The official Facebook page of the Hellfest Open Air Festival, the most successful French metal festival, published far-right politician Pascal Gannat’s words about the festival on December 10. Mr. Ganat, a candidate in the upcoming regional elections, has expressed a strong dislike of the event and has questioned the regional funding were he to become the chair of the region Pays de la Loire.
Mr. Gannat is running in the regional elections as the National Front candidate in the western region of Pays de la Loire . He arrived second with 21.35% in the first ballot on December 6. He expressed his views on the metal festival on November 2 in response to a citizen’s online question about regional funding the festival. He put them forward once again on December 4 according to the Hellfest’s Facebook post translated below.
On December 4, at 8 p.m., Mr. Pascal GANNAT, National Front chief candidate in the region Pays de la Loire, expressed his view on the festival, already detailed in a letter published on the festival opponents’ blog.
Here are some excerpts: “The festival’s name itself – Hellfest, meaning the feast of hell – is unacceptable to us and should be changed even before considering funding it again. We acknowledge that France’s roots are celtic, greco-latin, but they essentially are historically christian. Therefore, we will make sure that the suggested line-ups do not make past errors and that rock bands clearly apologizing christanophobia are not invited.”
In these troubled times, we think there are more important topics to deal with than the existence of a festival such as the Hellfest. We are not playing politics; our job is to entertain you – and it seems like we do it well, considering the 2014 and 2015 Festival awards’ results.
Mr. Gannat’s letter also states that the region might stop funding the festival for these reasons, despite its obvious success, both nationally and internationally.
The Hellfest Facebook update, shared thousands of time within minutes of its post, caused outrage among fans of the festival, from France or from abroad.
The Hellfest festival celebrated its 10 years of existence in 2015. It has grown into one of the most popular events of the year for metal and rock fans in France and Europe. Ben Barbaud, the festival’s director and founder, said that 150 000 festival goers participated this year.