Ever since Defected was acquired last year by Wez Saunders in a management buyout of the company, Ears To The House has been looking to see what he wanted the business to do differently. After all, no one spends an eight-figure sum of money to buy a company and then proceed to run in exactly the way it was done before.
Initial signs were few and far between. In the short term, continuity was the goal of Wez Saunders – indeed, most of those appointed by previous owner and founder Simon Dunmore have remained in their jobs. A sharp contrast to Dunmore himself, who is understood to have quietly left the company altogether nearly four months ago – so much for the advisory role that he’d been given when he was ousted.
We did, however, report on the possibility that Defected would expand its events season to include more of the year – and this has started to happen. Two sources within the festival world told us this week that Defected have plans to expand this further, although they were extremely reluctant to provide any kind of substantial detail on this.
Nonetheless, we did find ourselves particularly surprised by Defected’s decision to go to the human rights abusing Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Here they are proudly showcasing their competition to celebrate their first show in the rogue state…
No lineup has been announced as of yet – with pre-sale tickets going on sale next Thursday and the general sale starting on July 3rd. Exactly when the lineup will be announced remains unclear – the more cynical members of the Ears To The House team are finding it particularly strange that no names at all have yet been attached to this event.
As we’ve previously covered in our coverage of MDL Beast in 2021 and last year, the UAE’s human rights record is truly appalling – and unlike Derrick May’s new favourite country of Uzbekistan, the Middle Eastern state has no intention of changing its ways. Being gay in the nation is illegal within itself – so for a company that has the Glitterbox name within its portfolio to associate itself with the country is downright suspect.
Many took issue with the announcement and publicly called out Defected on their decision – and several received the same generic stock reply to their criticism…
Unsurprisingly, Wez Saunders refused to get stuck into the cut and thrust of a debate with his own fans and customers on social media – instead opting to leave Defected’s social media team to take the heat. He posted his own statement on the safety of his own Instagram page – and still only barely managed a better defence of the position.
Have Pinnacle Bank – who provided substantial capital to pay for Saunders to buy Defected in the first place – been looking to see a return on their sizeable investment? And is taking the Defected brand – all about equality – to a country without democratic elections, where critics of the government can be imprisoned and where reports of torture are rife really the best way to do this?
Now that’s the question we’d really like to see answered…