Controversial 'neo-Nazi' music festival in Ypres cancelled

Controversial 'neo-Nazi' music festival in Ypres cancelled
Poster of Frontnacht festival organised by radical Flemish group IJZerwake. Credit: IJZerwake website / Belga

After coming under widespread criticism, Ypres city council has revoked the permit of the controversial Frontnacht festival, local media report. Earlier on Tuesday, Flemish socialists Vooruit threatened to leave the city if the permit wasn't revoked.

On 27 August, Frontnacht festival was due to feature musicians with clear links to neo-Nazi and fascist groups in Europe, prompting concern from European intelligence services as well as Belgium's Coordination Unit for Threat Analysis (CUTA).

The festival was announced in May but despite warnings and protests, the IJzerwake group was given a permit for the festival.

A festival with conditions

Ypres city council said earlier on Tuesday that the permit came with conditons.  "For example, on the condition that no groups would perform with neo-Nazi and neo-fascist ties," said Ypres city councillor of events  Diego Desmadryl. "The permit has now been revoked because the conditions are no longer met."

City officials say that the permit was given without the council being fully informed about the festival's line-up. Since then CUTA and European intelligence services expressed concern about the bands set to perform, according to Het Nieuwsblad.

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Ypres city council was pressured politically after Vooruit chairperson Conner Rousseau threatened to withdraw his city council representatives from Ypres' majority. Ypres' coalition currently consists of Open Ypres (Open VLD), Vooruit and N-VA.

Frontnacht festival organisers threatened to take action if the permit were to be revoked.

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