A heavy metal festival in France is sticking to its guns and refuses to bow to government pressure.
Hellfest, a large heavy metal festival in France, says they will not remove the band 'Down' from its lineup despite the government telling them they will lose their grant if they don't.
The band's vocalist, Philip Anselmo gave a Nazi salute and screamed 'white power' at a festival in The Netherlands earlier this year. He has since apologized, but that isn't enough.
French senator and President of the General Council of the Vendée, Bruno Retailleau told Hellfest that if Down remained in the lineup it would lose its €20,000 subsidy.
Retailleau said that those who preach racial or religious hatred can not receive public money.
Oddly enough, a band named 'Heaven Shall Burn' is still allowed to attend. As is thrash metal band Slayer who are no strangers to religious-related themes with one of their albums being called 'God Hates Us All' which debuted on September 11, 2001.
Hellfest president Ben Barbaud, however, is not changing his mind. He penned an open letter attacking politicians. Below is an excerpt, but the whole letter can be read here.
“I dare to hope that as a taxpayer in the Loire and Vendée, that my colleagues and cultural peers will not have to face the same wrath of your moralising convictions which, to me, are a barrier to freedom and cultural creativity. It is one of the few remaining cultural jewels in our economic crown that France can be proud of.
Throughout its existence, the festival has remained apolitical, yet we are not and have never been fooled by your intentions. An interview in December 2015 on the television channel France 3 confirmed our concerns. You replied in the interview: “Hellfest? I don’t like it…” “Have you ever been to Hellfest?” “No, because I don’t like it.”
Easy to see that you would have a hard time convincing many inhabitants that your main priority was to strengthen the partnership with our event, which you see as satanic and violent.
So, allow me to reiterate: keep your grant.”
Do you agree with the festival or the government? Comment below.
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