On the far from serene banks of the Motława River, in the proud and resolute city of Gdansk, the stage is being set for the grand Mystic Festival. Today, on June 7th, the city will echo with the cacophonous glory of metal music. Yet, not all share this anticipated joy. Lurking in the shadow of this festival are the indignant whispers of protest, originating primarily from catholic factions – much scandalized by the notion that Nergal, the frontman of Behemoth, is scheduled to perform on Corpus Christi, a day of sacred observance. The Inter-factory Organization of the Independent Self-governing Trade Union “Solidarity” at the Gdansk Shipyard also express their outrage over what they rather sensationally describe as “satanic performances“.
While millions of Polish Catholics will be adoring the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during Eucharistic processions, the Gdansk Shipyard plans to blaspheme God, praising Lucifer’s rebellion, sadism, suicide, and sexual deviations – so declare the rather agitated activists of “Catholic Poland, not secular”.
They have issued a brochure, humorously titled “Satan has no rights!“, primarily protesting against Nergal and Behemoth who are to take the stage at the Mystic Festival on June 8th. They demand that the owners of the Gdansk Shipyard withdraw from the event, which is to last until June 10th and will feature over 80 artists across five stages. “We expect immediate intervention to prevent this blasphemous festival,” they write, perhaps visualizing themselves as the city’s last line of defense against the impending metal apocalypse.
An online petition has also been launched, which the similarly outraged can sign, although the chances of the festival’s cancellation appear rather slim according to the organizers. The petition reads:
“From June 7-10, the blasphemous Mystic Festival is to be held on the premises of the Gdansk Shipyard. Most outrageously, on Corpus Christi (June 8th), the satanic Behemoth is to play, glorifying disgusting and sacrilegious Ghost and the band Hostia mocking the consecration. While millions of Polish Catholics will be adoring the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament during Eucharistic processions, they plan to blaspheme God, praise Lucifer’s rebellion, sadism, suicide, and sexual deviations at the Gdansk Shipyard.”
However, the only significant change to the Mystic Festival program is, amusingly, not linked to these protests at all. Godflesh announced their inability to perform, citing delays in passport return from the U.S. embassy in the UK. Instead, Deströyer 666 from Australia will be gracing the stage. And Nergal, with a touch of rebellion and flair, announced on Instagram that Behemoth is already in Poland and heading to Gdansk…
Despite the opposition, the Mystic Festival promises to be an occasion of relentless energy, a celebration of artistic expression, and a testament to the enduring power of metal.
The passionate discord and the clash of values only seem to add to the mystique of the festival. And while the ‘metal-heads’ prepare for their beloved ritual, the disgruntled resistance continues their pleas for divine intervention, thus ensuring a saga that’s as captivating off-stage as the performances on it. The Mystic Festival, it seems, has already begun.