Pantera have been removed from the lineups of two major German rock festivals. The organizers of Rock am Ring and Rock im Park announced on Monday (Jan. 23) that the reunited thrash metal band will not be performing at this summer’s events after previously being announced alongside a lineup topped by Rise Against, Limp Bizkit, Kings of Leon, Die Toten Hosen, Bring Me the Horizon, Machine Gun Kelly, Yungblud, Evanescence and more.
“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,” organizers wrote in a FB post about the decision. At press time a spokesperson for Pantera had not returned a request for comment and the festival’s organizers had not given any further information on why the band had been removed.
The reformed band’s new lineup — featuring original singer Phil Anselmo and longtime bassist Rex Brown joined by Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante and longtime Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde — kicked off their first major tour in two decades in South American in December.
While organizers did not give a specific reason for their decision, speculation has centered on an incident from 2016 when Anselmo was filmed giving a nazi salute and shouting “white power” during a tribute to late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell.
Shortly after, Anselmo issued an apology, in which he said, “I was at the Dimebash, and it was extremely late at night. There was heavy-duty talk between myself and those who love Dime. And heavy emotions were flowing, jokes were made backstage that transpired upon the stage, and it was ugly. It was uncalled for. And anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that; I don’t want to be part of any group. I’m an individual, and I am a thousand percent apologetic to anyone that took offense to what I said because you should have taken offense to what I said. And I am so sorry, and I hope you just … man, give me another chance to … just give me another chance.”
Both of the festivals take place in Nuremberg — the site of many Nazi rallies, including a 1934 one filmed by Leni Riefenstahl for the notorious party propaganda film Triumph of the Will — and Germany’s Stern magazine reported that there was pressure from the city’s Green Party city council representatives to remove the band from the lineup.
The “City of Peace and Human Rights” still struggles to outrun its National Socialist path more than 80s years after the fall of the Third Reich and a Green Party rep told Stern that Anselmo’s apology for his white power outburst was “not credible enough” and that hosting the band on the former Nazi Party rally grounds “clearly exceeds the limit of what is bearable.”
“We are relieved about the organizer’s decision not to offer the band Pantera a stage. Their singer Phil Anselmo had repeatedly attracted attention with anti-Semitic and racist incidents,” said the Party’s Réka Lörincz in a statement on the Green Party’s site. “Therefore, a performance was unimaginable for us – especially on the former Nazi party rally grounds.”