Hellfest On Wheels
A yellow school bus used to promote the recently canceled Hellfest at Trenton, N.J.’s
The driver of the bus was alleged to be a representative (some say organizer) of the metal and hardcore festival, which was scheduled to take place at the venue August 19-21.
Sovereign Bank Arena GM Eric Cuthbertson said Shawn Van Der Poel, Hellfest’s marketing and promotions director, was the one behind the wheel.
“The police did confirm that later on that day,” Cuthbertson told Pollstar. “It was confirmed that he was written up for several traffic violations.”
But Van Der Poel’s memory isn’t as clear.
“I can’t say if it was or wasn’t me; I was on the bus,” Van Der Poel told Pollstar. “There were about 15 people on the bus, but I don’t remember who was driving it.”
Cuthbertson, who saw a security video tape of the incident, said no damage was done to the arena, only a few knocked-over cones.
The wild bus ride came after arena management suddenly pulled the plug on Hellfest two days before it was set to begin, claiming the event didn’t have the proper insurance.
Cuthbertson said Hellfest organizers were not able to meet the contractual terms of the lease agreement. Van Der Poel claims it was canceled because “the city of Trenton didn’t want it to happen.”
Meanwhile, a witness of the bus incident, who happens to be a Trentonian reporter who was covering the Hellfest story, couldn’t confirm whether Van Der Poel was driving.
“I didn’t see him driving the bus,” Scott Frost told Pollstar. “But I did arrive to the arena and saw the cops flying down the road after them.”
While investigating a story he was writing, Frost later learned that authorities were targeting Van Der Poel as the driver.
“Who knows what was going through the mind of the guy driving the bus,” Van Der Poel explained. “The next thing I knew, we were in the parking lot.”
Cuthbertson’s response to the incident? “I think the actions sort of speak for themselves,” he said.
— Mitchell Peters