divide attention, he had slowed speech, he was unsteady afoot and he performed poorly on all standardised field sobriety tests”.

Timberlake also told officers he had one martini and was following some friends home, and refused to take a breath test.

His lawyer has said he is “looking forward to vigorously defending” the singer.

Timberlake’s next court date is scheduled for 26 July.

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Russell Crowe on playing Glastonbury: ‘Forget the other job – this is a band of monster musicians’

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Russell Crowe on playing Glastonbury: 'Forget the other job - this is a band of monster musicians'

Russell Crowe has the war wounds of an actor who has completed his own stunts, including several “that didn’t go fully correctly”, over the years. “A whole screed of injuries,” is how he describes it.

So, the thought of a potential Glastonbury mud-fest after weeks of rain? The man who played Maximus Decimus Meridius will be able to handle it.

Well… “Probably,” he laughs. “We’re in the acoustic tent, which is a large tent with a covered stage, so we’ll be okay.”

Crowe makes his Glastonbury debut this year, not as an A-list VIP guest (although he is that, too), but as a performer with his band, Indoor Garden Party.

For those who know him for his “other job”, as he describes his Oscar-winning career of films including Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, LA Confidential, Les Miserables and more, this may come as a surprise – but the star has been playing guitar for far longer than he’s been playing characters.

“I had years and years and years of touring and playing in pubs and clubs and releasing records before I got a feature film,” he says, speaking on Zoom from a studio in Sydney, Australia, just a few days before travelling to Europe. “In fact, when I first started [acting], the idea I would be in a feature film one day was ludicrous.”

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Russell Crowe's Indoor Garden Party will play at Glastonbury 2024
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Indoor Garden Party are playing Glastonbury, Dublin and Warrington gigs. Pic: Joe Machart/Nick Hodgskin

‘We’re going to blow that place up’

There is a “reset and rebalance aspect” to making music, he says. “Film sets tend to be very controlled. You’ve got to respect the gods of film and be completely ready and have done your research. Just recently, for example, I had a 17-page scene to do with an actor, and that takes an enormous amount of preparation and quiet contemplation to get yourself in the groove.”

But walking out on to a stage to sing is different. “It doesn’t matter what you’ve necessarily prepared, the way the audience responds and everything will adjust and move that show. It’s that kind of anarchy, where you just don’t really know for sure what’s going to happen, that is really attractive.”

Actor and singer Russell Crowe performs with his band Indoor Garden Party after the opening ceremony of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic in 2023. Pic: Katerina Sulova/ CTK via AP
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Crowe performing in the Czech Republic last year. Pic: CTK/AP

Crowe says he was “chuffed” to get the call for Glastonbury, where Indoor Garden Party will play on the Saturday evening. People who “feel like hooting and hollering” should forget about Russell Crowe, the famous actor, he says, and turn up for the music.

“We’re going to blow that place up,” he says. “It’s like, chuck, all the celebrity bullsh*t aside, or the fame for doing some other job aside. You’ll see a serious band and it’s full of monster musicians who know what they’re doing.”

‘As luck would have it, I saw him again…’

About the music, then. Indoor Garden Party is a collective, led by Crowe and featuring The Gentlemen Barbers band – made up of artists including members of his previous groups, Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts and The Ordinary Fear Of God – as well as singer-songwriter Lorraine O’Reilly. The music veers between blues, rock, gospel and country, and they have a new album, Prose And Cons, released independently, out now.

The artwork is a simple but beautiful photograph of a swimmer, captured from behind as he looks out over a vast stretch of ethereally lit water.

“Tell you what, I took that photograph with my iPhone, at a place called Woolloomooloo, where I have an apartment, in Sydney,” says Crowe. “I was just walking around the bay and there was a man standing; it was a winter’s morning and it’s quite cold, Sydney Harbour water, in winter, and I think that’s probably what he was contemplating, the temperature he was about to experience.

“If you see the photograph up close, it’s so painterly, what the light was doing with the water – and we haven’t affected it at all, there’s no filters or anything.”

Russell Crowe took the cover picture for his band Indoor Garden Party's latest album, Prose And Cons. Pic: Indoor Garden Party/ Russell Crowe
Image:
Pic: Indoor Garden Party/ Russell Crowe

Does the mystery swimmer know he’s a cover star for a Russell Crowe album?

“As luck would have it, I was sitting on the balcony one day and I saw him again. So I took off down the wharf and ran around the other side of the bay and had a conversation with him, and he was delighted to be on a record cover. So that’s cool.”

‘I’m a very sentimental person’

Fans will get to hear the new songs live at gigs in Warrington and Dublin, as well as Glastonbury, in the UK and Ireland. But before that, Indoor Garden Party have dates in Italy – including a special gig next to Rome’s Colosseum.

Crowe, who in 2022 was appointed by the mayor of Rome to be the city’s “ambassador to the world”, says he has had a special relationship with Italy ever since Gladiator, the film for which he won his Oscar for best actor in 2001.

Julia Roberts and Russell Crowe pictured after winning Oscars for best actor and actress during the Oscars in 2001. Pic: AP/Richard Drew
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Pictured with Julia Roberts after their Oscar wins in 2001. Pic: AP

“This relationship that I’ve had to Italy and Italian people since the release of Gladiator has been incredible,” he says. “I’m the ambassador for Rome in the world… it’s only a little bit of fun, but it’s cool, you know?”

With director Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel due for release next year, he says he has considered if things may be different after that.

“Next year they’ll have a new Gladiator, so my relationship to the people of Italy might change quite dramatically. So in a funny way for me – and I know this sounds very sentimental, but I’m a very sentimental person; I was born in New Zealand, I grew up in Australia, we tend to be that way – I’m going to get to go around the country [touring]… and say g’day and goodbye at the same time.”

 UNDATED FILE PHOTO - Russell Crowe, nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role February 13, 2001 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is seen in this undated file photo from "Gladiator." The Oscars will be held March 25.
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Crowe says the Gladiator sequel makes him feel ‘old’ – and a ‘tinge of jealousy’. Pic: Reuters

‘There’s a tinge of jealousy’

The Gladiator sequel stars Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal, and will be released 25 years after filmmaker Scott’s first film. Crowe, now 60, has had no involvement, due to (spoiler alert) the events of the original.

How does he feel about it? “I feel old. That’s how I feel about it,” he says. “That period of my life, you know, was a huge change. Everything just went kind of crazy for a while.

“I do have extremely fond memories of it. And, to be completely honest, there’s a tinge of jealousy because I certainly wish I was back at being, you know, 35, 36, in a certain way, so I could have that kind of experience again.”

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The star says he still feels “humbled” by the attention he received for his performance. “Because really, my contribution to the film is quite small. It’s very definitely a director’s movie.

“The world created in that film is the work of Ridley Scott, you know? We did end up making five movies together, Ridley and I, and he’s probably still my favourite director to be on a on a set with.”

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While he has his own films out as well this year, for the next few months, it’s all about the music. There are tour dates in the US after Europe, and after that – who knows. If he likes Glastonbury, maybe there’ll be a sequel to that performance, too.

“If we make the main stage [next time],” Crowe laughs. “We’ll have more time then.”

Russell Crowe’s Indoor Garden Party play Glastonbury on Saturday 29 June, followed by shows at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre and Warrington Parr Hall. Their album, Prose And Cons, is out now

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Taylor Swift kicks off London Eras tour dates with Keir Starmer in the Wembley Stadium audience

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Keir Starmer attends Taylor Swift concert - and fans are quick to make puns

Taylor Swift has kicked off her London Eras tour dates in front of a sold-out Wembley Stadium – with Sir Keir Starmer among fans in attendance.

Friday night’s concert was the first of three dates the pop megastar is performing at the 90,000-capacity venue.

The Eras tour will then move on to mainland Europe, before Swift returns to Wembley for another five dates in August.

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Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce was in the audience to cheer her on, alongside his recently retired brother Jason, who was seen exchanging friendship bracelets with fans in pictures shared online.

Other celebs in attendance included Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan and model Cara Delevingne.

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Taylor Swift performs at Wembley Stadium as part of her Eras Tour on Friday, June 21, 2024 in London. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)
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Swift has performed the first of three consecutive nights at Wembley. Pic: AP

 Taylor Swift performs her first London concert at Wembley Stadium, during the Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024. Ian West/PA Wire
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Swift’s mammoth set covers tracks from each of her 11 albums and lasts longer than three hours. Pic: PA

Fans wait outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert, during her Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024. Lucy North/PA Wire
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Wembley Way was filled with thousands of fans making their way to the stadium. Pic: PA

Fans hold a knitted mural of Taylor Swift outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert, during her Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024.Lucy North/PA Wire
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Fans hold a homemade knitted mural. Pic: PA

Fans gather outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert, during her Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024. Lucy North/PA Wire
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The Eras audiences go all out, sporting ensembles inspired by their favourite Swift era, music videos or looks

 Taylor Swift performs her first London concert at Wembley Stadium, during the Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024. Ian West/PA Wire
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The pop megastar was supported by boyfriend Travis Kelce. Pic: PA

Charlotte Coney/PA Wire

Fans wait outside Wembley Stadium in London, ahead of Taylor Swift's first London concert, during her Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024.
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Fans used their time queuing to make last-minute friendship bracelets. Pic: PA

 Taylor Swift performs her first London concert at Wembley Stadium, during the Eras Tour. Picture date: Friday June 21, 2024. Ian West/PA Wire
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Swift will return for five more Wembley gigs in August. Pic: PA

Taylor Swift fans pose with their bracelets outside Wembley Stadium before the first London concert of the Eras Tour on Friday, June 21, 2024 in London. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)
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Fans show off their bracelets before swapping them inside the concert. Pic: AP

Keir Starmer with wife Victoria
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Keir Starmer with wife Victoria. He captioned the snap: ‘Swift campaign pitstop’

Taylor Swift performs at Wembley Stadium as part of her Eras Tour on Friday, June 21, 2024 in London. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)
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Swift performed The Black Dog, inspired by a London pub, as one of her two surprise songs. Pic: AP

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