Two German Festivals (Rock Im Park + Rock Am Ring) Remove Pantera From Lineup Due to Philip Anselmo’s Past Racist Display
UPDATE (Jan. 25, 2023): Foo Fighters have now replaced Pantera on the respective bills at Rock Im Park 2023 and Rock Am Ring 2023. See the details here.
After "intense conversations," the organizers of the Rock Im Park and Rock Am Ring festivals, located roughly 250-300 miles apart in Germany, have made the decision to remove Pantera from the lineups in response to the government's renewed attention on singer Philip Anselmo's 2016 actions involving a Nazi salute and racist words.
As reported by News in Germany, the festivals (which also share nearly share the same lineups) faced increasing pressure by the center-left political party referred to as "The Greens" within the Nuremberg City Council.
Infamously, Nuremberg was the site where Germany's Nazi party held numerous rallies in 1927, 1929 and each year from 1933 through 1938. It's also where the antisemitic and racist Nuremberg Laws were passed, which stripped certain peoples (Jewish, Black, Romani) of their citizenship and were, in turn, declared state subjects.
Late last year, Pantera were announced as one of dozens of acts set to perform at Rock Im Ring and Rock Am Park in 2023. The festival stops were the band's first two scheduled shows in Europe after announcing their return with guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante joining Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown in the lineup.
"The fact that the band is planning their reunion in 2023 of all times and wants to celebrate it on the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds clearly exceeds the limit of what is bearable," the Greens said of Pantera performing at Rock Im Park in particular (via The Limited Times).
In 2016, at the Dimebash concert event — which celebrated the life and legacy of late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell — Anselmo gave a Nazi salute from the stage and bellowed, "White power," and it's these actions the Council references when first urging the two festival to remove the band from the lineups. At first, the singer excused his actions as a backstage joke and later issued an apology statement.
“We interpret his apology more as trivialization. There was no insight, we find that very problematic,” commented Réka Lörincz, spokesperson against right-wing extremism and racism and member of the Legal, Economic and Labor Committee in the Nuremberg City Council. She insists, “It’s not about bashing the band or the music."
"The former Nazi Party Rally Grounds are deliberately being misused for the staging and reproduction of racist and inhuman ideology," Lörincz also stated of Pantera's originally scheduled appearance.
In response, both Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals issued a joint statement on social media, which reads,
Pantera will not be performing at Rock in the Park and Rock in the Ring 2023, as announced. In the last few weeks, we have had many intensive conversations with artists, our partners and you, the festival fans, we have continued to deal with the criticism together and decided to remove the band from the program.