Following in the footsteps of Glastonbury and a handful of planned spring and summer tours, the organizers behind one of the biggest metal festivals in the world — Hellfest, which takes place in Clisson, France every June — have pulled the plug on their event for the second year in a row.

Festival creator Ben Barbaud blamed a regulation imposed by the French government for the cancelation, although anyone with a working brain could’ve easily seen that there was no way any big festivals were going to happen this summer, so the move was all but inevitable. Very aware of that fact, Barbaud holds no grudge towards the government, explaining:

“I do not blame the minister, the health situation is what it is and Roselyne Bachelot had the courage to make decisions. But next summer will be disaster for the youth. And the festivals, contrary to what I can read, will not be saved.”

The government regulation allows for 5,000 people to attend a festival, all seated and social distanced. Hellfest typically hosts 60,000 people per day, while seating and social distancing at a metal show are both impractical and nonsensical.

Barbaud explained further:

“For me, it will be a new white year. Even if the health restrictions are less strong in a few months, the step is too high before we arrive at an authorization of 60,000 people per day, stuck to each other. We are not surprised: since January, we doubted the chances of seeing the festival take place next June.”

Barbaud makes a solid, if obvious point: it’s unclear how these festivals are going to survive with two years of going dark. While at least this year they had time to prepare for the likelihood the event wouldn’t take place and probably built in contingencies for such with vendors, they still had to cover staffing costs for the core people who organize the event, and keeping those folks employed for two entire years with no source of revenue will be a massive loss.

As we wrote earlier this year, you’re deluding yourselves if you think any large festivals or tours are happening this summer. The only question is what things look like in the fall, with some projections eyeing that period for effective Covid-19 herd immunization thanks to the vaccine. Personally, I’m skeptical.

But Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, recently suggested late fall is a possibility. He, too, cautioned that it all depends on vaccine rollout. Between 70% and 85% of the population will need to be vaccinated, he said, resulting in an adequate level of herd immunity.

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[Ouest France via Metal Injection]

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