According to HuffPo France, French senator and President of the General Council of the Vendée, Bruno Retailleau asked the promoters of France’s Hellfest to drop DOWN from it’s annual summer festival for promoting hatred, the same reason that Dutch festival FortaRock canceled DOWN‘s appearance.
The senator was offering Hellfest promoter Ben Barbaud an ultimatum. Either pull DOWN from the bill, or they will pull fest from the bill for € 20,000. Retailleau said that the city of Region Pays de la Loire will not promote anything with “incitement to racial or religious hatred.”
Earlier today, Hellfest announced DOWN as part of the final festival lineup.
Festival promoter Ben Barbaud says in a statement:
“Bruno Retailleau wanted to please his electorate and anti-Hellfest who relayed this buzz, which had already toured the metal sites. He expected it, like Laurence Garnier [Chairman of the Committee on culture in the region]. They found a perfect excuse to blow the grant. ”
He added: “Anselmo apologized repeatedly. He even offered to leave the band to do no harm to his comrades, who must also be disgusted with what happens. Everyone agrees that this is unacceptable and that the metal scene is neither racist nor anti-Semitic. I know Phil Anselmo very well, who came many times to Clisson. And I am convinced that his apologies are sincere. Hellfest, we never had this kind of behavior, no one has ever seen or wear distinctive sign or speech, both live and in houses. I deeply believe that he is a good person. He is a provocateur who plays the big guys and loses foot when he’s drunk. He made a huge mistake. But people who make populist shortcuts and say horrors when they have three grams of alcohol, one can find many, including Vendee. ”
— Bruno Retailleau (@BrunoRetailleau) February 5, 2016
— Rock A Gogo (@RockAGogoCom) February 8, 2016