A band who played at this year’s Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival band has been banned from next year’s event after taking a photo that mocks the disabled.
Huddersfield Rock covers band Fiery Biscuits, who played to packed crowds at the town’s gastronomic event on August 7, prompted outrage after its drummer, Andy Davies, posted a picture of lead singer Vinny Harrison posing as someone with a disability.
The photo was put on to Andy Davies’ personal Facebook page last Wednesday and included the caption ‘Meet our special needs singer Vincent.’
But was spotted by music fan Luke Feltrup, who had attended the St George’s Square event and has a disabled relative.
Luke said: “Like many other people I enjoyed the food and drink festival in St George’s Square, including a number of the live bands that played.
“However, I came across a picture of Fiery Biscuits mocking people with special needs.
“Now whether they were doing this tongue in cheek is irrelevant and to do it on such a public forum is outrageous.
“I am concerned we are promoting these people as a band by allowing them to play to such large crowds, gaining new fans, while blatantly mocking those who may struggle to defend themselves.”
After being alerted to the photo, Huddersfield Partnership – who host the three day annual food and drink festival – have decided to ban them from next year’s event.
Partnership manager Karen Hobson said: “It is our intention to work with reputable local bands and I am very surprised that Fiery Biscuits have acted in such a derogatory manner.
“Before joining the Partnership I was a managing director for a disability dance charity in Lancashire so understand the importance of advocating on behalf of individuals with any form of disability.
“They have contacted me to apologise but at the end of the day whether it was something done in jest or not it should not have been published.
“We have decided to not give them the opportunity to play at next year’s event because we think it’s important to show them that they can’t do this sort of thing.
“We have had such positive feedback this year that we don’t want anything to cast a negative shadow on it.
“We will review the situation next year and hopefully they will have learned from their mistake”.
The Huddersfield Examiner contacted lead singer Vinny, who apologised unreservedly.
“We were just messing about and it wasn’t meant to offend anyone – our drummer has a disability himself”, he said.
“Sometimes you just don’t think about what you’re doing so all I can do is apologise unreservedly and say that it definitely won’t happen again.
“I was out of order and shouldn’t have done it.
“As an olive branch we are offering to do a free gig for a charity.”
Anyone who would like the band to play for their charity should contact them through their Facebook page or through their website, www.fierybiscuits.net/