Maryland Deathfest XIV Survival Guide

This Thursday is the start of another Maryland Deathfest! This is the fourteenth year running for the festival and it continues to expand and evolve. This post will help you get through MDF XIV as you navigate through all the bands, stages, venues and vendors and I’ll be updating it with info like food prices and photos of exclusive band merch once the fest actually gets going. You can skip to the updates by going here. To start off, here’s some info and links you will find useful if you’re attending Maryland Deathfest XIV.

Maryland Deathfest’s official website:
MDF’s official Facebook:
MDF’s official Facebook event page: here
MDF’s official Instagram: @deathfests

I put together the below handy schedules and band running orders for each day of the fest (they load quick so bookmark them on your phone). Unlike the schedules on the MDF site and the one’s they’ll hand out at the entrance, these have the bands listed by start time so it will be easy to figure out exactly which bands are playing at any given time during the fest. They have the door times listed too. Note that you can pick up a multi day wrist band at the Pre-Fest show OR starting at 1pm on Thursday at Rams Head Live.


MDF has made an iCal feed for the schedule that will work in Google Calendar, iCloud or Outlook calendar that you can get here. You can find instructions for adding to Google Calendar here, instructions for adding it to Outlook here, and instructions for adding it to iCloud here.

Baltimore Yellow Cab: 410-685-1212 (website)
Both Uber and Lyft operate in Baltimore. They’re usually cheaper than a cab and you can download their apps for free from your app store.

MDF Edison Lot entrance address: 545 N High St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore SoundStage address: 124 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202
Rams Head Live Thurs & Sun address: 20 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202
Rams Head Live Fri & Sat address: 7 Frederick St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Sidebar address: 218 E Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Ottobar address: 2549 N Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21218 (Pre-Fest and Post-Fest shows only)

Note that Rams Head Live will be using the back entrance on Friday and Saturday. This is because the front entrance to Rams Head Live is inside the Power Plant area and it will have its own cover charge on Friday and Saturday night. To avoid that fee, use the back entrance to (address listed above) to enter Rams Head Live on those nights. On Thursday and Sunday you can use either entrance without fees.

I put together this custom Google map that will show you all kinds of info such as all the venues involved, local record stores of note and where to get beer, cigarettes and food while you’re in Baltimore too. Just click the map image below to use the map and use the menu on the left side to select and toggle different locations. This is pretty much the same one that I posted last year with a few changes.


Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Edison Lot (where the main stages are) will have tickets available at the door all through the weekend, the Edison Lot will not sell out. You can get tickets at the door or order them online (and pick them up at will call) by going here. There are still 3-day Edison Lot only passes available as well (discounted to $182 vs $195 if you bought them all individually) and there are 4-day all venue passes available still as well (as of this writing). There are still tickets available to Thursday, Friday and Sunday at the Baltimore Soundstage and for Friday and Sunday at Rams Head Live (for now at least). Note that the Edison Lot has an earlier curfew since it is outdoors and the final bands each night will be at Rams Head Live, with the Soundstage bands ending just a little earlier.

Thursday and Saturday at Rams Head, and Saturday at the Soundstage are sold out. If you’re determined to find tickets to these sold out parts of MDF, or need to sell your tickets last minute in a pinch, I highly recommend using the Maryland Deathfest official forum’s ticket exchange thread which you can find here. If that doesn’t work you can try looking at the official Facebook event page (here) for people posting about in the “discussion” section about tickets there as well.

New Info For This Year

The set up for this year’s Maryland Deathfest should be pretty similar to couple of years, though there are some changes.

There will be no official program for this year’s Maryland Deathfest.

One thing to note regarding the weather, it has rained a lot around here lately. The forecasts of Baltimore that I’ve seen have most of the MDF days looking alright though Sunday looks like it might rain. I highly suggest you bring a waterproof parka or other rain gear if you’re going to be at the Edison Lot that day and you don’t want to get drenched, there isn’t a lot of cover around the main stages.

There is an official Deathfest ale that will be sold at the Edison lot again this year. However a different brewery is making it, Evolution, who is from Maryland. This year’s Deathfest Ale will be a golden pale ale.

The custom MDF vests won’t be available this year at the official MDF merch booth, however there will be some custom high end hoodies with studs and embroidery that are different than the ones MDF has listed in their merch pre-orders. There will be only 10 made, sizes S – XL, available at the Edison Lot only, starting Friday. They are made by Kylla Custom Rock Wear (find them here) and I’m sure they could make you one for delivery at a later date if they’re sold out by the time you get there. Here’s a photo of one.

I heard that the infamous Chicken Man will only be attending Thursday of Maryland Deathfest this year. The Edison lot just won’t be the same without him.

They haven’t really been advertised much by MDF itself but there are shows going on Thursday through Sunday nights at the Sidebar that are part of MDF as well. The venue is small, it only fits about 100 people, but it’s a cool little place and it’s really close to the Edison Lot. If you’re looking for a place to get away from the rain or just avoid the big crowds, this might be a cool place for you to stop by. The shows at Sidebar were free last year but this year they’re $5 each. You can get line up and other info on each one’s respective Facebook event pages here: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

Good To Know For Every Year


Re-entry is OK once you get your wristband. Wear comfortable shoes, sunglasses and try to bring a cheap parka in case it rains (as I mentioned above, it looks likely that it will on Sunday). You’ll be doing a lot of standing and walking so dress accordingly. Maryland can get very hot and humid this time of year so be careful wearing all black and drinking and moshing in the sun all day, stay hydrated. Also, bring some sunscreen, not only will it keep you from getting burnt but you want to keep those tattoos from getting sun faded! Crowd surfing is very much tolerated at MDF so if you don’t like being kicked in the head repeatedly, don’t get up front. People tend to go wild and pretty much every band will start a mosh pit, even more “laid back” bands that you wouldn’t expect this from like say Paradise Lost and Bongzilla. Cameras, including DSLR cameras, are permitted and you can shoot video too, however be aware that the closer you get to the stage the more rowdy the crowd can get, including moshing, circle pits and crowd surfers. You can bring in bags and backpacks, but they are subject to search. Note that if you bring a backpack to Rams Head Live they will have you check it at the coat check, which will probably cost you $5 or less. There are picnic tables in a shaded area that you can rest in at the Edison Lot. Note that there is not a public Wi-Fi at Maryland Deathfest. You may want to bring an extra battery for your cell phone if you plan on being at the fest all day because there’s not a lot of places to charge your phone there.

Artwork by Lucas Ruggieri


Bring cash! There will be many vendors with tons of rare and obscure vinyl, CDs, merch, patches and all kinds of other stuff. Some of them have Square card readers but some will not. There will be ATMs on site but I’m sure they will have long lines and shitty service fees so stop by the bank before you head up to save yourself some time and money. Some of the stuff you’ll see will be Maryland Deathfest exclusives, and some of it will just be so rare you’ll probably never find it anywhere again anyways. If you see something you want don’t hesitate, items often sell out so buy it when you see if it you want to make sure you go home with it.

Maryland Deathfest will have a booth with its own merch for sale at all festival venues (see MDF’s merch here) including t-shirts, pullover hoodies and women’s tanks. There will be a limited to 200 copies silk screened poster available for purchase at the MDF merch booth as well. Some of the bands playing the fest will have their merch for sale at the official Maryland Deathfest booth, some will have merch available at their record label’s booth (assuming their label has a booth) and some bands will have their own merch booths set up in the tent at the end of the row of merchants. Different bands will set up merch at different times, there is no schedule for this, and the MDF booth will have different band merch on different days as bands arrive and leave the festival throughout the weekend. I saw a post from Salvation Distro showing two exclusive Secrets Of The Moon shirts they’ll have at their booth at Maryland Deathfest that you can see here. Gruesome will have some exclusive merch at the JSR Direct booth, which you can take a look at here.

This years list of vendors is: Acid Queen Jewelry, Adult Swim, Black Mess, Charm City Animal Rescue, ChopoBrujos, Crucial Blast Records, DabLizard, Dave’s Metal, Decibel Magazine, Deepsend Records, Digger’s Leatherwork, Five Point Records, Forever Plagued Records, Gilead Media, Give Praise Records, Graphic Noise, Grimoire Records, Hell’s Headbangers, IndieMerch, JSR Direct, Lock N Shock, Lost Apparitions Records, Mexico Steel, Necronomicharm, Pizza Party Printing, Relapse Records, Rusty Knuckles, Sabi, Salvation Distro, Season of Mist, Sevared Records, Swisher Sweets Cigars, Thrash Corner Records, Unholy Anarchy Records, Utterly Somber, Vienna Music Exchange, Warlord Clothing and Western Evil.

Here’s a video trailer that Relapse Records made for their booth at MDF.

Food & Drinks

There is plenty of on-site food at Maryland Deathfest. this year the on site food vendors include: Maui Wowi Hawaiian Smoothies & Coffees, Appetizers on the Run, Smokerhead BBQ, Avalache Sno-Balls, Pork Lord Tacos, Red Emmas (Vegan/vegetarian), E-San Food & Drink (Asian food), HeadBangin HotDogs (Vegan), Humpty’s Dumplings, Nader’s Bistro (Greek & Italian), Tropical Island Concessions (Gyro’s, Burgers, etc). If that’s not enough food options for you then be sure to check the custom Google map I made (at the top of this post) which includes stuff outside the festival grounds like restaurants, record stores, liquor stores and convenience stores.

It should be noted that the Pratt Street Ale House, which is walking distance from most of the downtown hotels, is doing a special for anyone attending Maryland Deathfest this weekend (just show your wristband when you mention it). The special is $4 16oz pours of Winter’s Wolves regular draft or nitro draft. Also for $4 you can get The Wolf Pack Flight: three 5oz pours (one each) of wine barrel aged, nitro and regular Winter’s Wolves. If you don’t know, Winter’s Wolves is an officially licensed tribute to The Sword. I highly recommend this place as they have some great food and some killer beers any beer snob or casual drinker will be excited about and they’re very metal head friendly.

There’s a liquor store (has beer and wine too) called Urban Cellars that is walking distance from the main Edison lot of MDF, they usually have specials going on for MDF attendees too. It should be noted that while their store is usually closed on Sunday, they do open the Sunday of Deathfest every year.

As for beer at the festival, there will be Deathfest Ale which this year is a golden blond ale by Evolution Brewing, Sierra Nevada, Stella Artois, Brooklyn Brown, Budweiser, Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Electric Pilsner and Guinness. There will be whiskey, rum and vodka and various mixed drinks available as well.

Please note that Rams Head Live and the Baltimore Soundstage will have their own food and drink menus. I’ll try to take photos of those and add them to the Updates section once I see them.


I’ll be adding updates to this post throughout the fest once it starts. Expect to see photos of food vendor prices as well as images of exclusive merch. Be sure to check back here before you head to Maryland Deathfest to help you get an idea of what to expect, and of course you can follow me on Facebook, MetalChris on Twitter, DCMetalChris on Instagram, dcmetalchris on Snapchat and MetalChris on Periscope, all of which I’ll be (probably) be updating/using from my phone.

Thanks for reading to the end, you get a gold star! If you’d like to read some more Maryland Deathefest related posts check out our latest posts about Hellbringer and Novembers Doom. Each year I let my album reviews pick a couple bands playing MDF that aren’t as well known as some of the others and let them write an album review attempting to convince others to check out these great bands. The Hellbringer review by Buzzo Jr is posted here, and Tal’s post about Novembers Doom is posted here. Both have songs that you can stream at the end of the post so you can give them a listen.

Here is some merch at the Maryland Deathfest merch booth that wasn’t available for pre-order on the MDF website. A beanie hat, a baseball cap and a tote bag.

Friday at Edison they also brought out all the embroidered patches, some koozies and rubber coasters.

There is also an official MDF XIV hot sauce at one of the vendors (who also has some other metal hot sauces like Eyehategod and Goatwhore).

There are Maryland Deathfest branded exclusive shirts from the following bands. I saw Venom, Novembers Doom, Sinister (who had to drop), Gruesome, The Haunted, Paradise Lost, Demolition Hammer and Hail Of Bullets. Some are at the MDF merch booth, some are at other booths.

Beer list at Baltimore Soundstage (click it to see it larger). I think the Deathfest ale they are selling is the left overs from last year or something because it is not the pale ale that is at Edison Lot. You can also get a free cup of water at the front bar, you don’t have to pay $3 to drink water.

Food menu at Baltimore Soundstage for Deathfest.

Maryland Deathfest X Survival Guide

Maryland Deathfest X is almost here and I’ve created another Survival Guide for this tenth installment of the festival. This post is full of info you can use regardless of how many days you spend at this year’s fest or whether you are visiting Baltimore or a resident. First, I’ll post a few handy links for you to have all in one place:

Maryland Deathfest’s official website:
MDF’s official Facebook:
Sonar’s official website:
Sonar’s Address: 407 E Saratoga St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Baltimore Yellow Cab: 410-685-1212 (website)

Quick loading set time schedules to bookmark on your smartphone:
Thursday Schedule:
Friday Schedule:
Saturday Schedule:
Sunday Schedule:

Click the image below to see a custom interactive Google map of the area around Sonar with some places of note like where to eat or buy cigarettes within walking distance. Click on the points or lines and more info will pop up. You’ll have to zoom in a bit since Google sets that.

Before You Get To The Fest

You can order your tickets online (here) if you haven’t bought them already. They will be will call only at this point, which means they’ll hold them at the door for you. Thursday is sold out so you can’t get tickets for that day nor four day passes any more. If you really want to go Thursday you can try looking at the MDF Facebook event page (here) for people selling extra tickets or the MDF Message Board’s thread for buying/selling tickets here, and maybe you’ll get lucky. You could also try getting cheaper tickets for other days there from people desperate to sell. You can order merch for pick up at the fest here. You don’t have to order merch online but if you do you can guarantee they will have your size in stock when you pick it up at the fest. They have decent prices, their shirts are $13 and the zip-up hoodies are $27. This year they also have a poster for sale for $12. There is another poster for sale (see image on left) by Warlord Clothing, who has made posters for the fest the past two years as well. It is also $12 and is limited to just 150, you can preorder that here. If you are flying into BWI airport for Deathfest, the city has set a flat rate for a taxi to or from Baltimore at $30. From the airport you can also order a Super Shuttle ride for around $12 – $15 per person each way here. Alternately, you can ride the Baltimore Light Rail system to or from BWI to several downtown stops for $1.60 one way. Most downtown hotels will be near the Convention Center through Centre Street stops (two maps, one here and another here). More info on Baltimore’s mass transit systems can be found here. You might want to bring some sunscreen with you if you are going to be at the fest for Friday, Saturday or Sunday as you’ll probably be spending a large portion of the day outdoors. Bring shoes you like wearing because you will probably be on your feet a lot while you’re there. You may want to bring a cheap plastic pull over parka in case it rains, especially if you’re packing a lot of electronics. You can bring a backpack or other bag in if you’d like to use it to hold merch you buy there, just know that they will search it when you enter. They do allow you to bring in cameras, including “pro” SLR cameras with detachable lenses however they will not be issuing photo passes to anyone. They do allow you to shoot video on your pocket cameras and phones but not on pro video cameras. Crowd surfing and moshing is allowed so be aware of what is going on around you, particularly if you’re bringing expensive equipment, and especially if you are up close towards the center of the stage. I recommend bringing some extra cash as there will be all kinds of vendors selling CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos, t-shirts and other merch, and even some MDF exclusives (I’ll update the end of this post with photos and prices of the exclusives once the fest starts). There is an ATM inside the Deathfest area but it will of course have service fees.

Arriving At The Fest

When you get to Maryland Deathfest you’ll see that they’ve blocked off the street in front of Sonar. They’ll build the stages there Thursday night so if you want to park in the parking lot in front of the venue, you’ll have to enter from the other entrance on the back of the lot. You can see where that is on the map I made (here). The lot across from Sonar was free in previous years but now the City Of Baltimore has decided to meter the lot. I shot a photo of a sign in the lot with the rates that you can see here. It’s 40¢ an hour from 4am to 6pm. Any amount of time from 6pm to 4am is a flat rate of $7. Yes if you do the math that means they jack up the rates at night specifically to screw over people going to Sonar, but that’s the city’s doing not the guys who run MDF or the venue. At least you don’t have to bring quarters, the meters accept debit and credit cards as you can see in this photo of one here. It will print a receipt that you will need to leave on your dashboard. I got a parking ticket there when it first switched over because I didn’t realize it had become a pay lot and the ticket was for $32. There will probably be a long line to get in during peak hours and if there is a band you definitely want to see I’d plan on getting there at least 45 minutes before they go on to make sure you get into the fest on time. You may end up getting in early but then you can always check out a band or two if you do, or scope some of the wares of the vendors. There’s often a bunch of junkies that hang out around the festival and I recommend you avoid them. Sometimes they find ways into the fest and try to pull admission bracelets off of people in crowds like when everyone has their hands up supporting a crowd surfer. They take these and give them to friends of theirs so they can get in as well and who knows what they’re doing, maybe picking pockets or something. They may seem nice and friendly but you really shouldn’t trust homeless drug addicts, call it common sense. Your ticket will get you a wrist band, and depending on how many days it is valid for will determine its color. Once you have your wrist band you can leave and re-enter at will and skip the line as well. Deathfest is all ages but you will also get a drinking age wrist band if you’re over 21 and show them your ID. Note that by law all bars in Baltimore stop serving at 2am, which is about when the Fest will probably end each night.

What To Expect Inside The Fest

Maryland Deathfest X starts on Thursday, May 24th and the doors open that day at 4pm. This day has a bit of downtime between bands because it is the only day that is indoors only, and they only use one stage (the main stage). Thursday is completely sold out and MDF has stated (here) that there is no such thing as a downloadable or electronic ticket, despite their appearance on sites like StubHub. Don’t be lured into buying such a ticket as it is certainly a scam. They probably won’t have most of the vendors set up until Friday so if you ordered merch to pick up at the event, you’ll probably need to get it later in the weekend. All weekend long you’ll be able to pick up, for free, a program for this year’s Maryland Deathfest provided by Invisible Oranges. I’ve been lucky enough to get a peek at its contents and it looks pretty cool. It has a short bio on bands playing and some bands, such as Electric Wizard, Tsjuder, Brujeria and Mortuary Drape, will have expanded features on them with lots of quotes from the members of the bands. Check out the cover art on the left and keep an eye out for it. Friday, Saturday and Sunday there will be three stages going most of the day, so be sure to check out my quick schedules for each day that show which bands start on which stage in chronological order (linked at the top of this post). Because of the multiple stage set up, usually when a band finishes their set on one outdoor stage the band on the other outdoor stage will start immediately. This means if you really want to see a band up close you will have to camp out there a bit as they set up while most other people are watching bands on the other stages. Due to noise curfews, the outdoor stages have to be done each night by 11pm, however the indoor stage will continue to have bands well past midnight. There will be a food vendor who sets up shop inside the fences, same one as last year. Apparently they will expand the menu to have at least three styles of food, as well as some vegetarian options. There is also some food available within walking distance of Sonar and you can check out the map I made (here) to figure out where that is. One cool thing about Deathfest is all the vendors there. There will be vendors where the indoor second side stage normally is at Sonar, as well as some outdoors in tents and booths. You can find all kinds of rare and obscure releases, bootlegs, merch and other stuff here and most of them will only accept cash. The list of vendors at this year’s fest is: Black Mess Productions, ChopoBrujos, Crucial Blast Records, Dave’s Metal (I couldn’t find a link), Deepsend Records, Deathgasm Records, Emetic Records, The End Records, Forever Plagued Records, Handshake Inc., Ibex Moon Records, IndieMerch, JSR Direct, Largactyl Records, Lock And Shock, Old Cemetery Records, Relapse Records, Season Of Mist, Sevared Records, Thrash Corner Records, Utterly Somber, Vienna Music Exchange, Warlord Clothing and Willowtip Records. Last year they also had a corpse paint face painting booth (photo here) but I don’t know if that will be back this year or not. Relapse has even made a video commercial for their booth at this year’s fest and you can watch that below.

Other Things Going On

If you get into town Wednesday and you’re looking for something to do that night, there will be a couple pre-fest metal shows going on. The Sidebar, a place that is walking distance from Sonar, will be hosting Xeukatre, Horde Of The Eclipse, Palkoski, Wolfnuke and Weed Warlock for just $8. The venue’s address is 218 E. Lexington St, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map) however the doors are actually just around the corner on Guilford Avenue. This show is ages 18+ only and the doors open at 8pm. You can see its Facebook event page here. This show looks to be pretty awesome with a range of styles including black metal, stoner, grind and speed metal. You can check out any of the bands by clicking their names. Also, for the four days the fest is going on the Sidebar will not be having bands play but will instead have DJs playing metal and punk music with tons of drink specials and no cover. Sounds like a cheap place to knock a few back before heading in to the fest. Doors open Thursday and Friday at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday at 4pm.

Another metal gig going on Wednesday the 23rd in Baltimore is at the Ottobar, located at 2549 N. Howard St, Baltimore, MD 21218 (map). This show’s line up will be The Hackish, Visceral Disgorge, Seventh Chaos, Universal Remonster, SwampHög and Infidel, a group of bands definitely leaning toward the most brutal side of metal. Death/grind band The Hackish has come up from Florida to play this show. It’s also $8 to get in and is open to all ages. Doors open at 7pm. It’s a bit farther away than the Sidebar show, however it is open to all ages.

There are also two metal shows going on in Baltimore during Maryland Deathfest that are totally unrelated to the event. Power metal is a sub genre that doesn’t get much love at MDF and if you want to take a break and get some of that in then head over to the Baltimore SoundStage on Saturday the 26th for a spotlight on three power metal bands. Rhapsody Of Fire is coming from Italy to headline this show with their Australian touring support Voyager. Washington DC natives A Sound Of Thunder will kick off this show which is located at 124 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map). It’s $29.50 to get in and this all ages show has doors open at 6pm and the first band start at 7pm.

Just down the street from the Baltimore SoundStage and also on Saturday the 26th, Rams Head Live will be hosting a metalcore show of mostly local bands headlined by Sky Came Burning and Serial Attraction. Also appearing will be The 10th Hour, Beyond Dishonor, GI9 and Blameshift. It will be $12 to get in. The venue’s address is 20 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map) and this show is open to all ages.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the most tourist friendly area of the city and it isn’t too far south of Sonar either. There are lots of dining options in that area, plenty with Maryland’s famous crab cakes, and you can also find Baltimore’s world famous aquarium there (link). It’s pretty impressive and worth checking out if you’ve got some extra time. There are a few record stores of note in Baltimore. Black Mess, which will have a booth at Maryland Deathfest this year, is located at 3853 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211 (map). Black Mess is a new store and they specialize in underground heavy metal. A reader mentioned that within walking distance of Black Mess is Celebrated Summer Records, another indie record store that has metal for sale though they seem to specialize in punk and hardcore. Their address is 3620 Falls Rd,
Baltimore, MD 21211 (map). There is also The Sound Garden, a large record store that is pretty famous even outside of the city. Last year I saw Lee Dorian of Cathedral browsing the records there one afternoon. Their address is 1616 Thames St, Baltimore, MD 21231 (map). And if you want my recommendation of the best place to eat in town it’s Joe Squared. They are a gourmet pizza place with great beers on tap and even outdoor seating. It’s a bit pricey but where the hell else can you get things like avacado, lamb, corned beef, artichokes, or calamari on a pizza? Plus they’re open til 2am every night. Highly recommended! They have two locations, one near Rams Head Live and the Baltimore Soundstage at 30 Market Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202 (map) (I’ve never been to this location) and one at 133 W. North Ave, Baltimore, MD 21201 (map) which is a few blocks south of the Ottobar.

Wrap Up

I’ll be at this year’s Maryland Deathfest for all four days and if you see me walking around be sure to say hi. I’ll be handing out free vinyl bumper stickers to anyone who wants one (and maybe some people who don’t). Recently I interviewed Evan Harting, one of the two organizers and co-creators of Maryland Deathfest and you can read or listen to that interview here. Shockwave Magazine recently conducted an interview with both of the guys who run Deathfest and you can check that out here. Baltimore blogger Mary Spiro has been counting down to Deathfest on her blog by listening to and posting short profiles of each band at this year’s fest and there are even some interviews in there with some of them too. Check out her MDF band profiles on her blog Metallomusikum here. NPR has posted a discussion about this year’s MDF with Bob Boilen, Lars Gotrich (NPR’s metal writer) and Kim Kelly (freelance metal writer) that you can listen to here. The Washington Post Express ran a preview piece, which I’m quoted in, that you can read here. Invisible Oranges made a short post about the fest, with a download of their guide, that is posted here.

I hope this survival guide helps you enjoy the best four days of heavy metal in the area. I’m excited and I hope you all have fun whichever days you are going. Stay brutal everyone!


Here’s the alcohol price list for the bars inside the main room, you can click it to see it larger.

MDF X Alcohol Price List

There are two food tents inside the MDF grounds this year. One has some pretty standard American food and the other has “Italian” and Latin food. The three menus are all posted below, and you can click on them to see them larger if you want.

MDF X American Food Menu

MDF X Italian Food Menu

MDF X Latin Food Menu

Also, there are some MDF exclusives but I’m trying to get back to the fest to catch one of my favorite bands, Macabre, play so I don’t have time to post the pictures yet. I’ll try to do that tonight. However, there is an exclusive Brujeria shirt, an exclusive Morgoth shirt (both shown below), and for some reason a vendor had exclusive shirts for a bunch of bands that aren’t even playing including: The Black Dahlia Murder, Aborted, Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth, Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation, Rotting Christ and Devourment. There was also an exclusive Nasum shirt but that is now sold out. Oh, and Black Mess has a free to enter raffle to see Marduk, 1349, Wither and Weapon at Sonar on Saturday June 2nd. Winner gets a free pair of tickets to the show. You don’t have to buy anything to enter but check it out cause that show will be cool.

MDF X Italian Food Menu

MDF X Morgoth Shirt

Maryland Deathfest IX Survival Guide

Maryland Deathfest IX is almost upon us, and for those of you coming to this year’s event in Baltimore, Maryland on any or all of the days from Thursday, May 26th through Sunday, May 29th, 2011, there are some things you’ll want to be aware of and this survival guide is to help you have the most fun and least amount confusion at MDF this year. Please note that I’m not an official representative of either Maryland Deathfest nor Sonar, but this is my advice after having attended the previous three. Please note that Sonar is open and has their liquor license. By the way, I’ve posted quick reference schedules for each day that will load fast on a phone. Bookmark the following links to use at the fest: and and and

First off, the free parking lot fills up fast! If you want to park in the free parking across the street from Sonar, you’ll have to get there early. Sonar will shut down Saratoga Street in front of the venue to put the outdoor stages and such, and you will have to enter the parking lot from the rear. Last year there were a bunch of local homeless junkies that started hanging out in the parking lot during the fest so it’s probably not somewhere you want to pre-game or tailgate at before you go into the show. When the lot is full there are several local pay lots, or metered street parking you can use also. In Baltimore the meters run until midnight, but you don’t have to bring quarters as they will accept credit cards to pay. I think they’ll let you pay for 5 hours at a time. You will be able to leave and re-enter the venue to feed the meters or whatever, as long as you keep your wrist band on. Depending on what kind of ticket you paid for, 4 day, 3 day or single day, you will have different colored wrist bands on. Those of you with multiple day wrist bands be careful! I saw some of the junkies roaming around inside Deathfest last year wearing wrist bands that had surely been stolen from people, these guys certainly are pick pockets and thieves so I really cannot stress enough that you should avoid them. Also, when all the bands are done playing at the end of each night, the staff will herd everyone out and you will find the parking lot area swarmed with police also telling you to get the hell out. Don’t get so drunk that you’ll argue with, fight, vomit on or otherwise annoy the police, just be ready to leave when the show is over.

Ok, so you showed up early and got a parking spot, now what? Get in line! There was a very long and time consuming line to get in on the first day of Deathfest last year. The first problem was they needed to issue all the wrist bands on this day, so everyone was in line giving their tickets to the door guys. They were also carding people to see who could drink. On top of that they also went through everyone’s bags, including purses, backpacks and camera equipment bags. This meant the time to get in the door was a good 45 minutes for me, and the doors were already open for a couple hours when I got there! Now on the next couple of days the line wasn’t as bad because people with their wristbands could just skip the line and walk up to security. This year is a bit different, and I’m not sure how it will play out exactly. Since the Thursday pre-fest is considered part of the rest of the fest, and you can get a 4 day pass this year, the wrist band line might not be as long, since some will be entering for the first time on Thursday, and 3 day pass holders will be coming in on Friday. On Thursday and Friday I recommend arriving at the venue a good 45 minutes to an hour before the first band you want to see plays. You may get in quicker than that but it’s better to check out a few random bands than miss part of the set of one you wanted to see. Also, I’m not totally sure what you can and can’t bring in, but I’d guess bringing food, drinks or alcohol, or weapons of any kind will be banned. They will allow any kind of still image camera, including SLRs and DSLRs. Keep in mind that Maryland Deathfest allows both moshing and crowd surfing, and audience members will be doing this most of the day. There are no photo passes this year so if you want to bring your expensive camera gear you’re allowed to, but be warned that there will be crowd surfers ready to destroy your cameras for most bands, so I recommend keeping your distance from the front, especially towards the center. Also, on Friday through Sunday there will be 3 stages all going, often with two bands playing at a time, so if you want to get to see your favorite band up close (for taking pictures or not), you’re going to have to miss watching part or all of other bands’ sets to get there early enough to get close to the front.

Note that Thursday is sold out! This day of the fest is inside Sonar only, there are no outdoor stages in use on Thursday. Originally it was supposed to be the pre-fest again, but they decided to make it part of the rest of the fest and started selling 4 day passes as well. All single day Thursday passes are sold out, as well as 4 day passes. You can still purchase 3 day passes (for Friday, Saturday and Sunday), or any other single day tickets here. They will be held at will call (pick them up at the door when you arrive). You can order online and there are no fees, so the price they list is the actual ticket price. There are also official Maryland Deathfest t-shirts and hoodies (at very reasonable prices) that you can buy here and pick up at Deathfest, or buy when you are there. There will be an official Maryland Deathfest merch booth, and they will have these as well as copies of the Maryland Deathfest: The Movie II on DVD there. MDF: The Movie II is is a DVD by Handshake Inc that has live footage from lots of the bands while performing at last year’s Deathfest. You can pre-order those here if you’d like and pick it up at the show. You can also get this year’s official screen print poster (the picture of the demon guy with the knife things in his hands) from Warlord Clothing, though presales are done now. They’re limited to 250 so get one early if you want one! Aside from all this, many of the bands who are playing the fest will have their merch for sale here, and I recommend checking back each day as different bands come to the fest on different days (depending on what day they are playing) and will often have their merch available only in small quantities and for one day only here. This year there is also an official Maryland Deathfest program, which will have a listing of the running order of the bands as well as interviews with 19 of the bands playing this year’s fest and really has a nice layout and some great photographs. You can buy a digital version (in either PDF or iPad format) for $1 or get a paper copy for $12.50 that includes the digital download also. However, if you pre-order (here) it you cannot pick it up at the fest, it will be mailed to you. If you’d like it in hand there you should bring cash to buy it at MDF. There will also be tons of vendors setting up shop there to sell their wares, mostly vinyl, CDs, tapes, rare demos and band merch from tons of bands, including those playing the fest and those not. There is a lot of bootleg merch here so if that pisses you off be aware of that. They will probably have the smaller indoor stage area (not the main stage) set up for vendors too, and sometimes you’ll see artists doing signings at various booths. Bring cash! Some might take credit cards but I’m betting most will want cash.

UPDATE: I shot some pictures of some of the exclusive merch for sale. There’s an In Solitude shirt you can see the front of here and the back of here. There’s also an exclusive Ghost shirt you can see the front of here and the back of here. There was a limited edition Marduk CD you can see here. And sorry, I forgot to ask about the prices of the shirts! Oh, they also had a place where you could get your face painted corpse paint style for $5, and you can see that here.

As far as food is concerned, last year there was only one food vendor inside the fest gates. I got a cold burger and bag of chips from them for around $10 the first evening and I never ordered from them again. They were selling bottles of water for the same price the bar inside (about 10 feet away) was selling PBR cans! Total rip off. Two years ago they had several food vendors, so maybe they’ll have more options this year. If not, then I recommend venturing outside the venue for lunch and dinner breaks. UPDATE: There is only one food vendor inside the Deathfest gates. Their menu is kinda pricey but it does have more items than last year, including several vegetarian options. I shot pictures of the two part menu and you can see them here and here.
The little diner on the corner of Saratoga was open last year during Deathfest and they had decent breakfast and lunch food, as far as diners go. There is also a convenience store that is, if you are facing the front door of Sonar, to the right of the venue on the corner. It has a smaller sandwhich shop in the back of it, I had them make me a gyro that was ok last year. My favorite place that I found, the South Beach Sandwicherie, is about 1.5 blocks past the convenience store, also on Saratoga. It’s pretty cheap, around $10 to eat, and they make excellent sandwiches, hot or cold, with cold cuts and your choice of bread or croissant. The staff loves the MDF crowd and they usually have Maryland Deathfest specials as well as extended hours. The wait can be a bit long sometimes, particularly during peak eating hours as each sandwich is made to order by hand, and they don’t sell alcohol, but really this is my favorite place to eat that is within walking distance of Sonar.

UPDATE: I shot a picture of the alcohol prices the bartenders are using at Maryland Deathfest IX and you can see it here: It’s cash only, though they do have ATMs in the venue.

Another thing to notice is that the headliners DO NOT play last each night. The outdoor stages close before the indoor stage, and the headliners close out the outdoor stages. Unlike a lot of metal concerts and festivals, MDF is run very closely to schedule. They don’t let bands stay longer than their scheduled time very often, even if their set was started late due to no fault of the bands (such as technical difficulties). I’ve posted easy to remember links to a schedule for each day with the bands in the order they are playing. They’re just HTML and should load quickly on any phone with internet access, so you may want to add them to you bookmarks now. The addresses are: and and and with all letters in lower case. Keep in mind there are always some problems the day of that adjust the schedules some, such as bands not being let into the country, showing up late, missing flights/gear, etc… and I’ll do what I can to keep them up to date as best I can.

Here are a few sets I think are of note. This is apparently the final US concert for doom metal legends Cathedral as the band has announced they are breaking up after they put out one more album, around the end of the year. They have no US tours scheduled so this is probably it for US concerts. The grind band playing early Saturday named Creative Waste is from Saudi Arabia. I’ve become quite a fan of middle eastern metal in general so hey, it’s cool to me at least. Who knows when you’ll get another chance to see them. The line up for Corrosion Of Conformity is the Animosity era line up of Mike Dean, Reed Mullen and Woody Weatherman. Sunday will be the final show ever for death metal band Skinless and they will have their original line up in place for this show. Apparently Coroner played a recent show in Switzerland consisting mostly of newer material, but the guys running MDF have said the band will play a show with more older classics at Deathfest.

There are several bands that were supposed to play that have had to back out for one reason or another. Those bands are: Death Breath, Deströyer 666, Devourment, Goatsnake, Hatred Surge and Lock Up and Regurgitate. Again, this list may grow when bands can’t show up as planned for one reason or another.

If this isn’t enough metal for you, there are a few prefest shows going on. Most notably Anhedonist, High Priest, Oak, Ilsa and Midnight Eye playing at the Corpse Fortress in Silver Spring, Maryland on Wednesday 25 May 2011. It’s just $6 and starts at 7pm. You will need a car to get there if you are staying in Baltimore as Silver Spring is a suburb of Washington DC. More info on the bands and this show on the event’s Facebook page here.

There is also a MDF prefest show in Brooklyn, New York featuring several of the MDF bands as well as DC’s own Magrudergrind. It’s also on Wednesday 25 May 2011 and is at the Public Assembly. The bands playing are Cripple Bastards, Magrudergrind, The Kill, Noisear and Shitstorm. It’s $15, ages 18+ and starts at 8pm. More info on the event’s Facebook page here.

Saturday the Hexagon is having what they’re calling a Ghetto Deathfest in Baltimore, basically a metal show for people unwilling to shell out for an expensive MDF ticket. This show is on a sliding scale of $6 to $10 and you can bring your own beer and also food to throw on the grill cause this is also a bbq! There’s 9 local bands playing, including a personal favorite of mine, Balor’s Eye. The venue says it starts at 2pm but the flyer I saw says 3pm. I doubt they’ll turn ya away either way.
UPDATE: Since Hexagon has been abruptly shut down, the Ghetto Deathfest has been moved to the Baltimore Free Farm. Website is here and the address is 3510 Ash St, Baltimore, MD 21211. I’ve gotten word the doors are at 3pm and the first band is at 5pm. It’s still BYOB at the new location.

I’m really excited for this year’s fest, it’s always a blast so if you see me walking around feel free to say hi. Please don’t damage my camera in the pit and stay tuned for lots of pics and videos after the fest is done. You can check out my extensive recap of last year’s fest here. I won’t be there Saturday because a good friend of mine is getting married, but I’ll be there Thursday, Friday and Sunday. I’ll see you there!