Several artists canceled their performances at Steelfest. The organizer of the music event is tired of the constant far-right accusations.
In Hyvinkää the metal music festival Steelfest is once again in turmoil. As in previous years, the uproar is about the fact that members of some of the bands performing at Steelfest have been associated with far-right movements.
Also read: Nazi accusations follow a small black metal festival in Hyvinkää – Organizer: “Yes, a metal audience with their hands up can look exactly what they want”
At the end of August, Steelfest released its artist overview for the spring 2022 event. The publication of the tableware sparked a discussion on social media about a few bands performing at the festival and the musicians ’alleged connections to the far right.
The organizers of Steelfest soon received contacts from representatives of a few artists who demanded that the festival rethink its table setting.
When Steelfest did not comply with the requests, among others the German Sodom and the Finnish Moonsorrow said that they would cancel their participation. This is how Moonsorrow put it on Facebook:
“We have always wanted to stay away from all political movements, including those on the far right. This should indeed be obvious, but following recent discussions, this is clearly not the case. Having said that, we don’t want to step on any political playing field, and this seems to be becoming one at an ever-accelerating pace. ”
Steelfestin main promoter Jani Laine says he is tired of repeating that Steelfest is not a political event.
“We don’t want to build any kind of political platform for this festival and we are always still drawn to it. If I say it straight, it feels really sad. ”
Steelfest will turn 10 next year. Laine says that always someone has been demanding a ban on someone’s performance.
“All artists are welcome to us, regardless of their political ideas, skin color or religious orientation.”
So the festival is not going to change the artist table this time either.
“We will never cancel the performance of any artist for such reasons. Otherwise, I think we would be guilty of pre-censorship. ”
It could also lead to the fact that only the same performers are always seen at events, he said.
“And who is the one who decides which band represents the far-right movement? As a festival organizer, we do not have any instance to contact and ask about. ”
However, this does not mean that everything is allowed.
“Yes, we condemn Nazism and fascism. We are a company and we have to make sure that everything works in accordance with Finnish law. Artists are, of course, responsible for the content they present, and we are also responsible for letting them perform. ”
Wave describes extreme metal as the most controversial and emotional genre in the world. That is why he does understand where people’s worries come from.
“What a band communicates and what they sing can be understood just how you want it. And of course when we have 6,000 visitors, there may be those among them who have an incomprehensible worldview. But I still don’t deny them coming, everyone is allowed to have their own vision. And we will monitor and intervene if someone breaks the law. ”
Steelfest will be held in May 2022 at the Hyvinkää Wool Factory. The event is now 10 years old and has grown from two days to four. The number of visitors has also increased year by year. More than half of the visitors arrive in Hyvinkää from abroad.
“A record audience is expected next year. Tickets have so far been sold to more than 50 countries around the world. Our target group is already looking forward to this event. ”
As a slightly different addition, Steelfest will also see something completely different from hard metal: a free craft event for everyone.
“It’s aimed at everyone from babies to grandparents and offers a chance to see traditional crafts. We will have 16 people forging and showcasing their skills. It is our way of thanking the townspeople, it has been nice to work in Hyvinkää for 10 years. ”
Soundi magazine wrote about the uproar first.