Report: Year After Year, MARYLAND DEATHFEST Only Gets Stronger

Michael Byrne of the Baltimore City Paper reports: For the past six years, Baltimore has been rushed by some of the most dedicated metalheads in the world. This year, co-organizer/co-curator/co-everything Ryan Taylor projects a daily attendance of 2,000 people for Maryland Deathfest's three-day run. Compare that to about 150 daily for High Zero or roughly 2,000 daily for Whartscape. (Artscape, a mixed art and music, free festival, brings in hundreds of thousands annually according to organizers.) Based on current ticket sales, this year's Deathfest is drawing in attendees from at least 15 countries, including more than 30 sales so far to Australia.

And the fans come from all over the world not least because the bands come from all over the world-from England's mighty BOLT THROWER to Sweden's BIRDFLESH. "There are so many people and bands from all around the world that you almost forget you're in the United States," says BIRDFLESH singer Smattro Ansjovis.

Jason Netherton of Baltimore's own MISERY INDEX, a politicized death metal band as frighteningly precise as it is brutal, adds from a California tour stop: "To have dozens of bands we know from all over the world come to play in our hometown is almost surreal."

Despite the tumult he helps put onstage every year, Taylor is the walking definition of even-keeled. Less than three weeks from the festival's kick-off, he's almost pathologically collected, and that turns out to be a good thing. In April, the festival faced having a mammoth monkeywrench tossed into the works when the city dragged its feet on approving the ever-expanding MDF's permit to close the block of Saratoga Street outside Sonar to accommodate another stage. Uncertain of whether or not the outside stage would come through, Taylor had to consider the event "sold out" until the permits came through and the additional capacity was made official.

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Read the entire report from the Baltimore City Paper.

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