A festival of mayhem

Maryland DeathFest expands its offerings and number of stages

May 27, 2010|By Sam Sessa, The Baltimore Sun

Devil horns, tattoos and black T-shirts don't begin to describe the scene at this weekend's Maryland DeathFest.

Thousands of hard-rock lovers are expected to cram inside Sonar for the annual celebration of eardrum-shredding death metal and hardcore. The lineup is stuffed with nearly 60 bands, performing on multiple stages inside and outside Sonar over the course of three days.

Where does Maryland DeathFest rank in terms of metal festivals?

"Ask most people, and they'll tell you this is the only one worth going to," said co-founder Ryan Taylor. "It's the only one of its kind, for the variety of extreme metal we book. You're not going to find anything similar to this in all of North America."

One of the festival's keys to success is its varied lineup. While other festivals might present all death metal or hardcore bands, Maryland DeathFest is all over the board.

"The name DeathFest is misleading," Taylor said. "Nobody wants to see the same [kind of] band for three days straight. It gets monotonous."

Now in its eighth year, the festival started at the now-defunct South Baltimore club the Thunderdome. Originally, Taylor and co-founder Evan Harting intended the festival to be last one day, but club owners persuaded them to stretch it out to three.

The festival moved to Sonar in 2006, and last year an extra stage was set up outside. This year, the festival will have two outdoor stages. This year's roster includes Pentagram, D.R.I., Portal, From Ashes Rise and Obituary. Taylor is expecting 3,000 people each day.

"We thought we would outgrow [Sonar] at some point, but we're finding ways to accommodate more people," he said.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

If you go

Maryland Deathfest is today through Sunday at Sonar, 407 E. Saratoga St. Showtimes and ticket prices vary. Go to marylanddeathfest.com.

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