The 70,000-Ton Metal Fan Stereotype Busted recently posted an article by “Fantomas”.  Here’s the article as follows:

Do you like heavy metal, perhaps even extreme metal? It’s not for everyone, I admit, but I adore it. That’s why I was easily seduced into a very peculiar adventure last month: 70,000 Tons of Metal, the world’s first floating heavy metal festival.

Instead of camping out in the middle of nowhere, braving wind and downpours, up to my knees in mud or other typical music-festival waste, why not just spoil myself on a chic cruise ship? There I’d enjoy well-equipped cabins, a bountiful breakfast buffet, first class on-board service and, in the middle of the Caribbean, guaranteed sunshine. None of it fits the image of us heavy metal fans, I know, so it isn’t surprising that the management of both the cruise ship company and the bands invited to play, originally harboured some reservations. The collision of such opposing worlds might be nothing short of calamitous. At least that was the prevailing opinion when I and my interested friends (from banking and advertising branches) discussed the plan with metal innocents. Most liked the idea of a cruise, but they’d do without the music and, especially, without its audience.

Homo sapiens metallicus [hoh-moh-sey-pee-uhnz-meh-tal-ikus] , noun

Bipedal primate distantly related to modern humans, distinguished by its long hair, full-body tattoos, impaired hearing, and an uncontrollable urge for alcohol and brawling

I guess that a good two-thirds of those that I spoke to would agree with such a definition, and probably all of them would associate words like ‘luxurious’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘exclusive’ with ‘cruise’. The ship’s crew, who at most are tasked to deal with a handful of whining children during the peak holiday season, would likely be overwhelmed by 2000 head-bangers on a ship. A riot could break out, requiring the luxury liner to go back to the shipyards for an overhaul. In short, disaster awaited us. Fortunately, ‘Ultimate Cruises’ the promoter of the event, had a different opinion. Not allowing itself to be derailed by stereotypes, it set about convincing the relevant partners of the concept’s appeal. For the fans it would be an unforgettable event – the reward for the cruise company and the promoter would be a lucrative new scheme.

The drink sales for the four days were suspected to come close to a Royal Caribbean International record. The staff confirmed that beer consumption was off the charts compared to other cruises. However, that was where the stereotype ended. The cruise ship steamed back to Miami intact. The crew had not to swab revellers nor bodily fluids from the decks; no broken glass, no violence, and no brawling. Instead, fans and the band members were seen opening doors for one another and returning empty bottles and cans back to the crates and recycling containers. All in all, it was a bitter disappointment for the camera teams who joined the cruise; there was nothing unsavoury to film. Perhaps they ought to have done a little more research into heavy-metal types before setting sail – starting with the work of psychology professor Adrian North from Scotland‘s Heriot-Watt University. In one three-year study[1], he gathered 36,000 responses from an online personality questionnaire put to music fans. His results show that heavy metal fans are rather laid-back in nature, have high self-esteem and are creative, but also tend to be introverted. He also discovered that their personalities were most closely related to classical music lovers. In fact, according to Dr North, they were virtually identical apart from the age factor. Is that why so many rock and metal bands experiment with renowned orchestras? The symbiosis is well worth a listen.

This once again illustrates the risks and the missed-opportunities associated with unchallenged preconceptions. Albert Einstein once said ‘it is harder to crack prejudice than an atom’. The burden should be 70,000 tons lighter now.

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