TOBIAS SAMMET Comments On AVANTASIA Replacing MANOWAR At Barcelona Rock Fest 2022 - "We Did Not Book Anything Behind Anyone's Back"

June 30, 2022, a month ago

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TOBIAS SAMMET Comments On AVANTASIA Replacing MANOWAR At Barcelona Rock Fest 2022 - "We Did Not Book Anything Behind Anyone's Back"

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Avantasia had been added to the Barcelona Rock First 2022 roster, replacing Manowar as the June 30th headliner. The change was made to due to an ongoing dispute between Manowar and festival organizers, who could not come to a contractual agreement.

Avantasia mastermind Tobias Sammet has issued the following statement regarding the situation:

"We are really looking forward to play another show in Spain, for our fans, for the promoter, for us and for you. One thing I have to set straight, though, with all due respect: Manowar said the deal was arranged behind their backs and I believe this is misleading and puts us in an awkward place.

I have no clue about whatever differences between Manowar and promoters occured, but we are not the type of band to sneak in and take something from someone. When we were approached only a few days ago, first thing we did was try to get an overview of the situation and the differences were no secret, made public by Manowar and BRF. On Manowar’s page it sounded like: 'The festival has problems we hope will not have to come to light.' My feeling was: Hardened fronts, it reads like putting up pressure, and thinking of similar situations of the past I had a feeling: Ouch! Band overboard...

And I thought if we don’t do it, Sabaton will, or Nightwish will have to play 4 hours… 

I wish everybody the best. But our job was to make sure, we set up a show within a few days, and I am aware how unfortunate it may be for Manowar’s fans. But we did not book anything behind anyone’s back. The hassle was in the press, word was out, and with some experience how things had been dealt with in the past you could tell: There’s an open slot, a case of emergency. 

It wasn’t staged or planned, we said: How much time do we have to decide? 12 hours? Okay! We looked for a bass player replacement who can learn a 2 hours set within 3 days, crew people, truck drivers, flights, tour manager, Eric (Martin / vocals) postponed a solo show, because we’re starving to play. It’s not easy to set it up, but it all happened within less than a day. We might be crazy to accept the challenge, but these times are crazy.

No offense to anyone; we love Spain and wish everyone, including Barcelona Rock Fest, Manowar and their fans nothing but the absolute best."

Organizers of the Barcelona Rock Fest 2022, which runs from June 30th to July 2nd in Barcelona, Spain, recently issued the following update regarding Manowar's scheduled appearance:

"As of today, June 21, the situation is complex. For months now, we've been wanting to sign a contract that clearly and accurately reflects the agreements reached without last-minute demands. The signing of a contract with clear, understandable and without errors terms that assure us their performance, is being a really complicated work and ten days from the festival we continue to try in all possible ways. We're working on it every day for a while.

With that, we are not saying that they won't act but that right now, we don't know, however strange it may seem.

We are very sorry about this situation for all of you who support Barcelona Rock Fest and specially for Manowar fans."

Manowar issued a statement shortly thereafter, which read in part: "The festival promoter and Manowar reached an agreement in June 2020 regarding Manowar's performance at Barcelona Rock Fest; otherwise we would not have authorized and supported the festival’s announcement of our participation and their promotional efforts. The promoters of this festival are now trying to unilaterally modify the terms.

We are ready to fulfill our obligations under the deal and have made substantial efforts preparing for this show. The only party that is refusing to comply with their side of the deal are the promoters of Barcelona Rock Fest by demanding to change significant terms at the last minute."

On June 26th, it was confirmed that Avantasia had been added to the June 30th line-up for the festival. The band  issued the following update:

"We just found out at the same time as you that the BRF Promoter is not counting on us for the performance on June 30th. We must tell you that whatever he is posting about Manowar is completely false and we will take appropriate legal action against him.

The promoter agreed with us in September 2021 some conditions for the performance and now refuses to comply with them. We are aware that he had already signed a performance with Avantasia, when we were still trying to sort the issue out with him. He's done it all behind our backs.

We reiterate that, unfortunately in the organization of the Festival there have been many irregularities that sooner or later will have to come to light. We didn't demand any last-minute conditions. What we demand as logically is what was agreed and that now the promoter refuses to comply provoking for reasons solely attributable to him that we do not perform at the Festival.

The sole responsible for this whole situation is the Promoter. We tried until the last moment, to keep the contract we had. In fact, we thought we still had time to fix all this when we got surprised by the announcement of the new group. The only thing the Promoter is after is enriching himself at the expense of us by acting ruthlessly and without considering the preferences of you, the fans.

We deeply regret this situation as we had a great desire to reunite with our fans at the Barcelona Rock Festival 2022.

Don't doubt that the truth will come out, with the help of Spanish justice if necessary."

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