It stains. Since Monday June 20, two photos taken during a concert at Hellfest have appeared on Twitter. We see a man wearing, on one of the stages of the festival (the “Warzone”), two successive T-shirts with anti-Semitic messages. The first is flanked by a large “Who ?” with a myriad of question marks, a reference to the question that burns the lips of anti-Semites, to understand: “Who is behind all this? Of course, it’s the Jews. On the second is written “Goi”, Yiddish word commonly designating people who are not of the Jewish faith. Clothes marketed via the far-right online store Kontre Kulture and regularly worn by, among others, the Holocaust denier and conspiracy ideologue Alain Soral.
The Hellfest, which takes place from June 17 to 26, is, this year, the biggest French festival in terms of paying entries. Not wishing to fuel the controversy and not always being on good terms with the media, the festival team did not wish to speak. In off, however, it is certified that the man in question is neither an employee of the event nor a hired technician, but one of the 7,000 volunteers. He would have been finally spotted by members of the technical teams then expelled from the site, and would have had his pass deactivated immediately. “He is no longer present at the Hellfest, period. The reaction was very clear,” was entrusted to Release.
One of the photos was taken during the concert of the French punk band Washington Dead Cats. Its singer and historical leader, Mat Firehair, confides: “We have always been involved in anti-fascist movements. It’s been going on for thirty-eight years. We are very alert on this sort of thing. In our contracts, we prohibit entry to our concerts to anyone presenting themselves with fascist or racist insignia. We have always been clear. But how to apply this to a festival bringing together more than 200,000 people? The problem is that the references “Who ?” and “Goy” displayed by this volunteer are not known to everyone and may go unnoticed by a vigilant community.
The concerts on the Warzone stage are broadcast live via giant screens as well as on Arte. Therefore, technical staff, including volunteers, must wear all-black T-shirts, out of discretion. It was this breach of the rules that caught the attention of officials. “They also noticed that he had some weird tattoos.explains Mat Firehair. So they fired him. What you need to know is that the extreme right is camouflaged more and more. It doesn’t really alert people anymore, we don’t pay attention to references anymore.
“Obsessive and Disturbing Themes”
If the festival seems to have taken measures concerning this last incident, the Hellfest is blamed for having programmed the Polish group Mgła, regularly accused of being part of the National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) scene. In short, to be neo-Nazis. The group has already performed at Hellfest in 2016, at the Motocultor festival in 2019, has just filled several venues in France, including the Machine du Moulin Rouge, in Paris, and has already played in several Smac, public halls dedicated to music. current. But the group firmly denies any link with neo-Nazi movements.
In 2000, one of its members released a musical project called Leichenhalle, featuring, among other things, a song named Judenfrei, from the name of the “free of Jews” zones decided by the Third Reich during the Second World War. Contacted, the parties concerned explained that they had at the time “explored dehumanization”, “without glorifying her”, then evolving into a musical genre “traditionally exploring obsessive and disturbing themes”. In the past, a photo showed one of Mgła’s musicians on stage sporting what strongly resembled the logo of the French band Peste Noire, which is intimately linked to far-right nationalist and neo-fascist ideologies. According to several sources, this musician would no longer be part of the formation, which we could not verify. For the group’s French booking agency, “Mgła is neither a political nor a politicized group. There is therefore nothing abnormal in his being on the bill at concerts and festivals such as Hellfest”. The festival features no less than 350 groups over seven days this year.
Mgła has also released all his albums (four since 2008) on the Northern Heritage Records label founded by Mikko Aspa, an openly neo-Nazi Finnish musician and figure in the NSBM movement in his country, who also performs under the name Clandestine Blaze. In 2014 in Helsinki, he was invited by Mgła to play with them on stage, a video available on YouTube and viewed more than 100,000 times had immortalized this moment.