Words & Deeds

White supremacist skinhead organization plans Boise music festival, says online flyer

This flyer says that Hammerfest is coming to Boise.
This flyer says that Hammerfest is coming to Boise. Courtesy Sound Rennaisance

It wouldn’t be the first time.

A white supremacist group is throwing a party in the Treasure Valley, according to an online flyer.

Where? The flyer doesn’t say. What it does say is that Hammerfest will be held Sept. 30 in Boise and presented by Northwest Hammerskins, a regional chapter of white power group Hammerskin Nation.

This would not be Hammerskin Nation’s first Idaho visit. In 2012, the group celebrated its 25th anniversary in Canyon County. The location was listed as Boise in social media advertising but kept secret. Afterward, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office said it happened near Melba on private property. No problems were reported.

Hammerfest is slated to include six bands, a strong-man competition and food. Admission is $30. It’s an all-ages event.

Dillon Price, who writes for music blog Sound Rennaisance, posted the flyer Wednesday urging readers to shut down the festival. He had discovered the flyer posted in a closed punk rock Facebook group, but it’s not clear where it originated.

“I must point out that many white supremacist websites and pages are disappearing,” Price says. “And these Hammerfest events ... are often coordinated in secrecy (underground web, secret forums).”

One of the bands on the flyer is Beer Hall Putsch, referenced as a Boise-area trio in this 2015 post at the anti-fascist website Rose City Antifa, and in this 2016 post at the Atlanta Antifascists website. (The accuracy of information contained in those posts has not been confirmed by the Idaho Statesman.) The term “Beer Hall Putsch” references a failed coup attempt by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1923.

Last year, Hammerfest was scheduled in Georgia. The flyer for that event listed three of the same bands, including Beer Hall Putsch, Ironwill and Definite Hate, a group profiled in a 2012 GQ article about white-power music. Video of Definite Hate performing at last year’s Hammerfest is available on YouTube.

The Hammerskin Nation website describes the organization as “a leaderless group of men and women who have adopted the White Power Skinhead lifestyle. We are blue collar workers, white collar professionals, college students, entrepreneurs, fathers and mothers.”

The “Northwestern Hammerskin Chapter represents the Northwestern United States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota.”

The Idaho Statesman reached out to Hammerskin Nation through its website but has not received a reply.

Law enforcement agencies across the Treasure Valley told the Statesman they were monitoring any developments around the potential music festival.

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