White Supremacist Concert Set at Secret Jacksonville Site

AP, Dec. 6, 2002

JACKSONVILLE — A violent white supremacist group, faced with growing opposition in Daytona Beach, moved its weekend Hammerfest 2002 concert to a secret location in Jacksonville.

Plans by Hammerskin Nation to stage the concert in Daytona Beach were changed after officials there said they would not issue permits and a bar canceled two of the featured bands when it learned about the music’s messages of hate.

The Hammerskins, which uses Confederate flags and Nazi swastikas as its emblems, is an umbrella organization for the skinhead movement. It has sponsored an annual Hammerfest since 1997, according to the AntiDefamation League, which tracks white supremacist groups.

Bands with names like Attack, Definite Hate, White Wash and Intimidation One use lyrics that promote beating and killing nonwhites, especially blacks and Jews.

Civic opposition was also being felt in Jacksonville.

Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said his members would protest at the site if they can learn where it is.

“We don’t condone this type of concert,” Rumlin said.

“We don’t believe in groups that spread hate.”

Tom Prater, an official with the National Association for the Advancement of White People in Jacksonville, said his organization has nothing to do with the Hammerskin group.

“We don’t follow them. We are a civil rights organization,” Prater said.

Sharon Ashton, a spokeswoman for Mayor John Delaney, said Thursday the group would need a permit if it wanted to hold its gathering in a city park, but would need no permission if it held a concert in a business, such as a hotel.

Lt. Randy Parmer, head of a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office intelligence unit trying to track the concert, said the group typically notifies its members to come to a specific parking lot to get information about where the bands are playing.

Hammerskin Nation’s Web site offered no information on the concert Thursday. The group didn’t respond to e-mails seeking information.

Hammerfest 2001 drew about 600 skinheads to a small city west of Atlanta.

Bootleggers Saloon on International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach had scheduled two bands, but the owner later changed his mind.

“I don’t think it would be the right publicity for us,” owner Wendell Stepp told The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Cynthia Slater, president of the Daytona Beach branch of the NAACP, claimed victory with the group’s apparent retreat from Daytona Beach.

“The public doesn’t want this here and they moved on,” she told the Sentinel. “But we won’t rest until they know their message isn’t welcome in Florida, period.”

But Art Teitelbaum, the AntiDefamation League’s Southern director, said the group hasn’t been thwarted.

“They are still coming to Florida and their mission is to convey the message of hate and violence and white supremacy,” he told the Sentinel. “That hasn’t changed. Only the location has changed.”

The Web site promoting Hammerfest 2002 warned concertgoers not to bring their children.

“This is not a child friendly environment,” the Web site warned. “We strongly suggest you do not bring your children.”

The Web site also said “no camping available, no drugs, no weapons, no attitudes, no video cameras.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday December 7, 2002.
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