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Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest Controversy

04:21 PM Friday 3/7/14 | |

Depending on who’s talking, Mexico’s “Hell & Heaven Metal Fest” scheduled for next weekend and featuring Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Korn, Rob Zombie and others has been canceled or going on as planned.

Slotted for March 15-16 at Feria De Texcoco Estadio De Mexico just east of Mexico City, the festival promises two full days of thundering metal with a lineup including Twisted Sister, Testament, Lamb Of God, P.O.D. and Opeth.

  • Metal Fest In Limbo

    Publicity for the “Hell and Heaven Metal Fest,” posted on bus in Mexico City.
    March 7, 2014

    (Eduardo Verdugo/AP)

    | 

Government officials are trying to silence the event, claiming that the festival doesn’t have adequate safety plans.

But officials in the town of Texcoco are saying political issues are the root of the problem.  The town is governed by the left-leaning Citizens’ Movement party that supports the festival while the state government is guided by the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

Saying it had canceled the festival “because safety conditions for potential concert-goers were not ensured,” the Mexico state government sent approximately 300 riot police to the fairgrounds today.  In a statement released to the press, the state government cited a lack of fire safety and evacuation plans as well as inadequate planning for fireworks.

But municipal president Delfina Gomez said she hopes that the government’s stance isn’t political because “it would affect thousands of young people from our country and abroad who have already purchased tickets.”

In a posting on the festival’s website, Gomez said there had been several meetings with various government officials, including federal and municipal police and that “there were no objections.”

Concert organizers pointed out that the same location is used each year for the Texcoco International Horse Fair that draws crowds almost as large as the 70,000 to 80,000 fans expected to attend the metal festival.  Organizers also said groups booked for past horse fairs played narco corridos songs celebrating the adventures of drug cartel leaders.

“I don’t know if this is discrimination against the metal community, I couldn’t prove that’s the case, but there are some things that make you wonder, and one is that massive ‘grupero’ concerts have been held in Texcoco, with as many as 200,000 people,” said concert organizers’ rep Juan Carlos Guerrero.

One of the organizers promised the show would go on.

“This is not a question of discrimination against heavy metal,” Javier Castaneda said.  “It is more about political and financial interests.”


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