Controversy Surrounding Hammerfest UK Has Forced Roughly Half the Bill to Drop Off
If you’re planning on spending this coming weekend watching nearly 40 bands take the stage at the O2 Academy in Birmingham this weekend, you may want to temper your expectations — or demand a refund — as issues surrounding the festival’s organizers have a huge swathe of the bands to drop off the bill.
As of this writing, only 17 of the originally billed 35 bands are still scheduled to play. Bands like Dakesis, Divine Chaos, King Creature, The Injester, Monasteries, and more announced via social media over the last couple days announcing that they would not be participating in this weekend’s festival.
According to numerous sources, the festival’s organizers HRH have allegedly been playing things a little fast and loose when it came to things like paying bands, promoting bands that either canceled months ago or falsely stating bands were committed when they weren’t, or making smaller bands pay for a hotel room and other shady practices. As for the fan experience, apparently there are issues regarding getting refunds as well.
Though they’re not the only band to post their reasoning on social media, Dakesis said they were deeply concerned by all the controversy surrounding Hammerfest:
We’ve been through the statements and comments surrounding Hammerfest coming in from artists and fans alike together, and after assessing this situation, we have made the unanimous decision to pull out of Saturday’s show at Hammerfest.
Cancelling a festival appearance after weeks of preparation, that we are fully able and ready to play, is not something we take lightly, and we can only offer our most sincere apologies to those of you who have bought tickets and were looking forward to seeing us this weekend.
Sometimes the right thing to do isn’t necessarily the easy thing to do. We know we will be letting some of our biggest supporters down, but our values lie in supporting our musical community, and ultimately, we believe artists, whether they are signed, independent or unsigned, deserve to be paid for their work and contribution fairly.
We also believe in transparent ticketing and terms for the audience and have heard from many of you about outstanding refunds and other ongoing ticketing issues.
Dakesis therefore cannot support and work with a franchise that is clearly not upholding these same beliefs.
We hope you understand that sometimes solidarity is needed to pave the way for a better and fairer future.
According to a Facebook post by A Forest of Stars, who had been scheduled to play the festival at one point, but decided against it because they hadn’t yet been paid for a past gig they did for HRH.
As it is come to light surrounding several artists cancelling at Hammerfest due to issues with compensation, we wanted to add our own experience to the public forum.
A Forest of Stars were not paid by the organisers for our recent event at Hard Rock Hell Vikings in Sheffield in December 2022 and are aware of other acts at this concert, as well as others from previous events, who had the same experience.
Continued existence and financial viability is hard enough for most active artists and while we have not lost out to the extent of flight costs etc in this case, we have been in contact with artists this has had the material impact for. For ourselves, this has prevented us following through on plans that we were planning on organising around now.
This also impacts fans of music, who just wanted to watch some of their favourite metal acts, without the threat of cancellation due to an unstable pyramid scheme playing out behind closed doors.
We had considered a stronger statement that named the individuals responsible, but have resolved against this. Problems like this happen from time to time but are usually resolved in private and in good faith. We see no path towards this matter being resolved at this point however.
This is all against a backdrop of other excellent and honest UK & European based promoters and organisers, who we tip our hat to and thank for their hard work.
Similarly, Promethium posted their sentiments online earlier this week, pointing out that bands continue to face enough hardships on tour these days that they are standing in solidarity with the other bands that dropped off.
For the last 24 hours we have watched the whole HRH thing unfold and to see so many bands pull out, although sad, it shows how important it is that bands stand up for their rights.
The music industry is tough as it is and to see such a big united front actually stand up and say “Enough is Enough” is something that Promethium agree with and as such we will no longer be playing HRH this weekend.
We are gutted as we had prepared an awesome set of new songs from the new album and couldn’t wait to debut them and bring the Metal.
We salute each and every band who has stood up to the issues we have known about for so long.
Every band should hold their head high and be proud of what they have done to those who have taken advantage.
Organizers HRH have yet to release a statement on the issue, but if you were planning on attending Hammerfest UK this weekend, you may want to figure out if you can get a refund and look for something else to do.