Moses Sumney cancels Jazz Fest performance in protest of SLĀV

Moses Sumney, a 28-year-old American singer and songwriter, has pulled out of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in protest of SLĀV — a show widely criticized as cultural appropriation.

Musician to perform with his band at La Sala Rossa instead, offering fans discounted tickets

Protesters gather in front of the theatre where the Jazz Festival show featuring slave music is on. (Hugo Côté/Radio-Canada)

Moses Sumney has pulled out of the Montreal International Jazz Festival in protest of SLĀV — a show widely criticized as cultural appropriation.

Instead of performing at Club Soda as part of the festival, the 28-year-old American singer and songwriter is offering discounted tickets to a newly scheduled show at La Sala Rossa this evening.

Sumney took to Twitter Monday, condemning festival organizers for defending the show.

"I was disappointed to hear about the Montreal Jazz Festival booking multiple nights of a show called SLĀV, in which a majority white group of singers, lead by a white Québécois director, sing African-American slave songs, sometimes dressed as field slaves and cotton pickers," Sumney wrote.

Sumney stated that he cannot "present my music at this same festival in good conscience" and "after much thought, I am pulling my performance, and all purchased tickets will be refunded."



In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for the festival, Jessica Alcide, said it "respects his decision."

"We hope he'll come back to the festival in the future," Alcide wrote.

Instead, Sumney is headlining with his band at La Sala Rossa, located on St-Laurent Boulevard, just south of St-Joseph Boulevard West. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10.

Sumney was scheduled to play Club Soda at 9 p.m. Tuesday as part of the Jazz Fest lineup. As of early Tuesday morning, his performance was still listed on the festival's website.

While there have been protests outside the venue where SLĀV is being performed, the show has continued with Jazz Fest organizers defending its artistry.

The last performance is scheduled for July 14. The July 2 and 3 show were cancelled because a performer was injured.