Fest has announced that it will no longer open the current Arcade Fire tour, citing allegations of sexual misconduct against showdown boss Wayne Butler. (Butler asserted that all of the alleged interactions were consensual.) The band’s first two concerts opened in Dublin, which took place on August 30-31 at the 3Arena. During those shows, all proceeds from Feist’s sales of merchandise in the band were donated to Women’s Aid Dublin, an organization dedicated to stopping domestic violence across Ireland. She was scheduled to tour with them during the rest of September in Europe. Read Feist’s full statement below. Pitchfork reached out to an Arcade Fire representative.
In a pub in Dublin, after rehearsing with my teams, I read the same headline I had. We had no time to prepare for what was coming, let alone the chance to decide not to fly across the ocean into the belly of this situation. This has been very difficult for me and I can only imagine how difficult it has been for the people who have come forward. More than anything I wish healing to those involved.
This sparked a bigger conversation than me, it’s bigger than my songs and it’s definitely bigger than any rock ‘n’ roll tour. While trying to determine my direction and my responsibility in this situation, I received dozens of messages from people around me, expressing their sympathy for the division I have been pushed into. Staying on tour symbolized that I was either defending or ignoring the damage that Wayne Butler had done and leaving would mean I was the judge and jury.
I’ve never been here to stand up for or with Arcade Fire – I’ve been here to stand on my own two feet on stage, a place I grew up to feel like I’ve earned as mine. I play for my bands, my crew, their loved ones, all our families and the people who pay their hard-earned money to share the space in the collective synergy that is a show. The tide and tide of my successes, my failures, and other decisions affect all of our livelihoods, and I realize how lucky I am to be able to travel the world and sing songs about my life, my thoughts, my experiences and have this as my career. I didn’t take it for granted.
My experiences include the same experiences of many people I’ve spoken to since the news broke on Saturday, and many strangers that I might only be able to reach with this message, or not at all. We all have a story within a spectrum that ranges from basic toxic masculinity to pervasive misogyny to being physically, psychologically, emotionally or sexually assaulted. This situation touches each of our lives and speaks to us in a unique language for each processing we have. There is no single path to recovery when you carry any version of the above, and no single path to rehabilitating offenders. It can be the only way to understand abuse. I can’t solve it by quitting, nor can I solve it by staying. But I can’t go on.
Overt shame may cause action, but these actions are made out of fear, and fear is not where we find our best or make our best decisions. Neither fear nor empathy precipitates healing nor opens up a safe space for these kinds of conversations to develop, or to offer true accountability and remorse to people who have been hurt.
I’m imperfect and I’m going to pass this decision on imperfectly, but what I’m sure the best way to take care of my band, crew, and family is to distance myself from this tour, not this conversation. In my last two nights on stage, my songs made that decision for me. Hearing them through this lens is at odds with what I have been explaining to myself throughout my career. I’ve always written songs to name the exact struggles I’m in, looking to my best and claiming responsibility when I need to. I claim my responsibility now and go home.
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