Reunited Christian hard rockers STRYPER are refusing to return a $56,500 advance to a small Mexican "underground church" after canceling their participation in the Revolution Metal Festival in Mexico, according to the festival organizers and other bands who performed at the event. A posting on a web site (www.stryper-pay-back.tk) created for the sole purpose of rallying public support for the church, reads as follows:
"In early 2004, a few visionary people in a small Underground Church in Mexico City began to plan a huge Christian music event called 'The Revolution Metal Festival.'
"Their vision was that this event would provide a powerful platform for a number of well-established Christian artists to perform, to proclaim The Gospel of Jesus Christ and ultimately, to minister to thousands of people in Mexico City. These visionary people soon found themselves in the unfamiliar position of concert promoters. To solidify and confirm the event, the promoters soon issued generous invitations to U.S. bands STRYPER and SAVIOUR MACHINE, NARNIA from Sweden and MORTIFICATION from Australia.
"By the spring of 2004, all four bands had agreed to terms and conditions with the promoters and preparation for the festival was now underway. In the initial terms, STRYPER asked for 35,000 US$ as their fee for the concert....although the Mexican promoters knew this was a tremendous amount of money to raise, they agreed.
"By the summer of 2004, all plans for the festival were well underway and the venue was now booked. STRYPER then informed the promoter that they would not be able to perform in Mexico City after all. The promoters then contacted STRYPER management and Michael Sweet personally several times in an attempt to keep the festival alive. After a number of phone calls, Michael Sweet promised to pray about the situation over the upcoming weekend and to speak to his pastor. The promoters were asked to call him the following Monday. They did call on Monday but did not reach Michael Sweet by telephone. On Thursday of that week, STRYPER management finally called the promoters and confirmed that STRYPER WOULD come to play the show...on one condition: The promoters would now have to pay STRYPER a total of 100,000 US$!
"With preparations SO far underway, the venue booked and contracts with SAVIOUR MACHINE, NARNIA and MORTIFICATION already signed, these kind yet, inexperienced promoters agreed to STRYPER's incomprehensible demands. A contract with STRYPER was signed in August and preparation for the first Revolution Metal Fest continued.
"Less than 48 hours before the concert on November 20th, STRYPER's management telephoned the promoters to inform them that STRYPER was now canceling the show! Management's justification was: the promoters had not fulfilled 100% of the contract!
"Despite STRYPER's management delivering copies of all passports 3 weeks later than requested, all visas for the band/crew were prepared and provided in sufficient time for their flights to Mexico City. STRYPER's management claimed that visas were provided 2 1/2 hours later than agreed upon and considered this delay a breech of contract!
"At the time of STRYPER's cancellation, they had been paid 56,500 US$ in advance. Management informed the promoters that STRYPER would retain the ENTIRE amount!
"We who have provided you with the information above, do STRONGLY believe that the actions of STRYPER and its management in this matter are immoral and grossly unjust!
"We'd like to ask YOU (the reader) a few simple questions:
1) Is it fair to ask South American promoters for 100,000 US$ as a concert fee? To demand this absurd amount of money from Mexican people whose economic situation is nowhere near ours here in The United States or Western Europe?
2) Can someone, morally and ethically, justify the fact that STRYPER is not willing to pay back EVERY dollar or at least a huge portion of the advance money back?
3) Can STRYPER's/management's behavior in ANY WAY, be justified Biblically?
4) Can YOU do something to help RIGHT this intolerable WRONG?"
For more information, including correspondence sent to STRYPER and their management by the other bands that performed at the festival, visit www.stryper-pay-back.tk.