France’s Hellfest to Lose Government Funding After Refusing to Remove Down From 2016 Bill
France’s annual Hellfest is facing some serious financial repercussions after refusing to drop Down from its 2016 bill. The French government demanded festival organizers to remove Down due to vocalist Philip Anselmo’s controversial behavior at Dimebash 2016, but Hellfest has refused, losing €20,000 ($22,400 U.S. dollars) in subsidies as a result.
Down were dropped by Netherlands’ FortaRock Festival after Anselmo hailed a Nazi salute and screamed “White power!” at Dimebash 2016. Though Anselmo has apologized, not everyone is accepting it.
The French region of Pays de la Loire has given €20,000 this year to support Hellfest, which brings in thousands of metalheads from around the world annually. However, French senator and President of the General Council of the Vendée, Bruno Retailleau, informed Hellfest that if Down remained on this year’s bill, Hellfest would not receive the €20,000 subsidy. Hellfest’s reported annual budget is roughly €16 million per year.
Retailleau’s ultimatum reached the press on Feb. 5, when he said those who preach racial or religious hatred can not receive public money. Earlier today (Feb. 8) Hellfest revealed its full bill for 2016 with Down prominently featured as headliners of the Valley Stage on June 18. Unless Hellfest makes a sudden change in the future, Down will perform as scheduled.
Retailleau has since responded to Hellfest’s refusal to remove Down. You can read his statement and a rough Google translation here.
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