Heavy metal to rock religious town
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands ” A heavy metal rock festival hoping to hold an open-air concert in an area known as the Dutch Bible Belt received a permit on one condition: no cursing.
The Elsrock festival caused an uproar last year when it was held for the first time outside the small, heavily religious town of Rijssen, 75 miles east of Amsterdam.
Two religious political parties complained that heavy metal “is typified by lyrics about death and decay, and vocals that change between a hellish wail and deep grunts.”
Churches protesting a new concert this year were pacified only by “the stated readiness of the organizers to make sure that no blasphemous words are used, and that the honor of God’s name is not besmirched,” Mayor Bort Koelewijn wrote in a letter granting the permit, made public on Tuesday.
“Should there in practice be any blasphemy, I’ll ask the district attorney to prosecute.”
A spokeswoman for the town said the concert was scheduled for Aug. 25, and as many as 1,200 people were expected to attend.
One of the concert’s organizers, who asked not to be named because he feared he might lose customers at his regular business in Rijssen, said the bands invited were not known for Satan-worshipping lyrics and would be instructed to “keep it cool” during the concert.
“But that someone might swear somewhere on the concert grounds ” you can’t prevent that. It’s not realistic in this day and age,” he said.
He said a church delegation had come to the concert last year and “found out the music was not their cup of tea,” but agreed the event was well-run.
The lineup so far includes several Dutch bands and one Brazilian band called Thessera.