Czech xenophobic band removed from music festival lineup after other performers refuse to share the stage with them
The online news server of the TV NOVA channel, TN.cz, reports that for the first time in four years, the xenophobic band Ortel will not be performing at the pilgrimage to Říp Hill in the Czech Republic. The mayor of Krabčice, Jiří Šimáček, says the band was not booked in an effort to give room to other musicians.
However, the reason apparently also is the annoyance expressed by the other performers invited about having to appear along with Ortel on the same stage. A petition was created back in 2016 against the band performing there because its lead singer, Tomáš Ortel, once played in the neo-Nazi group Conflict 88.
Several hundred people signed the petition back then. According to TN.cz, the singer Adam Mišík and many other musicians have objected this year, as they did last year, to sharing the stage with Ortel.
Organizers therefore decided to change the program. "We got together as the committee with the local assembly members and agreed that this year Ortel will not be at the pilgrimage to Říp. There were two streams of opinion, one in favor of keeping them on the bill, the other for completely changing the program. The opinions didn't differ because of politics, but because Ortel has already performed there frequently. The program is always chosen according to the main criteria of affordable ticket prices, popularity of the performers, and the benefit that accrues to the pilgrimage itself," explained the mayor, who is also one of the main organizers.
TN.cz reported that the organizers are not complaining about the performances by the members of Ortel, but rather take exception to their fans, who allegedly frequently do not know how to behave. "We do not support any streams of political thought at the pilgrimage, but different reactions can arise among those participating. We would regret it if those small groups that organize different marches were to affiliate themselves with it," TN.cz reported the mayor as saying.
"Radical Islamism, Nazism or Communism are all, to me, essentially the same thing in different packaging. I cancelled my performance because I did not want to share a stage with the Ortel band, whose lead singer performed in the neo-Nazi group Conflict 88. Their clearly racist and antisemitic songs were still being sung by him until recently. Extremism in any form is unacceptable to me, for example, because of the history of my own family in association with the previous regime, and I could cite many other examples from those around me," the singer Mišík told TN.cz.
Ortel expressed its opinion of not being asked to perform in a Facebook post: "Our CD Dictator is yielding fruit. Today our appearance at the pilgrimage to Říp was cancelled."
Comments posted in response by many of Ortel's fans were even harsher; for example, a Facebook user called Barták Radek wrote this: "Love for one's homeland, nation, patriotism, nationalism, is that a crime?? This makes me sick, the borders are open to any vermin, the cikáni keep on being more and more favored, why aren't we doing anything about all this? Is this nation that fucked-up or stupid? No, we're not, but let's do something already! Is the EU stopping us? Let's get rid of it, we'll be better off without it, and mainly we will put things in 'order' here at home!!!!!"
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