Pressure group urges boycott of ‘satanic’ Hellfest
A conservative Catholic protest group in France is once again protesting one of Europe’s biggest hard-rock and metal festivals, Hellfest, over its alleged promotion of ‘satanism’ and anti-Christian themes.
Les Amis du collectif pour un festival Hellfest respectueux de tous (ACFHRT, Friends of the Collective for a Hellfest Festival Respectful of All) – a Mouzillon-based group which aims to secure the withdrawal of public support for the festival as long as it “promotes anti-Christianity, satanism and occultism” – tells traditionalist-Catholic newspaper Présent that Hellfest supports “several groups promoting anti-Christianity and satanism” who take pride in their “blasphemy” and perform “real satanic rites”.
Polish extreme metal band Behemoth, who are pictured prominently in the article, posted the piece on Instagram, telling their 290,000 followers: “Some French Catholic conservatives are trying to boycott one of the best European festivals, Hellfest Open Air festival… what do you think about it?”
ACFHRT announced last July it is suing the festival, along with two editorial staff at Les Inrockuptibles, for defamation after Hellfest festival director Didier Molitor criticised the Roman Catholic church’s history of “genocides and murder”. Hellfest press officer Olivier Garnier also accused the group of being “outlaws” (“hors-la-loi”).
ACFHRT’s latest intervention comes just days after Greek metal act Rotting Christ were locked up in Georgia on terror charges and branded as satanists.
Hellfest lost an estimated €20,000 in public funding in 2016 after booking Phil Anselmo, who had attracted controversy for giving a Nazi-style salute at a show in California. ACFHRT seeks an end to all subsidies for the event in its current form, saying the “right to freedom of expression does not give the right to incite hatred and violence, let alone public money”.
Hellfest declined to comment.
Hellfest 2018, which takes place on 22–24 June in in Clisson, Pays de la Loire, is headlined by Avenged Sevenfold, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Other performers include Deftones, Alice in Chains, Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson and Parkway Drive.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.