12 September 2016
You may have read the litany of mistruths and libel that have been posted on social media by the PR / Management of a band that appeared at Undercover Festival on 9th September 2016 called “The Tuts”.
On behalf of everyone associated with the festival and myself I strongly refute the allegations in their entirety and I am seeing my solicitor this week for legal advice.
Accusing someone of being a racist is not a casual insult that should to be thrown around and brushed away. This is an allegation that has been thrown at me and is completely untrue and has deeply wounded my family and myself. My wife and 2 sons are in such a state at this that I feel obliged to respond.
Sorry for the delay in responding to the abuse handed out to my family, my friends and those I employed to provide a safe and enjoyable festival for ALL, UNLIKE THE TUTS I do not employ a PR / management company who have obviously whipped up this story.
To date I have received no formal complaint from The Tuts or their people; I have offered to meet the PR / management company of The Tuts to clear this up but to date no reply has been received; I suppose they may too busy whipping up this unfounded story and promoting their Album Release that as a pure coincidence took place the day before The Tuts appeared at Undercover Festival. I find it strange that all the comments etc have been from “The Band” and at no time can I see any statements from the band members themselves, I leave the reader to draw conclusions from that.
This statement has been posted to the Tuts Facebook post but I doubt that it will be there for long as it is alleged that many comments contradicting their version of events have been taken down.
I ask you to read all of this statement, written by me a few days after the alleged incident so that this could be given time to settle down.
I CHALLENGE THE TUTS
The Tuts state that they have reported the alleged racist incident and alleged assault to the police. To date I have not been contacted by the police and I believe that the venue have not been contacted by the police either. In such an incident of this nature the police would always respond and look into the matter as they are required to do. This being the case did The Tuts actually contact the police? I do not believe so and as such what else is in the Tuts statement that one can question?
If there is any evidence or belief that my crew or I acted in a manner that warrants the torrent of abuse my family, my friends, my festival and I have received then I challenge The Tuts and their management / PR company to step forward and report it to the police, or take out a civil case for the alleged action of racism or alleged action of assault.
When the police have investigated the allegation and as they would, and decide it to be untrue it could be the Tuts that would face police action for wasting their time and a potential legal action from us for slander and libel and comments that has left me facing a detriment.
I have dozens of witnesses of all ages, gender and race lined up if necessary to support our side of events.
One person who was at Undercover has written a negative account of what they HEARD happened but did not actually witness. It is a shame that this person did not speak to my team or myself to get our side of the story but that’s the problem here people jumping on the bandwagon and many keyboard warriors that were not there or even know me typing hysterical responses without doing the decent thing and waiting to hear both sides of the story.
I was unable to allocate The Tuts their own personal dressing room, and in fact no request was made until they arrived the day of their performance. I was asked by the lead singer of the Tuts if there was a room and I said sorry we do not have one I was shouted at that I was not being fair and that they would find one and then they marched off.
I gave it some consideration for a few seconds and after that I looked at the timetable of the rooms we had and was making arrangements for them to have a room for an act that was delayed and would have not been on site until after the Tuts show, I could not find them but was informed that my production team had provided for them some space adjacent to their area.
We had many bands with female band members and as far as I am aware they had no complaints about Undercover Festival.
This is a side show to what later happened but sets a context to this as the Tuts statement waxes lyrical about this episode.
THE TRUE FACTS OF WHAT HAPPENED
I have spoken to all my team involved and I stand by the actions of my team who were acting entirely properly in maintaining a safe, secure back stage. This is essential for bands to have a safe and comfortable environment to perform in and to keep everyone, the crew and equipment safe.
The lead singer of the Tuts was observed to be very drunk and was asked to leave the back stage area several times. She persisted in trying to gain entry and finally attempted to rush the stage; one of the crew stopped her and then involved security to remove her from backstage in what I firmly believe to be an appropriate manner.
Unfortunately her continuing disruptive and inappropriate behaviour finally resulted in the band being asked to leave the festival.
In the Tuts statement I was named as saying you have 5 minutes to leave my festival. This is about the only part of the statement that is true. When I observed an argument ensuing I intervened and said to Nadia let’s have a chat, I tried this in an attempt to calm the situation down; but Nadia turned on me screamed and shouted at me and said you’re racist, I said I am not a racist and the abuse continued and I was called a racist again at that point I said you have 5 minutes get off my festival. As I said at the start of this statement accusing someone of being a racist is not a casual insult that should to be thrown around and brushed away.
We ensured that it was 2 female security staff that escorted the lead singer and band safely off site.
In fact witness after witness saw Nadia being led away by 2 female security staff and witnessed Nadia attack a male security staff member when released, in fact the team leader was shadowing behind near the end of this and it is alleged that Nadia turned around pointed to him and called him a racist and he had never seen or spoken to her before, Nadia even went up to him and tried to punch him such is the disruptive way Nadia was behaving.
The long and short of this is that a person was thrown off site because her actions were not acceptable not because of her race; sex or age. Any person that is drunk back stage is asked to leave the immediate area, most accept this others do not but to use the race card if unforgivable, you were pissed move on.
We have all been pissed and made fools of ourselves, most of us wake up the following day suck it up and apologise, but in this case this has not happened and I am now facing unwelcomed abuse as are my family and friends.
It saddens and hurts me to have to make this statement because I shouldn’t have to.
Anyone who knows me and the festival knows that I am NOT racist, NOT fascist or misogynistic and that this festival has a proud record of welcoming diverse alternative bands large and small and treats them ALL with respect and love. We are a family and now all my family is hurting.
I am disappointed that so many people have taken the Tuts statement at face value and not waited for our side of the story.
I have built up Undercover at great personal and financial cost because I love the music, the bands the team, the friends new and old that come to the festival and our unique inclusive atmosphere. Most of our crew are volunteers and do it for all the same reasons.
It is heart-breaking that our reputation is now being trashed on social media because of a one sided statement that as I said before is a litany of mistruths and libel.
I have said it many times we never get trouble at Undercover and in FOUR years this has never happened before, in fact the opposite as I am proud that at Undercover many people arrive as strangers and leave as friends.
Again I should not have to say this but I live my life by ANTI-RACIST, ANTI FASCIST principles of solidarity and inclusion.
Many people I do not know have leapt to our defence as they see the injustice of this whole sorry episode, to them I am eternally grateful.
I am hurting badly if you know me and love our festival please do what you can by countering what is being said about us.
I ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND I ALWAYS WILL BE WORKING CLASS, ANTI-RACIST AND PROUD ANTI-FASCIST AND LOUD.