We will be fair and say the NYC Oi! Fest wasn’t on the Commissioner’s radar, but if he wants to go after a musical gathering because it celebrates thuggery and violence, let’s see him talk about a gathering of Nazis and fencesitters, and we might actually believe he means it!
In the wake of the shooting at Irving Plaza at a concert by hip hop artist T.I. that left one dead, New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton attacked not just the perpetrators, but the entire hip hop community calling rappers “basically thugs, that basically celebrate violence they did all their lives.” It was a broadside that angered many hip hop fans and continued a long-standing riff between them, the Black community and police. Ironically, his remarks came just days before a Memorial Day Weekend concert that will feature some bands and musicians, regardless of ethnicity, that have been a part of neo-Nazi circles either directly or by association with others who have, some particularly violent.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has published an article Friday alerting its readers to this weekend’s second outing of the NYC Oi! Fest, which they note will bring out people and bands associated with neo-Nazi scenes both in the US and abroad under the “Rock Against Communism” banner, the music campaign started in the 1970s by the UK neo-Nazi organization National Front. “As happened after last year’s NYC Oi! Fest, media will likely emerge of attendees clad in an array of extremist paraphernalia – though, most of which will be obscure and codified,” the article notes. And invariably, many of its attendees – though not all, as committed neo-nazis are welcome at these shows – would defend themselves against accusations of bigotry.”
This is the second year that promoter Dennis “Fedup” Davila, the lead singer of the hardcore band Fed Up and owner of United Riot Records who sponsors the Oi! Fest has promoted this event. Despite being of Cuban descent, he is particularly close to neo-Nazis and allows them free range at his shows. The neo-Nazi band Brassic played at last year’s outing and the National Anarchist Tribal Alliance (NATA), a neo-Fascist organization based in New York connected to the so-called “alternative right” circles, maintained a literature table there as well.
Davila has promoted other shows in the past, and has seen some shows shut down after the nature of those shows were discovered by venue owners. To avoid this and the possibility of protesters, Davila has taken the usual approach that neo-Nazi show promoters take, making the location of Oi! Fest secret. One venue that was contacted said that they were approached, but the contract was never signed and they were not supposed to play there. At the time of this posting the show location has not been revealed.
Bratton has not yet commented on the SPLC article or the show itself.