Pantera kicked off Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festival bills: "we have decided to remove the band from the program"

Phil Anselmo on stage in 2022
(Image credit: Getty)

The controversial Pantera reunion has met its first major roadblock since hitting the road last year, as two of Europe's biggest rock festivals have announced that they are removing the band from their lineups.

Germany's Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals - twin events that share lineups across two different sites across the same weekend in June - have announced that, following serious discussions with numerous festival partners, bands playing this year's editions and ticket-buying fans, they have taken the decision to cancel Pantera's appearance this year.

"Pantera will not be performing at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park 2023, as announced," reads a translated version of a statement posted on both festivals' Facebook pages. "In the last few weeks, we have had many intensive conversations with artists, our partners and you, the festival fans, we have continued to deal with the criticism together and decided to remove the band from the program."

The festivals, which take place June 2-4 in Nürburgring and Nürnberg, will feature appearances from Rise Against, Limp Bizkit, Kings Of Leon, Tenacious D, Bring Me The Horizon, Machine Gun Kelly and many more.

Pantera's reunion - featuring 'golden era' members Phil Anselmo on vocals and Rex Brown on bass, with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Bentate filling in on guitar and drums respectively - has proven extremely divisive. Many fans are delighted at the opportunity to see classic Pantera tracks played live once again, while others remain cynical at the idea of any kind of Pantera tour taking place without the presence of much-missed Abbott brothers, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, the latter of whom was vocally against a Pantera reunion before his death in 2018.

Another enduring issue is the presence of Anselmo, whose white power outburst in 2016 outraged the metal community. After initially hesitating to apologise for the incident, he later released a statement insisting that he was “1000% apologetic to anyone that took offence to what I said, because you should have taken offence." "For all the pious out there who like to point the finger at me and say, ‘Oh, racist,’ they don’t fucking know me,” he later told Rolling Stone.

Last year, Vinnie Paul's estate released a statement rejecting the Pantera shows as a reunion, noting: “There can never be a Pantera reunion without Vinnie and Dime. However, there is no better way to celebrate and honor Vinnie and Dime's legacy, than to bring the music of Pantera directly to the fans. We are honored that Charlie and Zakk, their very close friends and musical brothers, will share the stage with Philip and Rex, to unleash the power of Pantera live around the world."

Rock Am Ring statement

(Image credit: Rock Am Ring / Facebook)
Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He has also presented and produced the Metal Hammer Podcast, presented the Metal Hammer Radio Show and is probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.