REDDITCH watertower artist Steve Pound and his band have been banned from Morton Stanley Festival – because of their song about Brexit ‘Britain is Dead’.
Chaos Experience, a four piece punk band fronted by Steve, had been due to play the main stage at the free festival.
But when the Redditch Standard posted a video of the outfit singing the song on our website, Conservative-controlled Redditch borough council banned the band for being ‘too political’.
“It’s absolutely disgusting and an infringement of freedom of speech,” said Green Party member Steve.
“There are no swear words in it – if anyone had listened to the lyrics it’s about Brexit and our discontent with the Government for making such a mess of it.
“I told them if it’s going to cause that much offence we wouldn’t sing it but they wouldn’t back down.
“I think it’s appalling.”
“The thing is if we’d stood up there and sang about how great Brexit is and how wonderful Boris Johnson is they wouldn’t have had a problem.”
The appearance of the video on www.redditchstandard.co.uk sparked a flurry of comments.
“The reaction has been way out of order; stuff about ‘Redditch being a Brexit town’ – well some of the language used says more about them than about me,” said Steve.
The artist is renowned for painting Redditch’s iconic watertower and was commisisoned by the town’s Conservative MP Rachel Maclean to paint a picture for her, which now hangs in her Westminster office.
“It’s pretty clear I don’t discriminate, I just deal with people and try to get along as best I can. What has happened is just ridiculous,” said Steve.
“We sing this song at all our gigs, Left or Right, Brexit or Remain, we all have a good time.
“And here’s me thinking we lived in a free country.”
Debbie Joynes of the GlastonBeoley music festival said: “Bands have expressed political opinions since the dawn of time.
“Steve played GlastonBeoley this year and he will be welcomed back. The thing, what will they ban next?”
The portfolio holder for leisure at Redditch borough council, Councillor Mike Rouse (Con, Church Hill) said: “When the band was booked we were unaware of the highly politicised content of their material.
“As this became apparent we decided it wasn’t suitable for a family-friendly and taxpayer-funded event such as Morton Stanley and are currently seeking a replacement band.”
However it brought a sharp retort from his Labour shadow Coun Mark Shurmer (Lodge Park) who said: “The decision to take Chaos Experience off the bill is totally unacceptable.
“Redditch borough council should be looking to champion diversity and to ban an act for the views expressed in one song is the worst form of censorship.
“The song is not racist, homophobic or offensive in any way but merely gives a view that people can either agree or disagree with.
“I call upon Coun Rouse to reverse this ridiculous decision.”
To hear Chaos Experience visit the lifestyle section at www.redditchstandard.co.uk or click here
10 songs that were once banned:
The Kinks – Lola
The Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK
John Leyton – Johnny Remember Me
George Michael – I Want Your Sex
Tom Robinson – Glad To Be Gay
Blondie – Atomic
Gang Of Four – I Love A Man In Uniform
Scott Walker – Jackie
Shirley Bassey – Burn My Candle
Heaven 17 – (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang