The small, sleepy town of Lexington, TN is in the middle of a revival. It seems they are finally catching up with the times, but not 2022. More like 1985. “Satanic Panic” is alive and well in this West Tennessee town, and pastors and their flocks are up in arms, ready for battle. Why? HEAVY METAL MUSIC.
Raven Moonla and Zachary Moonshine, both former residents of Lexington, TN, decided that the town was the perfect place to bring their Tennessee Metal Devastation Music Festival. Raven and Zach are owners of Metal Devastation Radio, an online international radio station that has been in operation since 2013. They also own Metal Devastation Promotions (known as MD/PR) which offers worldwide music promotion to underground bands and artists. Putting on a heavy metal music festival has always been a dream of theirs, and the outdoor lake setting of Beech Lake in Lexington looked like the ideal setting to make it happen.
Heavy Metal has always been the target of religious zealots who believe it is the work of the devil and a tool for Satan to corrupt their children and communities. While it is true that the world has progressed in many ways, small towns in the southern region of the US, known as the Bible Belt, are still preaching hellfire and torture and will do anything and everything to try and stop others from living what they view as a “sinful” life. With numbers of churchgoers on the decline, the loss of control over the masses seems to be triggering an over-the-top reaction from the uber religious who seem to think it is their job to “parent” everyone.
While the Tennessee Metal Devastation Music Festival has been advertising the event for over two months now, it took one Lexington, TN pastor to spark the “Satanic Panic” within the town last week. Then, another pastor joined in. They both attempted to create fear and anger about the lyrics to a song by one of the festival bands, Casket Robbery. The song, entitled, “Annibelle’s Hell”, has lyrics that talk about a little girl who is under the control of an evil spirit which tells her to kill. The song is based on a fictional character, just like a character from a horror movie. The town folk were horrified by these lyrics, stating that anything that “teaches children to murder” is evil and should not be allowed into their community.
The irony of that is that entertainment – including movies, television shows, and books – including the Bible they cling so tightly to – is full of characters that commit atrocities. These religious folks raise their children immersed in the teachings of the Bible, a book that is filled with violence, jealousy, wrath, baby-killing, threats of hell and damnation, and much more. They are worried about fictional song lyrics brainwashing their children, but don’t see anything wrong with indoctrinating their children into fear of hell, all while telling them that God loves them. They say they come from a place of “love” while bullying and attempting to control everyone else around them. Meanwhile, the heavy metal community who they demonize just wants to show up to a metal festival, eat good food, hang out with one another, and enjoy heavy music.
Raven and Zach say that they will not back down. They have gone through proper channels to book their event, and when they booked the Beech Lake venue, they were very clear that this would be an extreme metal event. The person with the BRWDA who handled working out details and the contract was not judgmental or opposed to the idea and agreed to allow the event to be booked. Zach and Raven would like to thank the BRWDA for not discriminating against them and their festival, even though the representative seemed to know that this outrage among the town folk might happen. Zach and Raven would also like to apologize to all of the staff members at BRWDA for all of the harassing phone calls, emails, and pressure they have been getting since all of this started a few days ago.
“We love the town of Lexington”, Raven stated. “My husband and I both lived there as teenagers, and we actually met each other at Beech Lake in the late 90’s. My father was Cowboy Louie, a local magician who was beloved by many people. He is buried there, as are my grandparents and other family members. My husband’s grandparents worked and lived there for decades and are buried there, too. We are not putting on this festival to cause any harm. We are doing it to not only bring back the heavy metal scene to this part of Tennessee, but also to help the local community.” The couple state that they attempted to book their show at many other local venues, but owners of the venues either did not respond or were not interested. “It became very clear to us why this area has no real heavy metal scene anymore. We used to have a scene here, but people got tired of the constant uphill battle to find places to play due to the type of music. There are so many false and negative stereotypes about people who listen to heavy metal music. It’s really sad. We are so grateful to Beech Lake for trusting us and giving us a chance. We won’t let them down. We are going to prove that metal heads are good people, not destructive Satan-worshipping drug addicts, like so many in this town think”, Raven said.
Not only will the festival feature many local craft and food vendors, but a portion of ticket sales will be going toward a Henderson County organization that assists children in need. “We are still working on the details with the organization, so we cannot publicly announce who it is yet, but it is an amazing organization that does so much good for the children in the community. While we are being accused of trying to damage children with ‘devil music’, the truth is that we are using this event as a way to give back and help.” There will also be a table set up at the festival that will be accepting item donations for a charity that collects Christmas gifts for the children of veterans. The first charity that Zach and Raven reached out to in Jackson, TN, was excited to be a part of this until they realized this was a heavy metal festival. As soon as they figured it out, they stated they could not be involved. “I guess they don’t think money from metal heads is good enough. I guess they are not as in need as they say they are. But that’s okay. The charity we have chosen is not opposed to us raising money for them, and we are so excited to work with them.”
All of the backlash has actually had a positive impact for the metal festival. The views on social media have skyrocketed and ticket sales have gone up. More and more vendors are signing up to be there, and people from all over have joined in, showing their support for the event and for Raven and Zach. “We are blown away by all of the support and attention. It has always been our main goal to bring new listeners and fans to the music and the bands, so this is a win for us”, Raven said. The couple hope to make this an annual October event at Beech Lake, with a new and exciting lineup each year. “If all goes well, we will for sure do this again, hopefully annually during Halloween season. It’s our favorite time of year, and Tennessee weather in October is usually so beautiful. Spooky season is the perfect time for a heavy metal show outdoors, with a beautiful lake in the background. We cannot wait to meet everyone, and to enjoy friendships and fun with people who share a love for this music.”
The festival will take place on Saturday, October 8th, at Beech Lake in Lexington, TN. The doors open at 10am, music starts at 11am, and the festival will go until 11:30pm. There are 13 bands who will be performing from all over the south, south-east, and mid-west. Headlining the show is Summoner’s Circle out of Knoxville, TN. Other amazing bands who will be performing include Casket Robbery, Hierarchy, Deocculted, Spillage, Eyes of the Living, TS Dyerwulf, Gravehuffer, Devil Be My Judge, Sleuthfoot, Grave Next Door, The Red Mountain , and Forever Broken . The show is all ages, rain or shine, and concert goers are encouraged to bring their own chairs and coolers and to dress up in spooky attire.
So far, the vendors who have been announced are Buck’s Craft BBQ , Cookies by Chron, The Sweet Spot (vegan), SmithOddities, Succubusy Art, White Rabbit Relics, Morgue Rot Magazine (also a sponsor), Black Doomba Records (also a sponsor), Metal-O-Mania (also a sponsor), and all of the bands will be set up, selling their merchandise. There are many more vendors who have not yet been announced, but there will be a lot for festival goers to enjoy. Sponsors for this event so far are Black Doomba Records, Morgue Rot Magazine, Enchanted Inks’ Tattoo and Piercing Studio, Lisa Adkins Photography, Midwest Metal Promotions, Metal-O-Mania, Metal Devastation PR , and Metal Devastation Radio .
If you are interested in attending the festival, you can purchase your tickets ($25) before the event, or you can purchase at the gate the day of the festival ($35).
Find the Tennessee Metal Devastation Music Fest on Facebook to stay up to date on vendors, sponsors, and other announcements. https://www.facebook.com/MetalDevastationMusicFest
See all screenshots and more here at this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.146382304730959&type=3
Also check out the thread on Reddit!