Saturday 1 October 2016

Alesha Dixon and Five pull out of Brexit gig but East 17 may stay another day

Published 24/05/2016 | 15:21

Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson of band Five
Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson of band Five

Alesha Dixon has joined boyband Five in pulling out of a Brexit gig after discovering it is a political rally.

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Both acts had been billed to join Sister Sledge and East 17 in entertaining the crowds at the BPop Live gig in Birmingham just days before the EU referendum vote.

But they have cancelled their performances after discovering the full political nature of the gig, which is being put on by the Leave.EU campaign which was founded by businessman and Ukip donor Arron Banks.

It is a further blow to the concert, which has already been hit by a number of line-up changes as acts discovered its political nature.

Drum 'n' bass act Sigma pulled out and told Buzzfeed they are "in no way supporting the event" when asked if they are in favour of Britain voting to leave the EU.

Dixon, who is a judge on Britain's Got Talent, announced she had pulled out of the gig hours after Five, also known as 5ive, declared they had.

In a statement her management said: "When Alesha was approached to perform at this event it was on the understanding that this was a multi artist pop concert in a fantastic venue in the heart of the UK and Alesha would be there purely as an entertainer.

"It has now come to light that this is more of a political rally with entertainment included and we have decided to withdraw Alesha from the event.

"We wish to apologise to any fans who may have purchased tickets for this event. I would like to make it clear that Alesha has no political allegiances either way on this issue."

Earlier on Tuesday, Five had announced two of its members Ritchie Neville and Scott Robinson had cancelled their performance. The band's third member, Sean Conlon, was never due to perform at the gig because he was not available.

In a statement Five said: "When Rich and Scott agreed to play the event they understood that it was a pop concert funded by one of the Brexit organisations and not a political rally.

"As it has come to light that this is more of a political rally with entertainment included they have both decided to cancel their involvement.

"They would like to make it clear that as a band Five has no political allegiances or opinions for either side. Their allegiance is first and foremost to their fans."

Asked if they were still planning to perform at the event, East 17's agent said: "No comment".

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