Usually when a festival gets abruptly cancelled, it’s because of weather, like when Houston Open Air had to cut short one of the days. However, for the Scottish black and death metal fest Caledonian Darkness, it ended for an entirely different reason – a swastika was found on a wall written in pig’s blood, and the dressing room was completely trashed as well.
That there was pig’s blood there isn’t necessarily the issue: there was some on the premises for three bands that were going to use it as a stage prop: Pseudogod, Sortilegia and Ifrinn. That had been cleared in advance. However, some unnamed individuals took it upon themselves to drench the dressing room and backstage area in the blood, including drawing a swastika on a wall. The reasoning why this was done (which, whatever, there’s no excuse) was that some bands weren’t paid for their performances because the festival didn’t have enough money. Festival promoter Oracular Phantasm explained in a statement, blaming the lack if funds on Brexit:
[Certain people] decided to use the blood provided for Pseudogod, Sortilegia and Ifrinn, to paint various Third Reich imagery across the dressing room resulting in a lofty decorating bill in the end.
Freedom of speech or whatever here is irrelevant. This act was extremely disrespectful to the venue who worked tireless with us to ensure a favourable outcome in the end and in the event of not selling enough tickets to cover hire, were extremely accommodating.
With the cost of things like flights absolutely through the roof due to factors such as the value of the pound fluctuating as a result of the so-called ‘Brexit’ referendum, the festival really struggled to stay on budget.
This was made harder with lack of sales.
The venue, Classic Grand, also weighed in:
Bands had flown in from all over Europe, with performance fees agreed by the promoter, as well as riders etc. It soon became apparent that the agreed fees were not going to be available to the bands, or venue.
“When certain acts discovered they were not going to be paid by the promoter, some took it upon themselves to challenge them/refuse to play etc.
“Several, unnamed, bands then decided to cause severe damage to the venue. Which has resulted in a four-figure repair bill.
“To ensure everyone’s safety, the promoter decided to cut short the event, a decision which The Classic Grand agreed with.”
It seems like the venue and promoter know who caused the vandalism, but aren’t saying. The owner of the Glasgow venue is fearing for business, hoping that bookers continue to book bands there. However, he didn’t report the incident, which is clearly a hate crime, to the police, which he tells Glasgow Live he now regrets. It’s hard to blame the venue for cutting things short, both from a financial standpoint and because of the mess. It’s understandable why bands that traveled across Europe to play a festival might be pissed that they weren’t getting paid, but there are better ways to deal with it than this. For their part, Oracular Phantasm apparently denied that it was a band that was behind the vandalism, stating it could have been an attendee. Either way, it’s shameful, sets black metal back a ways and hopefully those that did it will be dealt with accordingly.
[via Metal Injection]