Foot-And-Mouth Scotches Dutch Metal Fests

Holland's largest annual heavy metal festival, Dynamo Open Air, has been canceled as a result of the growing European foot-and-mouth crisis. The three-day festival, featuring Motorhead and Megadeth, w

Holland's largest annual heavy metal festival, Dynamo Open Air, has been canceled as a result of the growing European foot-and-mouth crisis. The three-day festival, featuring Motorhead and Megadeth, was due to take place May 24-26 in Lichtenvoorde. Approximately15,000 of the 25,000 available tickets had already been sold, and will now be refunded.

Although Lichtenvoorde has not been hit by the disease, the local council decided to take no risks. The decision comes as a big disappointment for organizers, as the 16th edition of the event had searched for alternative festival grounds. It had outgrown its original hometown of Eindhoven, where it became the largest Dutch festival at one point, drawing approximately 120,000 visitors from Holland and Germany.

For metal-oriented record label/distributor Suburban, the cancellation means a major setback in its publicity campaign for 2001. Suburban had scheduled some 20 bands for the festival, including Cradle Of Filth. "It's difficult to measure this in album sal es," promotion manager Ron Willemsen tells Billboard.com. "But, we stand to lose a lot of free publicity here. Normally, Dynamo is a perfect interview opportunity for our bands, as the majority of the heavy metal press gathers there."

Apart from Dynamo Open Air, the Waldrock festival, planned for June 30 in the northern town of Burgum, has been affected by the epidemic. The event, featuring Suicidal Tendencies, has postponed ticket pre-sales by one month. Owing to Burgum's close proximity to an area affected by foot-and-mouth, festival organizers said on their Web site that they took this step out of compassion for the farmers.

However, fears for other Dutch festivals are not justified at this point, according to Mojo Concerts, the country's leadin g concert promoter. A Mojo spokesman says: "We don't expect further cancellations for festivals like Pinkpop or Lowlands, as they will not take place on agricultural terrain." At this point, Mojo couldn't estimate the exact loss resulting from Dynamo being canceled.