"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."
Pantera were scheduled to headline the German twin hard rock and heavy metal festivals, Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, in June but have been removed months before the event takes place. Turnstile, Rise Against, Machine Gun Kelly, Evanescence, Bring Me The Horizon and many more feature on the line-up.
The reason for their removal likely stems from one of these instances: in November last year, the Vinnie Paul estate issued a statement that read, "There can never be a PANTERA reunion without Vinnie and Dime." However, the estate recognised that there's no better way to celebrate and honour the legacy of Paul and Dimebag Darrell than bringing live music to fans.
The more likely reason stems from a 2016 incident. In January 2016, vocalist Phil Anselmo was performing at a Dimebag Darrell tribute concert and ended the show by giving what fans claimed was a Nazi salute and yelling "white power".
The vocalist apologised in a video and explained that it was an inside joke. He continued, "Anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that. … I am a thousand per cent apologetic to anyone that took offence to what I said because you should have taken offence to what I said. And I am so sorry, and I hope you just … Man, give me another chance to … Just give me another chance."
In a December 2016 interview, he told Rolling Stone that he held himself accountable for his actions. "What I did, I own it outright," he said.
Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park issued a statement about Pantera's removal from the 2023 line-up (translated from German):
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Pantera will not be performing at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park 2023, as announced. 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.
In early December, the Pantera "reunion" shows began, with the band now comprising Phil Anselmo (vocals), bassist Rex Brown and new members Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) on guitar and Anthrax's Charlie Benante on drums.
Pantera are one of the most recognisable names in metal. Formed in 1981 in Arlington, Texas, the band developed a stomping, groove-driven blend of 'southern metal' that has gone on to influence the sound of modern metal.
The band's three record run of 1992's Vulgar Display of Power, 1994's Far Beyond Driven and 1996's The Great Southern Trendkill is considered by fans to be their finest work. The band were the recipient of four GRAMMY Awards for Best Metal Performance.