Down will not be playing this year's Hellfest, or any European festivals this summer. The band announced it is pulling out of all dates because Anselmo needs to get a bad knee checked out.
Down playing Hellfest caused a big stir recently. After video surfaced of Anselmo shouting "white power" and making a Nazi gesture, the French government tried to force the hand of the Hellfest promoters and get them to drop Anslemo's band or threatened to pull their grant funding. The Hellfest promoters scoffed at the idea, saying Anselmo apologized and that the government's funds are not essential to the festival and they were using this incident as a way to tarnish the good name of the festival, which the government has been trying to shut down for years. Well, it doesn't matter because Anselmo ain't coming to Europe.
Anselmo revealed in a new letter, that he is dealing with knee injuries and doing intense rehab, and rest and doctors advised him not to travel. Here is the letter in full:
"Dearest Ben, Philip H. Anselmo here, brother… First, and foremost, there is NO WAY I can possibly thank you enough for 'fighting the good fight' for me, and ALL of my bands, namely DOWN in this instance. Your love and backbone will never be forgotten, and from this point on through the rest of my fighting life, I owe you every ounce of praise!
"My AWFUL mistake has taken a toll on my reputation, and justly so! However I must point out, you damned well KNOW ME better than this drunken incident could ever describe.
"Hellfest is my heart!!!
"And my embarrassment is tremendous, because I only have LOVE for people all over this skirmishing earth.
"So, my brother, it fucking rips my heart into further pieces to let you know, I don't think I should do ANY Euro festivals this year.
"So PLEASE, I BEG YOU, give me this time to get my brain clear, and to come back (if you will have me back) next year my brother, I implore you! Plus, the re-emergence of the knee injuries have been plaguing me of late as well, so I must address this too, through physical rehabilitation and rest.
"Knowing my character, when I put my mind to something THIS DIRE, I come back 100 times better, and THAT'S what the mighty Hellfest deserves!!!
"My love for you and the rest of the gang that makes Hellfest THE TOPS goes on and on and on…
"Much love & respect – Philip H. Anselmo (and the H. stands for HEALING)"
Hellfest organizers announced Puscifer as the band's replacement.