Edmonton

Edmonton music festival cancels performance by former Misfits singer

An Edmonton music festival has cancelled a punk singer's performance over view's he expressed on social media.

Up + Downtown director calls out social media posts 'against immigration, and mental health treatments'

The Up + Downtown Festival has cancelled the Oct. 6 performance by former Misfits lead singer Michale Graves, citing views he expressed on social media. (2911 Media)

A performance by former Misfits lead singer Michale Graves has been cancelled by the Up + Downtown Music Festival in Edmonton over views he expressed on social media.

The festival announced Wednesday the cancellation of the punk singer's Oct. 6 show at Temple nightclub. Brent Oliver, the festival's artistic director, said the board was alerted of Graves' views on social media on Tuesday.

"We found some posts that were antithetical to the safer spaces policy and our policies for inclusion for the festival," said Oliver. "We made a decision as a board of nine of us to cancel his performance."

Brent Oliver, artistic director of Up + Downtown Festival, watches a concert one of the festival's previous events. (Brent Oliver)

Oliver cited the singer's posts on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube that support or share views the festival director referred to as "against immigration, against feminism, against mental health treatments."

"There was a number of things supporting Infowars, Alex Jones, Breitbart. How white people are being discriminated against. There's just a lot of political and personal views on his social media that do not align with the festival."

'I don't need to be on the defence for my social media accounts'

In an interview from  Akron, Ohio, Graves dismissed the criticism of his social media posts as "buzzwords that get people riled up."

"I don't need to be on the defence for my social media accounts," he said.

A Sandy Hook shooting conspiracy theory was retweeted by Michale Graves in December. (Twitter)

Graves said he has not spoken with anyone from the festival and only learned of the cancellation from the festival's Facebook post.

"I understand that this is to a certain degree within their rights to do," Graves said. "However, we will come a lot further as a human race, as a country, as a society, if things perhaps go a different way and people like Mr. Oliver would speak to me and we could have a very candid conversation."

He said his concerts have been cancelled in the past, but it's rare for that to happen.

"Because of my views, my ideology, the people that I associate with," he said.

Oliver said the festival has received some backlash on social media over the decision and he has heard from ticket holders who do not support the cancellation.

"There are a few people who have wristbands who will not support the festival anymore, and we understand that."

"Michale Graves has the free speech to say whatever he wants on Twitter, whatever he wants on Instagram, whatever he wants on Youtube," said Oliver.

"We as a not-for-profit arts organization also have a right to our free speech, to use our booking as out form of free speech."

Oliver said the festival needs to do a better job of vetting artists in the future.

Refunds and information about another Graves performance will be available through TicketFly, he said.

While the matinee show at Temple nightclub is cancelled, Graves said he will still play at the venue on Oct. 6, though wristbands for the Up + Downtown Festival will not be accepted for entry.

@Travismcewancbc

Travis.mcewan@cbc.ca

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