Pantera removed from German rock festival bills

The newly reformed Panther has been removed from the bills at two upcoming rock festivals in Germany.

The band was scheduled to perform at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, both of which take place on the first weekend of June at Nurburgring and Nurnberg. The group has now been scrapped from the lineup. (Other acts scheduled to appear at the festivals include Limp Bizkit, Kings of Leon, Persistent DBring Me the Horizon and Machine Gun Kelly.)

“In the last few weeks we have had many intensive conversations with artists, our partners and you, the festival fans, we have continued to address the criticism together and decided to remove the band from the program,” reads a announcement posted on the festivals’ Facebook pages.

The backlash stems from an incident that took place in 2016 when the singer Phil Anselmo reportedly gave a Nazi-style salute and said “white power” while performing at the “Dimebash,” an event held in honor of the late Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” by Darrell Abbott. At the time, Anselmo claimed he was joking about the white wine he’d been drinking backstage, and later released a statement apologizing.

“Anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe any of that,” he said said. “I don’t want to be part of any group. I’m an individual and I’m a thousand percent sorry to anyone who took offense to what I said because you should have taken offense to what I said. And I I’m so sorry and I hope you just… man, give me one more chance to… just give me one more chance.” Three years later, in 2019, Pantera’s appearances were at two New Zealand concerts cancelled due to the 2016 incident.

A few weeks ago, the German Green Party for the Nuremberg city council released a announcementand said Anselmo “repeatedly and deliberately displayed Nazi symbols or shouted racist slogans.”

They asked the organizers of the upcoming festivals to remove the band from their schedules. “The former Nazi Party Rally Grounds is a place of perpetrators and thus a place of exhortation,” they wrote. (Rock im Park takes place at the Zeppelinfeld, where six Nazi party meetings were held between 1933-38.) “As a place of learning and remembrance, Nuremberg’s citizens and actors in educational work and civil society always assume the special responsibility associated with this Kun signs of human dignity and peace should emanate from here, as our self-commitment in the Nuremberg City Council also states.”

Pantera have also come under fire for their reunion, with some fans lamenting the absence of the late Abbott brothers, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. (The band’s current lineup includes classic members Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, plus guitarist Zak Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante.) Last year, Vinnie Paul’s estate released a statement dismissing the upcoming tour as a proper reunion. “There can never be a Pantera reunion without Vinnie and Dime,” he said (via Louder sound). “However, there is no better way to celebrate and honor Vinnie and Dime’s legacy than to bring the music of Pantera directly to the fans. We are honored that Charlie and Zakk, their very close friends and musical brothers, will share the stage with Philip and Rex, to unleash the power of Pantera live around the world.”

Pantera’s next live performances are scheduled to take place in March at the Loud Park Festival in Japan.

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