White Thing Reprise
Jay Allen Sanford 6.12.07
While visiting family in rural northern Georgia, I learned that Hammerfest, aka "The Racist Woodstock," would take place nearby. The event would include sometime-Fallbrook resident Tom Metzger performing karaoke between sets by Whitelaw, Kremator, and Definite Hate. Metzger, onetime Grand Dragon of the California Ku Klux Klan, was one of the first people to recognize the recruiting potential of white-power music. He has released tape and CD compilations to raise money for his causes.
Hammerfest organizers kept the locale secret until Thursday, only telling attendees (via the stormfront website) to book rooms near Douglasville and Lithia Springs. A number of tattooed skinheads and biker types arrived and filled area hotels. When directions were posted online, they indicated that the show would take place Saturday and Sunday at the Georgia Peach Restaurant and Museum, which is run by a convicted sex offender. The museum's relics include black lawn jockeys eating watermelon, "Whites Only" signs, and photos of lynchings.
I hid my long hair under a beanie and drove to the concert site (at which the NAACP later protested). Police were milling around, and I could see people gathered in a field alongside a ramshackle barn building near the restaurant. A security checkpoint had been set up by "Hammerskin Nation Security Personnel," who wore red shirts and black armbands. I could hear a band playing (badly) and saw several dozen people walking in and out of the fenced-in area. I don't think more than 400 people could have been in attendance, it was a small area, though I was unwilling to pay $35 to enter and see. I asked a guard when Metzger's karaoke session was scheduled.
"He's your hero, too, huh?" said the guard. I nodded slightly, attempting neither affirmative nor negative conviction. The guard assumed the former, possibly sparing my skull from being summarily split. "He's going on [stage] tomorrow, but he's here today; I heard he's walking around, talking to people and checking out the bands."
I returned late Sunday night to catch Metzger's act, but another band was abusing their equipment and nobody knew when he'd go on. Someone outside the "Museum" tried to sell me a T-shirt (white, 'natch) emblazoned with a logo reading "We Burned Atlanta & All I Got Was This Lousy Shirt." The guy (a dead ringer for Kletus on the Simpsons) said it was worth "$20 new" but "you can have it for $10." Even before I declined, I noticed the "new" shirt included what looked like armpit stains.