A summer long series of 26 heavy metal concerts called the Mayhem Festival kicks off this weekend at the San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore, California. The concerts are sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink which has sponsored Mayhem Fest since 2008. One of the acts this Saturday will be Attika 7 which features a guitarist named Rusty Coones – a guy who also builds bikes, dabbles in television and may be best known as the former president of the Orange County charter of the Hells Angels.
So it made sense when the Riverside, California charter of Coones’ club decided to sponsor a ride to the concert. For fifty bucks metal fans could check in at Pomona Valley Harley-Davidson in Montclair, California, get a tee-shirt and lunch, ride in a pack to the event and enjoy priority parking. The Riverside Angels also promised to donate some of the money to a veterans’ charity called “Metal of Honor.”
Two weeks ago a member of the charter said, “We are having an event that’s just a day filled with great heavy metal music, and a short ride. It kind of puts us back in the mainstream concert scene, like back in the day with Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Altamont and concerts like that.”
Apparently, Altamont is exactly what the police were thinking and, also apparently, the Angels will never ever be allowed to live down what most people think one of their prospects did there – which was stab a very large guy who was waving a loaded gun at Mick Jagger.
Late last week various police agencies including the Montclair Police Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department and the California Highway Patrol notified the Harley dealer, the venue and the concert promoters that police would be sending them a bill if the Angels and their guests peacefully assembled, travelled the public roads in a pack and parked their motorcycles near the music. An informed source has said the concert promoters alone were told they would be billed “more than $100,000.”
The money was to pay the exorbitant salaries of police while they attended the concert for free, wrote down everybody’s license plate numbers and photographed concert goers sitting near known Angels so their faces could be entered into the big mother-of-all data bases and cross checked using facial recognition software against the photos stored in the Department of Motor Vehicles database. Obviously, a fully automated police state does not come cheap.
Last Friday the Riverside Angels finally threw in the towel. The charter issued a brief statement that read: “Due to law enforcement’s continued harassment of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club and bullying tactics to local businesses participating in the event, the Ride to Mayhem event this year (June 29th) has been cancelled. All ticket sales will be refunded.”
Over the weekend a member of the charter said, “We are trying to resolve the situation. It was a basic shakedown.” As of late Monday afternoon the ride was still off.
The concert is still on. Lawn tickets are $35.50 each plus handling. Admission to the orchestra sections or the mosh pit cost $75. No free lunch and no souvenir tee-shirt.