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France marks five years since deadly Bataclan attack

France today is leading silent ceremonies to mark five years since the series of coordinated deadly attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, Paris cafes and the Stade de France.

Prime minister Jean Castex led the commemorations, unveiling commemorative plaques at each location that pay tribute to the 130 victims killed by Islamic State extremists on 13 Nov 2015.

Members of the public were not invited to attend commemorations this year due to the country’s partial lockdown.

Ninety of the deceased victims were killed at the Bataclan concert hall when three heavily armed gunmen opened fire during the Eagles of Death Metal concert which was attended by 1,500 people. The other 40 victims were killed during the four-hour attack on the capital.

 

Among victims of the Bataclan concert hall attack was Nick Alexander, the 35-year-old, British merchandise manager for Eagles of Death Metal, who had dedicated 15 years to the music industry.

His sister, Zoe Alexander, told the BBC: “He was such a people person which is why he was so good at his job, interacting with the fans on a daily basis. One of the things I admired most about Nick was that he was unashamedly himself and trod his own path throughout his whole life.”

On the first anniversary of the attack, the Alexander family created The Nick Alexander Memorial Trust, which provides music equipment to disadvantaged communities across the UK.

In aid of the memorial trust and charity Life for Paris, Queens of the Stone Age – which shares member Josh Homme with Eagles of Death Metal – are tonight broadcasting previously unseen footage from the Mona Museum in Tasmania.

Elsewhere, Serge Maestracci, a survivor of the Bataclan concert hall attack told DW: “Music has helped me get through the worst time of my life. I was terrified after the attack. I was afraid to leave the house, to cycle through the city. I felt I had become a target.

“Music was my way to express my feelings and what I’d experienced. When you go through an event like this, you think, I escaped death by a few minutes. Life grinds to a halt. But then, it continues and you think — I need to live life to the fullest!”

Survivor Christophe Naudin, who hid in a closet for hours with two dozen people during the attack, recently published a book called Diary of a Bataclan Survivor describing his post-traumatic stress.

“Writing up my thoughts instead of just brooding over what had happened has really helped me. And it was good to go through it again to get it into shape for the book. All this is part of my reconstruction,” he told DW.

Read IQ‘s interview with AEG Presents head Arnaud Meersseman, who was among those wounded at Bataclan.

France is again under high alert for terrorist attacks after three Islamic extremist attacks since September have killed four people.

 


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QOTSA, Chris Stapleton to headline C3’s new Innings Fest

Queens of the Stone Age, country singer Chris Stapleton and folk-rock four-piece the Avett Brothers have been announced as headliners for the inaugural Innings Festival, a new music’n’baseball event planned for next March by Live Nation’s C3 Presents.

Taking place from 23 to 25 March in Tempe Beach Park and Arts Park in Arizona, the Innings Festival 2018 line-up also features Counting Crows, Eagles of Death Metal, Jake Bugg, Mt Joy, Cold War Kids and the Decemberists, along with “curated chef demos” by baseball players and celebrity chef Beau MacMillan.

“The Innings Festival is the perfect combination of music, baseball and the amazing location of Tempe town lake and downtown Tempe,” says Tempe’s mayor, Mark Mitchell. “Thousands of Cactus League [Arizona teams’ pre-season training] fans, locals and visitors alike, will be able to come to experience the gorgeous weather, beautiful setting, great food and awesome music.

“We are excited to welcome performers of this calibre and their fans to celebrate this first ever Innings Fest and we look forward to making this an annual event.”

The full Innings line-up is pictured below:

Innings Festival 2018 line-up

C3 Presents, best known for Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, earlier this week announced the launch of Sydney City Limits, a new festival in Australia.

 


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New Sting tour following Bataclan reopening

Sting will hit the road again next February following an emotional show at the reopened Bataclan on Saturday.

The 57th & 9th tour, produced by RZO Entertainment and promoted worldwide by Live Nation Global Touring, will kick off on 1 February at the Commodore Ballroom (995-cap.) in Vancouver and conclude with two nights at Paris’s Olympia (1,172-cap.) on 12 and 13 April. Sting will be joined by special guests Joe Sumner (Fiction Plane) and Tex-Mex act The Last Bandoleros.

The former Police frontman reopened the Bataclan, which was closed for close to a year following the devastating terrorist attack of 13 November 2015, with a charity show on Saturday night.

He opened the show with a speech in French, telling the crowd – which included many survivors of the attack – “We’ve got two important things to do tonight: First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attacks a year ago, and to celebrate the life and the music of this historic venue.”

The concert was, however, marred by reports two members of Eagles of Death Metal – who were playing on 13 November and returned to Paris to “finish what [they’d] started” in February – was turned away for Jesse Hughes’s allegations Muslim security staff were complicit in the atrocity. “They came, I threw them out – there are things you can’t forgive,” Bataclan co-director Jules Frutos told AFP.


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Bataclan to reopen with charity show on 12 Nov

Paris’s Bataclan theatre, the site of the 13 November 2015 terrorist attacks which left 89 concertgoers dead, will reopen earlier than expected with a show by Sting.

Although Pete Doherty’s 16 November concert was believed initially to be the first following the 1,500-capacity venue’s reopening, its owner, Lagardère, has announced that former Police frontman Sting will perform on Saturday 12 November, with all proceeds going to victims’ charities.

He comments: “In re-opening the Bataclan, we have two important tasks to reconcile. First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack a year ago, and second to celebrate the life and the music that this historic theatre represents. In doing so we hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them.”

“We hope to respect the memory as well as the life affirming spirit of those who fell. We shall not forget them”

Speaking to reporters, Jerome Langlet, head of Lagardère Unlimited Live Entertainment, says: “This is not a ceremony; it’s a concert. It’s the one and the same Bataclan. We chose to change it all without changing anything – to change it all so that nothing remains of the night of absolute horror, but to change nothing of the soul and history of the Bataclan.”

Reuters reports roofing, tiling and seating have been replaced, but with similar materials, and entrance hall lighting improved.

Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing at the time of the attack by the Islamic State (IS), returned to Paris on 16 February for an emotional show at the Olympia, for which survivors of the Bataclan attack were given free tickets.

 


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Faithfull added to Bataclan reopening bill

Marianne Faithfull will play the Bataclan in November, shortly after the Paris venue’s reopening.

Faithfull, an icon of Swinging London and a former girlfriend of Mick Jagger, will play on the 25th, following the previously announced Pete Doherty and Youssou N’Dour and the Les Inrocks festival to become one of the first artists to perform at the refurbished 1,500-cap. venue.

“I did not think I would get to sing at the Bataclan… They asked me and I was very happy”

Faithfull says she was “absolutely horrified” at the attacks of 13 November. “I did not think I would ever be able to sing at the Bataclan,” the English-born, Paris-based singer tells AFP, “They asked me and I was very happy [to].”

Eagles of Death Metal, who were on time at the time of the attack, returned to Paris on 16 February for an emotional show at the Olympia, for which survivors of the Bataclan attack were given free tickets.

 


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EODM dropped from festivals over Hughes comments

Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing when jihadist terrorists attacked the Bataclan in Paris on 13 November, have been dropped from two French festivals after frontman Jesse Hughes repeated allegations that venue security were complicit in the attacks.

In an interview with Taki’s Magazine’s Gavin McInnes, Hughes (pictured) said: “I know for sure that they [security guards] were in there early. I remember them staring at my buddy. I just chalked it up to Arab envy. You know what I mean? When a Muslim sees a cocky American dude with tattoos, he stares at him. I realised later it was [suspected attacker Salah] Abdeslam and he was staring at my buddy because they thought he was a threat. There’s no denying the terrorists were already inside, and they had to get in somehow. During the shooting I went outside and the backstage door was propped open. How did that happen?”

Hughes made similar remarks in March but later apologised, stating that his allegations were “absurd” and stemmed from trauma caused by the attack.

“There’s no denying the terrorists were already inside, and they had to get in somehow. During the shooting I went outside and the backstage door was propped open. How did that happen?”

He also agreed with McInnes’s statement that “political correctness is killing our natural instincts and making us vulnerable”, stating: Definitely. There were two girls who were involved. They were at the venue and vanished before the shooting, and these women were in traditional Muslim garb. They knew people wouldn’t check them because of the way they were dressed”.

In a statement, Radical Productions and Nous Productions, the promoters behind both Rock en Seine and Cabaret Vert, said they are in “total disagreement with Jesse Hughes’ recent allegations”.

Hughes has also previously blamed France’s ban on non-licensed firearms for the attack. “Did your French gun control stop a single fucking person from dying at the Bataclan?” Hughes said in an interview in February. ““I know people will disagree with me, but it just seems like God made men and women, and that night guns made them equal. I think the only way that my mind has been changed is that maybe that until nobody has guns, everybody has to have them.”

Court hears of EODM merch manager’s final moments

An inquest into the death of Nick Alexander, the sole Briton to die in November’s terror attack on the Bataclan in Paris, ruled today that the Eagles of Death Metal merchandise manager was unlawfully killed.

The coroner’s court in Chelmsford, Essex, also heard testimony from Alexander’s ex-girlfriend, Helen Wilson, who survived the attack, who described how the two played dead as three Islamic State-affiliated gunmen shot into the crowd on 13 November.

Alexander, 35 (pictured), was shot in the chest and abdomen. In a written statement, Wilson, an American who runs Paris-based catering company Rock en Bol, told senior coroner Caroline Beasley-Murray: “We dropped to the floor as soon as we heard the first shot. A tall man came over to us and started shooting. I tried to protect Nick.

“I asked him if he had been shot. I felt a burning sensation around my legs and I could see blood. Nick told me he had been shot in the stomach.”

“We dropped to the floor as soon as we heard the first shot. A tall man came over to us and started shooting. I tried to protect Nick”

She tried to give Alexander mouth-to-mouth resuscitation as she heard a bomb detonate. “I was telling him not to leave me, and that I love him,” she continued. “I protected myself and asked Nick if he was OK. He said: ‘I’m going to die.’ I told him that he wasn’t, and he said he couldn’t breathe.”

She then felt Alexander “go cold, and his eyes had changed; his body was lifeless”.

Ninety people died in the attack, which came as part of a series of coordinated bombings and shootings across Paris that also targeted the Stade de France and a number of restaurants. It sparked a debate around concert security and led to a number of venues increasing security on the door.

Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing at the time of the shootings, returned to Paris on 16 February for an emotional show at the Olympia, for which survivors of the Bataclan attack were given free tickets.