Religious protests disrupt metal festival

A South African metal festival featuring Cannibal Corpse and Hatebreed has had to switch venues – supposedly after complaints from a local Christian group.

Witchfest was due to take place on farmland in the North West Province town of Hartbeespoort from April 2-6. But it’s been moved to Lanseria, midway between Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Organisers blame the Hartbeespoort “Christian community” for the late switch, but vow the event will go ahead and have promised to help fans who have already booked travel and accommodation for the original venue.

In a statement, organisers say: “You need to be ready to roll with the punches. Witchfest festival was dealt another blow (non lethal) this past week.

“It appears the forgiving and accepting nature of the Hartbeespoort Christian community is on holiday. They have been harassing the venue and farmers to the point that we were told, ‘Either your fork out R3million (£171,000) and buy the farm, or leave.’ Well, we have left.

“Now for the good news: we have secured a new venue in the Lanseria area. This means we will offer a free shuttle service from Lanseria Airport to the new venue. All tickets are still valid.”

Also on the bill are Epica, Decapitated, Kataklysm and Alestorm.

It’s not the first time a Cannibal Corpse appearance has been affected by religious protests. Last year the band were forced to scrap a number of shows in Russia after a group called God’s Will complained that the band was blasphemous.

Stef wrote close to 5000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.