Musicfest4vets axed over extremist group ties
The fundraising music and mud racing festival, “Musicfest4vets”, set to take place from July 19-21 at the Bristol Motor Park, underwent a drastic revamp after “Yellow Vests Canada Exposed” (YVCE), an affiliate of Anti-Racist Canada, made a post on Twitter on June 28 detailing one of the promoter’s former ties to ultranationalist groups.
YVCE also revealed that the Canadian Combat Coalition, what they call “a far-right patriot hate group”, would be holding a rally on Parliament Hill on July 20 and that members were planning to attend and camp at the Bristol event. There were reports that the time of the rally was changed in order to accommodate the music festival.
About twelve hours after YVCE created their post, Bif Naked, the Bristol event’s headliner, issued a statement saying she would not be appearing or performing and she encouraged her fans to donate to programs that assist Canadian military families. One by one, other artists began to drop out until only six of the planned 21 remained by July 1.
The owner of the Motor Park, Lee Marrazzo, met Aylmer resident Eric Brazeau several years ago while volunteering to feed the homeless in Ottawa. Brazeau is a founder of Musicfest4Vets, an organization claiming to host music festivals in order to raise funds for “various non-funded veterans groups”. However, he is also a former member of the ultra-nationalist groups Soldiers of Odin and Northern Guard where he served briefly as vice-president. The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has flagged Northern Guard as having ties to neo-Nazism.
Marrazzo said he only partnered with Brazeau for his contacts with bands, after Brazeau stopped in at his Quyon restaurant and they talked about events they were organizing, thinking it would be a “cool idea” to join forces to offer a combination of mud racing and music in Bristol.
Hearing negative feedback about Brazeau and Musicfest4vets only after the event planning was well underway, Marrazzo said, “I’m really busy, so I didn’t go into major detective mode, but when I heard that Bif Naked had pulled out, I knew something was up,” he said.
Marrazzo then decided to cut Brazeau and Musicfest4vets loose. “That sort of stuff makes me sick and I don’t want to be around or connected to it,” he told the Bulletin, noting his event will move forward, but on a much smaller scale, with a focus on mud racing and tractor pulls with potentially a few local bands added to the mix. Although it’s not dubbed as a fundraiser, any proceeds will be directed to local causes.
In a live Facebook video posted on June 30, Brazeau and Duke Willis, a Northern Guard member, spoke about the stream of events that occurred with the festival. Brazeau blamed Anti-Racist Canada and YVCE for its cancellation after they tweeted all of the event’s sponsors and bands. He confirmed rumours that proceeds from a previous Musicfest4vets event weren’t given to the advertised organization, not because of malicious intent, but because the festival had run a deficit.
Approached with concerns about the event, during its June 3 council meeting, the Municipality of Bristol resolved to allow it to take place as long as requirements set out by the municipal inspector were met, with two councillors, Phil Holmes and Greg Graham, voting against it.
As of press time, Brazeau and the Municipality of Bristol did not respond to the paper’s inquiries.