metal in the mountains 2018
Motograter performs at Metal In The Mountains 2018. [Photo via Dan-Man/YouTube]

Metal In The Mountains will kick of its third year in West Virginia this summer. However, some local residents aren’t too happy with the crowd they believe it draws.

Last week, festival organizers received an anonymous letter from self-proclaimed “bible thumpers,” asserting they “won’t stop [until] Satan-loving businesses are closed or destroyed.”

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The festival is held at Pipestem Event Center in Pipestem, WV and is hosted by Anthony and Anna Ferraraccio, according to Metal Sucks. Anthony went live on Facebook to read the letter and explain his side of their allegations and threats.

“It’s just crazy because of where I live at how people perceive metal music or hard rock,” Anthony begins in the video. “They think it’s Satan music, which is crazy. Receiving this letter today after being in business for 12 years in the same location—not being from this area, we try to bring things to this area that you just can’t get here. When you bring something to a small area, there are going to be people [who] push back. They are going to be people [who] don’t want to see it. They like their way of living. They like to stay as a small town.”

This effects everyone that listens to Hard Rock and Metal music.So please watch this video.

Posted by Metal In The Mountains on Thursday, January 31, 2019

In the letter, the anonymous group mention local bars that have shut down and one of which burned down. In turn, implying a similar fate for the Pipestem metal festival and its location. Anthony expresses that he’s “being threatened of [his] house being burned now because we do Metal In The Mountains.”

In addition to being the festival site, the center serves as a spa and venue for weddings and more. Despite this, the anonymous group allege they know other ways to take down the location that doesn’t involve law enforcement. This is a reference to their unsuccessful noise complaints, according to Anthony.

The group also taunt organizers by asking how Facebook advertising is going with Anthony explaining that implies they’re reporting posts. Anthony reads their “signature,” which states, “Sincerely, Fucking Bible Thumpers as you like to call us.” The organizer explains that’s not language he uses, and it’s a self-imposed title.

Check out the full transcript below:

“Just letting you know the bible thumpers are sick of your rude, obscene performances at your so-called event center, so take a hint. Just ask Rock Ridge, River Rock, Andrew Reynolds, High Country Maximus Minaj [and] Wild Riders. We hear you and Rock Ridge also Wild Riders are working together. Rock Ridge already lost one home and stage destroyed, guess they want to loose [sic] another and looks like your [sic] not going to stop till you do to [sic]. By the way, how’s Dan’s advertising going? We won’t stop till [sic] all you Satan-loving businesses are closed or destroyed. May God’s word prevail. We have contacted law enforcement many times about your location and many others and fully intend to keep calling but those efforts fail but know ways that don’t. Sincerely, Fucking Bible Thumpers as you like to call us”

metal in the mountains letter
[Photo via Metal Sucks]
Other problems for Metal In The Mountains

In the past, state police asserted the festival’s profane language is illegal in West Virginia, according to Metal Sucks. Anthony and Anna’s local ACLU chapter in Charleston, West Virginia stepped in last year. Executive Director Joseph Cohen sent a letter to Summers County Commissioners stating that isn’t true in April 2018.

“I have been contacted by Anna Ferraraccio, CEO of Pipestem Spa, Event Center and Mountain Chalets. Ms. Ferraraccio has relayed concerns regarding the use of profanity by artists during certain musical festivals she hosts in Summers County. According to Ms. Ferraraccio, the WV State Police and other government agents have informed her that the use of profanity in public is illegal in West Virginia. However, there is currently no law banning the use of profanity in West Virginia. Moreover, any blanket prohibition of profanity would almost certainly violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article III, Section 7 of the West Virginia Constitution.

Based on the threat of a $1.00 fine per offense, the government agents seem to be citing an old West Virginia statute that was formerly found in §61-8-15 of the West Virginia Code. However, in 2010, the legislature passed and the Governor signed Senate Bill 457, which repealed the outdated criminalization of profanity that had been found in §61-8-15. There is no prohibition against the use of profanity in West Virginia.

Forty-seven years ago, in the seminal case Cohen v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized an individual’s First Amendment right to wear a jacket that read “Fuck the Draft” in a courthouse. Justice Harlan wrote “one man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” That quote seems particularly relevant in the case of the music festivals that Ms. Ferraraccio hosts, where claimed vulgarity is sometimes quite literally lyric.”

Metal In The Mountains will be held May 31-June 1 at Pipestem Event Center in Pipestem, West Virginia. More information is available here. You can check out a video of Motograter performing at last year’s event below.

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