Nová Baňa citizens protest against metal festival

SOME inhabitants of Nová Baňa, Banská Bystrica Region, have been fighting the biggest heavy metal music festival in Slovakia, Gothoom, scheduled for mid-August. After the representatives of the town did not accept their request to stop it, they turned to the district prosecutor’s office in Žiar nad Hronom.

SOME inhabitants of Nová Baňa, Banská Bystrica Region, have been fighting the biggest heavy metal music festival in Slovakia, Gothoom, scheduled for mid-August. After the representatives of the town did not accept their request to stop it, they turned to the district prosecutor’s office in Žiar nad Hronom.

Festival organiser Peter Beťko says the panic over the event was influenced by the upcoming municipal elections.

“People … have turned it into hysteria, moved it to the political level and conflate it with things that have nothing to do with it,” Beťko said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, specifying that this includes politics, Christianity and attacks on the Church.

Critics complain mostly about the noise and the alleged promotion of violence at the festival.

Heavy metal is one of the loudest musical genres, Tomáš Palaj, one of the complaining citizens, told TASR. He added that people have objected to the festival in the past.

The citizens further disagree with the inclusion of bands which, according to them, advocate intolerance and violence based on religion, especially against Christians and Jews, Palaj said. He pointed to Nová Baňa’s big Christian community, saying the lyrics attack these people, as reported by TASR.

The festival’s organisers deny the accusations, and have already taken steps to meet new requirements. For example, they moved the festival to the other side of the lake in order to reduce the noise, and moved the planned end of concerts from 3:00 to 0:30.

Beťko also stressed that the festival has a charity aspect and helps boost Nová Baňa’s visibility, TASR wrote.

Regarding the criticism of the lyrics, he explained that he has already written to representatives of the bands, who responded that the songs in question were written in the early 90s and they are not on the bands’ playlists anymore.

Shortly after scheduling the festival, critics of Gothoom launched a petition asking the town to stop it. It was signed by more than 650 people and was delivered to Nová Baňa Mayor Ján Havran. The initiative has also been supported by representatives of organisations working with young people, Church representatives, as well as several members of the town council, TASR reported.

They even ordered a legal analysis which showed that the town is authorised to ban the festival in such cases. Since the mayor has not taken any steps yet, the critics have submitted a motion to the prosecutor’s office, Palaj explained.

Spokesperson for the regional prosecutor’s office Ivan Vozár confirmed to TASR that they received the motion and will decide on it after learning all materials.

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