February 11, 2016

French heavy metal festival tells government “keep your grant” after threatening to withhold funding if controversial vocalist attends

StaffRebel Columnist

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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commented 2016-02-12 15:53:11 -0500
Acuuna same here i am an old headanger from the 80’s and always will love good metal.
commented 2016-02-11 19:36:41 -0500
Lets see now. The song BIG Bad John was censored in the 60’s. Dire Straights was banned by the CRTC. Makes censorship look bad.
commented 2016-02-11 16:52:36 -0500
I would probably HATE this event. I would probably strongly disagree with all the moral values espoused at this event. It may even BE Satanic. But, as good ol’ Abe Lincoln said, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves and under a just God can not long retain it”. They were right to stick to their guns and turn down the grant.
commented 2016-02-11 16:29:31 -0500
How did music survive before government subsidy?
Prediction: the concert will be a success and tickets will sell out once it gets around some pious needle-dik SJW poli is offended by some metal band.
commented 2016-02-11 14:42:16 -0500
Ah cool Acuuna !
judeo- christian values!
Love Thy Neighbor!
Sure have something against the French Though!
commented 2016-02-11 13:41:34 -0500
keep the faith,music is one of the few freedoms you have left in your troubled country.i love metal,i’d go, but being assaulted by your refugees is not my idea of a metal music experiance.
commented 2016-02-11 12:19:06 -0500
we are not bailing frenchies ass out of the fire again. they can surrender again for the third time. Slayer’s song, Raining Blood, from the album Reign in Blood is the definitive metal song. glad they are on the bill. I am a metalhead drummer. I do not worship satan. I share the same Judeo-Christian values as any bible-thumping preacher. music is an escape not a tool to further your political agenda. Kiss went through this in the seventies but the hatred died down when they found out that gene simmons was a jew.
“Trapped in purgatory, a lifeless object, alive
Awaiting reprisal, death will be their acquisition
The sky is turning red, return to power draws near
Fall into me, the sky’s crimson tears abolish the rules made of stone
Pierced from below, souls of my treacherous past
Betrayed by many, now ornaments dripping above
Awaiting the hour of reprisal, your time slips away
Raining blood from a lacerated sky
Bleeding it’s horror
Creating my structure, now I shall reign in blood.”
Slayer-Raining Blood
see…it’s just music…not for everybody…but it is still just music.
commented 2016-02-11 12:03:18 -0500
Not a festival I would care to attend.