The organizers of the Caledonian Darkness black metal festival in Glasgow, Scotland were forced to cut short the second iteration festival early after an individual angry with the organizer’s inability to pay them vandalized the backstage area. Pig’s blood meant meant for Pseudogod, Sortilegia, and Ifrinn sets was used to paint six foot tall swastikas all over the white dressing room walls. Copying Dismember and Mayhem‘s shtick when you’re mediocre and not securing your own blood is a no no. Antifascists venue owners ended up canning Dead Congregation‘s and Svartidaudi’s sets, doing what they had threatened to do before the second day of the festival had even started
An update in regards to the events that transpired during Caledonian Darkness II this weekend past. At this point I have attempted to retain a neutral stance for reasons I could not discuss at the time. An attempt was made to pay the venue today as I advised them it would. The venue could not facilitate this payment due to the personal circumstances(!) of their business. I would like to clarify the rumours that many of the bands performing have publicly stated. Yes bands could not get paid, I ran into financial difficulty literally a few days within the festival and decided to go ahead with it with full support for it, rather than cancel on everyone as there was a possibility I could meet all costs with door sales. This did not happen and we ended up selling 16 tickets on the door out of an estimated 80-100. I accept full responsibility for that and this will be fixed as soon as possible. To the bands I offer my sincerest apologies that I could not pay you what you are most certainly due. But not one single band refused to play. They were professional, respectful the entire time and despite my shortcomings they were supportive of the efforts I went to, to ensure the show’s success. I cannot thank them enough for that and have been working hard to ensure I honour our agreements.
However I would like to clarify that the decision to end the show early was entirely at the venue’s discretion. The bands did not challenge me and at no point did I think there was a health & safety issue for the public (let’s not mention your livers). The damage was caused by a select few band members that amounted to a figure in the low hundreds contrary to what the venue has claimed. All bands were still scheduled to play when it became apparent that the venue were trying to pressure me to end the show early including threatening legal action despite the fact I advised them payment could be met, which I have stated was attempted today as I never signed ANY hire agreement detailing that they needed paid before showtime. Ole A. Aune, Svartidaudi and Nifelheim also attempted to advise them to keep the show running. They were met with refusal by the venue and of course around this time the ‘blood reich’ incident occurred. All attempts to keep the show running were shot down by the venue. Members of some of the bands attempted to clean up the graffiti despite having nothing to do with the incident. I offered to do it myself several times but was ignored by the venue. I personally believe not one of the bands or anyone involved in the festival was responsible for the graffiti. We still don’t know who it was either. Security was so lacking that we have reason to believe people were walking in for free. The venue simply did not care despite repeated attempts from Ole A. Aune, who I have to mention is a qualified security guard himself, to get the security to step up their game.
The fact of the matter is, the venue’s statement is simply slander against the bands who were exemplary in their professionalism and attitude. I was pressured by the venue to go up on stage to announce the shows end, awkwardly I might add, which resulted in me projecting my frustration out on the crowd for which you have my sincerest apologies. Now it has come to light that the show could have definitely ran on and everyone would have been happy yet the venue is attempting to paint the bands in a negative light. All other festival issues were and still are my responsibility but I am not taking the fall for what was the venue’s decision and certainly not when they choose to slander the bands who still gave their everything during the entirety of Caledonian Darkness II and made it sublime up until the point of cancellation. The venue simply refused to open up an acceptable dialogue with myself or any of the bands to keep it running. I have attached here just some of the comments that support the above statement in more detail.
To answer further, the reason for this post is that the venue are painting bands in a negative light despite repeated attempts to negotiate with them to keep it running both before and after the incident with the blood as well as the fact none of the bands had anything to do with the blood incident. As I state in this status, the full cost of the hire including the damages was offered to be paid a couple of days later but they could not accept payment due to not having card facilities, however I need to actually make it clear now that it was the REMAINDER of the cost as the venue already received a significant portion. Not to mention the venue were throwing on hidden costs here and there on the evening when I was more concerned with keep the show running to clarify that. Sound right? Does. It. FUCK.
The venue initially threatened legal action to have the show shut down after that was paid but shortly after a mutual agreement (nobody wants taken to court eh?) they were negotiating allowing payment by instalment, which is what I was trying negotiate in the first place!!! This was extremely frustrating because it’s also came to light from numerous folk that they heard people saying that they had walked in for free. If that is indeed the case(which I most certainly believe it to be), I’ve lost out on alot of money to pay for the venue and potentially the bands!! I don’t think that is acceptable, do you? It’s worth noting that I told the venue the remainder of the balance would be cleared as soon as possible, which an attempt was made the other day! I actually brought up that people seemed to be walking in for free with Ole A. Aune on the night as numbers did not seem add up. There wasn’t even a cashier at the desk at several points to check off the list. He went and spoke to security about it, as stated.
Many of the bands have surprisingly come out in support of the organisation when I believe they shouldn’t have to but they are aware of the venue’s attempt to absolve itself from all responsibility of cutting the show early despite my own and the bands repeated attempts to keep it running. They are also aware of my efforts to ensure it ran well despite setbacks. If I had chosen to cancel the few days before on everyone, that includes the bands AND the public, it would have been worse because alot of people spent money travelling. I was not about to do that to them and went ahead with great difficulty. Would people rather I cancelled? Of course the financial aspect of it all is 100% my responsibility and never once have I said it is not nor have I ever stated that I don’t intend to honour that. The bands know that and that should be enough. That will take time but that is something between myself and the bands, not members of the public. This isn’t the first time this has happened but some folks seem to think it is. I am not happy with how it went down, I am not happy with letting the bands down, forget the crowd, those guys mean more to me than anything so my priority is them!! I do not intend to let them down!!
The festival was running behind because I had little people to help out, initially I had quite a lot of folks scheduled to help to ensure things ran smooth, 2 merch folk, 2 stage folk and a driver. I was down 2 people, some folks could not make it not to mention both the one of the merch guys and the driver had family emergencies on either of the nights. Sod’s law! It’s also worth noting that though we were an hour behind on both evenings, attempts were made to make up that time. The running order already stated the last band would finish at 00:30 on both nights and on the first night it finished around 01:00 with the second night initially looking to finish at the same time. I seen some folk mention they had to miss the last two bands to make it home. The running order was already up there to finish after midnight. But still for that you have my apologies, inroads were made to try make up time. Also some folk mentioned I haven’t got my priorities right since my own band performed as well. When your members travel some distance to play the show and go to the effort to support the music, you are not about to let them down either. They didn’t get paid either but they will.
There’s a very large question mark looming over the venue here in my opinion. If indeed people were walking in for free, that is a lot of money to be lost as I’ve stated. It’s worth noting that had there been more security, I might have made more money and I might have not had to deal with some fucking dildo coming backstage to paint 6ft high swastikas in blood. It was ridiculous, like beyond ridiculous. I’ve never seen a swastika(s) that big in my entire life. But I’ve had information regarding that, that there were people backstage who shouldn’t have been and there was several instances where there was just zero security. I questioned several folk why they were there to be met with hostility so go figure. Several members of other bands including myself offered to clean up the blood incident and when some of those folks had managed to clean the majority of the mess(how they did, I have not a fucking clue since the venue shut the water off in the dressing room due to a plumbing issue from earlier) the venue still. Said. NO!
To conclude: I owe money to folk and I’m 110% responsible for that, no questions. But the venue should not be absolving itself of responsibility for shutting the show down and most certainly not fabricating lies that it was several bands and that there’s a four-figure sum for damage (four-figure usually means in the thousands for those who have difficulty). If you still want a refund then you will have to wait, failing that I would contact the venue. I’m sure they made PLENTY on the bar on both nights. The bands, apart from the attitude of a smaller band, were flawless and professional but definitely had no part in the blood incident. Also bar staff, lighting tech and sound engineers did an incredible job. PR, security and venue management are lacking, consider that a mediocre review.
That is my final word on this whole business.
According to the relevant thread on the Nuclear War Now! Productions forum, the bumbling organizer was planning to pay the bands from the festival revenue rather than have the cash on hand to do so previously. When Brexit and a competing show made the festival lose money with only 16 paying door entries, this proved impossible. The venue doing nothing to stop people from walking in for free off the street didn’t help. Bands and fans should never fall for such ponzi scheme organization from known antifascist venues and ponzi scheme promoters. The seemingly inexperienced organizer says he will make amends to the unpayed bands (the right move) but anyone who wants to organize shows and festivals should have the funds to pay everyone secured well before the event is even announced to avoid such problems in the future.