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 apologize for the incident, he later released a statement insisting that he was “1000% apologetic to anyone that took offense to what I said, because you should have taken offense.” “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.”