Belgium
Belgium iStock

European intelligence agencies are sounding the alarm at the upcoming Iron Festival in Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium, an event that is known for attracting neo-Nazis and far-right musicians.

Officials with the agencies warned that Belgian and German neo-Nazis are expected to show up in large numbers at “Frontnacht” taking place on August 27-28. The two-day event, which combines camping with music from acts known for their far-right views, was organized by the Flemish far right nationalist organization IJzerwake, The Brussels Times reported.

"I absolutely do not understand that this festival can take place," University of Mainz musicologist Thorsten Hindrichs told De Standaard. "At worst it is negligent and a form of complicity. Both Flatlander and Neumann (musical acts) have clear links to the terrorist network Hammerskins. That in itself is a reason to ban this festival. Several members of Hammerskins have been convicted for murder or attempted murder."

According to the report, at least two other Flemish musicians performing at the festival have extremist beliefs, including ties to far-right politics.

Critics of the festival slammed the city of Ypres for allowing it to acquire the permits to go ahead.

"We notice here in Germany that young neo-Nazis in Telegram channels are planning to go to Frontnacht," said Hindrichs. "Another danger of such festivals is that they normalize neo-Nazi thinking. One of the goals of such events is to recruit people."

IJzerwake chair Win De Wim alleged that the “far left and the lying press” were behind an attempt to convince the government to ban the festival and to “abolish free speech for right-wing people,” according to the report.

Ypres city council was set on Tuesday to debate whether to allow the event to be held again.