23rd April 2012. “Where’s me fucking money…?” The Metal Open Air 2012, dubbed ‘The Brazilian Wacken’ by MetalTalk.net’s Brazilian correspondent Nando Souza, turned into a complete disaster this weekend with most bands pulling out, including Saxon, due to breaches of contract and the fans clearly not getting what they had paid for.
The first set of problems arose when attendees found out that the camping area was set at nearby horse stables, devoid of any bathrooms, light or water supply. Due to a delay in getting the stages ready, as well as having the festival grounds meet certain security standards, the concerts began nearly five hours late.
Venom were the first band to pull out, Cronos making a very angry and sweary statement: “This is bullshit. I’ve been told our visa approvals were sent to Africa by mistake. How the fuck can that happen? I’m fucking livid about this!”
Saxon then announced they would not be showing up and you can read their statement in full further down the page. Then things got really out of hand.
‘Supergroup’ Rock And Roll All Stars (comprised of Gene Simmons, Sebastian Bach, Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, Mike Inez, among others), arguably Metal Open Air’s most eye-catching act, were set to headline the second day, making their only appearance in the country, with Charlie Sheen as ‘master of ceremonies’.
As with many of the other acts, the group simply didn’t get paid. Shannon Tweed, Gene Simmon’s wife, tweeted: “Allegedly the local promoter in Brazil can’t be located so we can’t pay the crew, musicians, pilots, etc and won’t make that show! #shyster.”
Rock And Roll All-Stars’ no-show was curiously described as a breach of contract by the organisers. Upon hearing that Charlie Sheen was unable to show up, the festival attempted to reduce the band’s fee, a proposition that was obviously refused. No comment was provided on why the band didn’t receive any beforehand payment.
The organisers have attempted to blame the Maranhão government, accusing them of pulling out a large portion of their invested budget at the last second.
The state of Maranhão then put out a statement of their own saying that they had never been contacted by Metal Open Air and don’t even invest in such events, ever. The release went on to add: “In this specific case, there’s the aggravating history of previous events made by one of these organizers, which have already resulted in similar issues.”
Saxon’s announcement read as followw:
“Saxon is sad to announce that they have to cancel the performance at Metal Open Air in Sao Luis Brazil due to a serious breach of contract by the promoters. Having waited since march the 15th for the fee to arrive as of Friday 2pm no money has arrived.
“No explanation has been given and Saxon feel being treated with little respect. We left in the situation today and the band with their bags packed and ready to leave but it is impossible to travel all the way with at least some of the fee!
“We are really sorry for all our fans there but we are sure that you all can understand that people have to working in a professional way and fulfil their contractual obligations! We are trying to come back to Brazil next year on our world tour and do a special show for the people in that area.”
After Saxon announced the band was pulling out, Hansi Kürsch of Blind Guardian also issued a statement about cancelling their appearance:
“In 25 years of our career we have managed to fix all problems to make sure our performance is going to take place. No matter what the circumstances were, we intended to play. We have been extremely successful in the avoidance of canceled shows, so far.
“This unfortunately comes to a very sad end here in Sao Luis. Due to massive technical and administrative problems we were forced to cancel tonight’s show. As far as we understand it seems to be the local management who has not been able to secure a proper festival environment, anymore. Things are pretty out of hand there.
“We feel very sorry about this totally unsatisfying situation, but the mistakes made by the local promoter makes an even improvised show impossible. I know, that we have the most dedicated fans and I count on your understanding. In the future we will be more careful in confirming such festivals.”