An anti-E.U. concert organized by a group linked with the British right wing party UKIP will go ahead, despite two headline acts, U.K. pop artists Alesha Dixon and 5ive, pulling out after they discovered the political implications of the show.
Brexit Presents Bpoplive is due to take place at Birmingham’s NEC Arena on June 19. The concert is organized by the UKIP-affiliated Leave.EU campaign and will feature speakers such as UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Labour MP Kate Hoey. Approached for comment by The FADER on May 25, a spokesperson for Leave.EU confirmed that Bpoplive will still go ahead as planned on June 19 and that replacements for 5ive and Dixon will be announced shortly. At the time of writing, '90s boyband East 17, Sister Sledge, and Gwen Dickey of disco group Rose Royce are still on the line-up.
A previous version of BPop Live was due to take place in May but had to be postponed when British dance duo Sigma pulled out. They were replaced on Monday May 23 by '90s pop group 5ive and Britain's Got Talent judge Dixon, formerly of U.K. R&B group Misteeq. However, both acts canceled their booking just 24 hours later when the political affiliations of the concert were made clear.
A statement from Dixon's rep reads: “When Alesha was approached to perform at this event it was on the understanding that this was a multi-artist pop concert in a fantastic venue in the heart of the U.K. and Alesha would be there purely as an entertainer. It has now come to light that this is more of a political rally with entertainment included and we have decided to withdraw Alesha from the event. We wish to apologize to any fans who may have purchased tickets for this event. I would like to make it clear that Alesha has no political allegiances either way on this issue.”
Just two members of 5ive, Scott Robinson and Ritchie Neville, were due to appear, but a rep told U.K. newspaper The Mirror: "As it has come to light that this is more a political rally with entertainment included they have both decided to cancel their involvement."
Representatives for East 17, 5ive, Sister Sledge and Gwen Dickey did not immediately respond to comment when approached by The FADER.
Update (5/25 11:15a.m.): East 17 and Sister Sledge have also reportedly pulled out of the concert.
The Mirror are now reporting that both East 17 and Sister Sledge have joined Alesha Dixon and 5ive in pulling out of BPop Live. Representatives for both acts did not immediately respond to The FADER when approached for comment. The only act believed to be left on the bill is Gwen Dickey. A spokesperson for the Rose Royce singer told BBC News their client "didn't know what [Brexit] was, and is still considering it, but doesn't think she will be doing it."