Germany’s premiere rock and metal festivals Rock AM Ring & Rock AM Park, have made the decision to pull Pantera from the scheduled 2023 lineups. In a statement made from rockimparkofficial’s social media outlets, the festival organizers express that the decision was made as a result of ongoing criticism after booking the Pantera reunion as one of this year’s main headliners.
“Pantera will not be performing at Rock in the Park and Rock in the Ring 2023, as announced,” the festival organizers state. “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.”
Additionally, the German Green Party had criticized Pantera’s appearance at the festivals (according to Blabbermouth), referencing vocalist Phil Anselmo’s past racist behavior at the 2016 Dimebash event: “[Anselmo] repeatedly and deliberately made Nazi gestures and yelled racist slogans.”
While Anselmo had apologized for his behavior and remarks at the 2016 Dimebash concert, he’s not commented on the incident since 2019 when he was interviewed by Kerrang! regarding his thoughts on the events. “I feel like it’s ridiculous. I made an off-color joke and ‘Boom!’ — it’s like I’m literally Hitler!” Said Anselmo. “I’m not. I take each individual one at a time, in the way that any logical individual will. I have love in my heart. Over the years, I’ve learned to take the first step with love and to put good faith first. I get along with everybody. If there’s any doubt about my political leanings, people should get it out of their heads. I was raised amongst a dazzling [cast of characters] from the theatre, from the mental hospital, from all walks of life — all colors, creeds and kinds. It’s absurd to me that anyone in this day and age would judge anyone by the color of their skin, their heritage or their religion. I’m a harmless guy. I’m a reactionary, not a troublemaker.”
Whether you’re a massive fan of Pantera or are everything but a fan, it’s a completely valid argument for one to state that the existing members of Pantera have not properly or appropriately addressed their history of racially insensitive behavior, and it goes beyond Phil Anselmo’s 2016 remarks. Throughout the original lineups active years (1980’s-2001) Pantera had notoriously showcased the confederate flag at their live shows and in their merchandise, as well as spew what many considered to be racist rhetoric during their concerts. Despite the band removing the Confederate Flag from their merchandise and brand these days, the band’s past association with the flag and previous racist remarks are still a heavy talking point amongst artists and fans in Pantera’s respective scene. Provided so, it seems that it’d be in the Pantera reunion’s best interest to come out address these issues with their fans and music industry at large, particularly members Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo.