Neo-Nazi Oi Fest Returns to Tonopah, Arizona
Been jonesing for some slam-dancing, rampant sieg heil-ing, and sweaty camaraderie with fellow racist, white-pride skinheads?
Well, look no further than deepest, darkest Tonopah, where in past years local white nationalists have held Arizona Oi Fest, an ofay-supremacist celebration of punk's lumpen musical cousin, which is known by the Cockney exclamation "Oi!" and comes in two distinct flavors: anti-fascist and fascist.
Indeed, historians of the subgenre will tell you that non-racist Oi pre-dates the neo-Nazi variety. But it's the latter that's on tap at Tonopah's Oi Fest, which in past years has featured the repetitive, ear-splitting chords of bands like Max Resist, White Knuckle Driver, Slaghammer, and Stormtroop 16.
Held on the property of Oi enthusiast Troy Stephen Smith-Petersen, previous incarnations of this low-rent, DIY Nuremberg rally have included Jell-O shots, swastikas aplenty, and a trashed van that attendees got to smash with a sledgehammer. (It was either that or horseshoes, apparently.)
New Times has alerted readers to Oi Fest before but hasn't heard a thing about the xenophobic fete at least since 2013. So when Smith-Petersen recently began promoting the prejudice party on Facebook, with videos of bands that have played the event and an Oi Fest patch for sale to raise money for the venture, New Times decided to give Smith-Petersen a call and see what was up.
Initially, the amateur concert promoter claimed he didn't want to chat, pointing to past write-ups of his bigot bash that were, admittedly, a tad cheeky.
Smith-Petersen's selling this patch to raise money for a 2016 Arizona Oi Fest.
From Troy Stephen Smith-Petersen's FB page
"You talk too much smack about us," he laughed. "I don't want to comment."
But Smith-Petersen warmed up when New Times gave him props for the patch design, which he said was done by a pal.
"I've had Fox 10 call me too," he admitted. "They tried to put me in the same category as [kid-killing neo-Nazi] J.T. Ready, and I wasn't really cool with that."
That's understandable, given that in 2012, Ready mowed down a family of four in Gilbert, including a baby girl, before following the lead of his hero Adolf Hitler and eating a bullet.
Granted, Ready attended past Oi Fests, according to my sources, but so have a lot of folks who share the same philosophy and have not done anything nearly as nefarious, one of these being Pinal County neo-Nazi Harry Hughes, a proud member of the National Socialist Movement, who has written accounts of past AZ Oi Fests on his blog "Just another day..."
"There's no trouble, and I work really hard to keep it that way," claimed Smith-Petersen. "I let the [Maricopa County] sheriff's department know everything I'm doing. [The deputies] come out and greet us. I'm not trying to cause trouble."
Racist graffiti from AZ Oi Fest...
From Troy Stephen Smith-Petersen's FB page
Hell, given Sheriff Joe Arpaio's record of racial profiling Latinos, maybe Smith-Petersen should invite Arpaio out to speak at the shindig. It would not be the first time Arpaio addressed an event where there were extremists and neo-Nazis present.
Smith-Petersen confirmed a Facebook message, where he informed the curious that there would be a "fundraiser show March 19th," and "Oi Fest later in the year," like, September, October, or November.
As far as the lineup goes, Smith-Petersen said that he was going for something "different" this year, but didn't say what exactly.
There are a few videos online of Oi Fest from past years, showing bands performing before Nazi banners in a large, garage-like structure. Skinheads dressed in traditional "boots and braces" can be seen dancing rambunctiously with each other, an occasional skinhead chick (sometimes referred to as a "skinbyrd") joining in.
An AZ Oi Fest stencil, modeled on the Nazi SS death's head.
From AZ Oi Fest's FB page
The Nazi salute is common at the whites-only wingding, as are lyrics like those from white-power "hatecore" band Max Resist in the anthem, "88 Rock n Roll Band" ("88" being shorthand for "Heil Hitler!").
"Our dream is a white revolution," goes one line from the song. "White revolution is the only solution."
Another line brags, "They call me a Nazi, and I am proud / They call me racist and I shout it out loud."
Past AZ Oi Fests have been sponsored by the "pro-white" Sons of Aesir motorcycle club and the formerly Tonopah-based White Knights of America. Cost to get in, heretofore, has been $20 in advance, $30 at the door, and the serious risk that someone will crank up an Oi version of the old Nazi tune, the Horst-Wessel-Lied.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.