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Lionel Fauquier
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:29 pm
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 12:23 pm 
 

So I was watching a video ( can't remember the title ) where Gary Holt talks about outdoor metal festivals and states that " proper " ones ( i.e. ones where you can camp on site ) don't really exist in the US , whereas they happen to be fairly common in Europe .


Now I'm not sure about the situation in Europe , however I definitely agree with the claim of such festivals not being common here in the US . Of course there probably are some exceptions , however I'm honestly not aware of any non obscure/regionally oriented metal festivals being held in the US right now where you can camp out .


And I honestly don't understand why this seems to be the case . I mean there's more than enough space in this country to hold such an event and I highly doubt that American landowners would be more opposed to hosting such an event than their European counterparts , especially for the right price .


To use a good example I honestly don't understand why the organizers of MDF keep choosing to host that festival in Baltimore as opposed to Garrett County . I might be in the minority here , but I'd find it much more convenient to drive out to ( say ) Deep Creek State Park and camp out there for a week , as opposed going to Baltimore . I also think they should drop the Maryland label and find something more inclusive of the country as a whole , but that's neither here nor there .


Are metal festival goers in this country prejudiced against rural areas ? Or is there some sort of other factor at play here ?

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Element_man
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:37 am
Posts: 874
Location: Vancouver, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:03 pm 
 

There have been open air events in North America but they tend to tank pretty hard. We have one open air festival going in Canada right now. It's going into it's 8th(?) year and it attracts ~500 people. The guy who runs it went through hell and back in order to get the town behind the festival so he could do it above the book. Another buddy of mine tried to do the same thing. Did it for three years and ended up over $75k in debt.

The main problem is that Canada and the USA are fucking huge, and the majority of people live around the edges. There's a lot of space where am open air festival would probably work great, but you'll have to deal with bible belt land owner and prejudiced town councils who don't want a pack of metalheads anywhere NEAR them. So maybe you could find a metal-friendly landowner who will rent out the space. Now you've gotta fill the space. You've got to put together a lineup of bands, but any band who stands to draw a crowd will want money. Lots of bands will set their price for a one-off festival appearance quite high. So maybe you'll just book one or two cool headliner-level bands that are already on tour which will be cheaper, but you've also cheapened the "exclusivity" factor of your festival, which is a huge thing you need. Most of your band budget will probably be eaten up by a handful of groups, which means you'll be left with local/regional acts to fill the slots. Let's be honest, unless you've got a band that's drawing hundreds of people to their local shows, you're gonna have a hell of a time bringing people to your festival using a bunch of nobodies.

So, let's say you've put together a decent lineup with a decent national-level band as a headliner, a couple strong co-headliner and support bands plus a smattering of locals and regionals who will play for free and hopefully bring the usual local crowd out. Fine. But your local crew of people aren't going to be enough. You need the masses. This means running promotional campaigns. Social Media will do some work but if you want real results then you'll probably have to pay money. You could also fork over some money for advertising on websites and magazines but that can eat up money really fast. Promo is often a big issue for these fests. Even if you have some decent bands, no one will go to a show they don't know is happening. And people get their "metal news" from so many different sources that you can't really afford to put all your eggs into one basket here.

Remember what I said about the USA being fucking huge and the population mostly hanging around the edges? If you want people to come into your rural area then they'll have to travel. That means people are looking at expensive flights or long road trips. How much money/time are people going to invest into your event? Speaking of which, how much are you going to charge for tickets? Oh yeah, where are you holding the festival? Is there anything else to do in the area? Are there other tourist attractions nearby? What's the economy like in the area? There was a festival called Warriors of Metal that had a killer run of rad bands but it was in fucking rural Ohio if I remember. Who the fuck wants to go to Ohio??? And we haven't even scratched the surface of dealing with the legalities of such an event, liquor licences, volunteers, fund raising, putting together lights and sound... if I were thinking about putting together an open air festival I'd be shitting my pants right now.

Obviously European festivals have to worry about this stuff too but they have a few advantages. Metal being more "acceptable" on a mainstream level, tighter population density, cheaper flights and traveling. I imagine many countries will be able to apply for gov't funding for events like these too, perhaps?

Hope this sheds some light.
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Ace_Rimmer
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:30 am
Posts: 236
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:24 pm 
 

There are a handful, but most "heavy music" fans in the US seem to lean towards the Stone Sour, A7X, Slipknot variety. And there isn't a festival culture in the US if that is a good term. I do see some Open Air fests that are in a stadium or similar venue with no camping and you can't come and go and that really defeats the whole purpose IMO. Full Terror Assault in southern Illinois bills itself as the only real open air metal festival in the US but I'm guessing the attendance last year was less than 1k. It was a lot of fun no doubt with some great bands and I'm going again this year. But Wacken or Summer Breeze it isn't. But its BYOB and free camping for a good price and I'd love to see it keep growing.

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Ace_Rimmer
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:30 am
Posts: 236
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:29 pm 
 

Element_man wrote:
Remember what I said about the USA being fucking huge and the population mostly hanging around the edges? If you want people to come into your rural area then they'll have to travel. That means people are looking at expensive flights or long road trips. How much money/time are people going to invest into your event? Speaking of which, how much are you going to charge for tickets? Oh yeah, where are you holding the festival? Is there anything else to do in the area? Are there other tourist attractions nearby? What's the economy like in the area? There was a festival called Warriors of Metal that had a killer run of rad bands but it was in fucking rural Ohio if I remember. Who the fuck wants to go to Ohio??? And we haven't even scratched the surface of dealing with the legalities of such an event, liquor licences, volunteers, fund raising, putting together lights and sound... if I were thinking about putting together an open air festival I'd be shitting my pants right now.



I'm not sure the location is the killer though. Its not like WOA is in a metropolis. You have to fly into Hamburg, then catch trains and buses to the village in the middle of rural Northern Germany.

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TrooperEd
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Nov 14, 2004 6:18 pm
Posts: 1575
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:38 pm 
 

I know it was almost 20 years ago, but I wonder if Woodstock 99 had anything to do with outdoor festivals not happening in America. At least not like in Wacken or Download where it's in rural lands.
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rexxz
Where's your band?

Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2004 8:45 pm
Posts: 11068
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:40 pm 
 

There are a LOT of outdoor "proper" music festivals every year in the US, but none that I can think of that are strictly for metal. Hulaween for example is massive and draws a ton of people every year. So the concept is absolutely not foreign or unassailable for people here, it just hasn't been met with much success in the metal genre.
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Element_man
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2005 2:37 am
Posts: 874
Location: Vancouver, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:48 pm 
 

Ace_Rimmer wrote:
I'm not sure the location is the killer though. Its not like WOA is in a metropolis. You have to fly into Hamburg, then catch trains and buses to the village in the middle of rural Northern Germany.

Sure. It doesn't hurt though. For the same kind of metal, Frost and Fire in Ventura, CA did much better and lots of people including myself fell in love with that location--total beach town paradise. It's not the killer and I never said it was, but it's certainly a factor when getting people to spend their cash on a festival without any sort of legendary name behind it.
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Ace_Rimmer
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:30 am
Posts: 236
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:48 pm 
 

Yeah, Bonnaroo is huge but its mixed genre with one of two big name metal bands some years, ie Metallica.

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narsilianshard
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 1785
Location: Louisville
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:53 pm 
 

Full Terror Assault is the only one. Going into its fourth year, but for some reason no one seems to know about it. Camping is free with a ticket and it's BYOB. They're about to announce the next wave of bands in the coming weeks but so far it's Warbringer, Death Angel, Immolation, Power Trip, and Midnight:

http://fullterrorassault.com

It's only a 3 hour drive for me, so I'm definitely going.

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Ace_Rimmer
Metal newbie

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 11:30 am
Posts: 236
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:22 pm 
 

narsilianshard wrote:
Full Terror Assault is the only one. Going into its fourth year, but for some reason no one seems to know about it. Camping is free with a ticket and it's BYOB. They're about to announce the next wave of bands in the coming weeks but so far it's Warbringer, Death Angel, Immolation, Power Trip, and Midnight:

http://fullterrorassault.com

It's only a 3 hour drive for me, so I'm definitely going.


Looking forward to going again this summer. Liking the lineup so far, last year was a blast.

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Oxenkiller
Metalhead

Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 3:42 am
Posts: 1943
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 8:43 pm 
 

There have been a few small scale local ones in the US, but I don't know of any "big" ones other than stuff like Ozzfest, which isn't really a camping -friendly outdoor festival and thus doesn't really qualify as such (although it is, technically, usually held at an outdoor ampetheater type venue)

We used to have a local outdoor metal fest, called "Rock the Mountain" that ran for about 10 years or so, and was held up in the mountains north of town; it usually featured about 15-20 bands and maybe 5-600 attendees. But almost all of the bands were local; no national or international touring acts, and it wasn't really that well advertised either, particularly outside of the state.

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Wilytank
Not a Flying Toy

Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:21 am
Posts: 4841
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:07 pm 
 

Lionel Fauquier wrote:
To use a good example I honestly don't understand why the organizers of MDF keep choosing to host that festival in Baltimore as opposed to Garrett County . I might be in the minority here , but I'd find it much more convenient to drive out to ( say ) Deep Creek State Park and camp out there for a week , as opposed going to Baltimore .

As a former native of that general area, that would be amazing. Deep Creek is really nice and the whole area is overall pretty breathtaking. However, there's going to be a bunch of problems getting all those European bands plus their gear and merch that far up into the mountains. Even from Pittsburgh (the closest international airport), it's still going to be two and a half hour drive up a not-so-smooth stretch of highway to get there. The expense for buses or vans for all of them is not going to be nominal.

Quote:
I also think they should drop the Maryland label and find something more inclusive of the country as a whole , but that's neither here nor there .


The organizers use the Deathfest tag for their other concerts. California Deathfest, Netherlands Deathfest, and (this one's new) Quebec Deathfest. The Maryland Deathfest name is fine as it is.
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Because like it or not this shit needs money, fame and large sold out venues to be sustainable and to survive.

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Zodijackyl
Definitely Proportionate

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 7088
Location: Longmont Potion Castle
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:07 pm 
 

Lionel Fauquier wrote:
To use a good example I honestly don't understand why the organizers of MDF keep choosing to host that festival in Baltimore as opposed to Garrett County . I might be in the minority here , but I'd find it much more convenient to drive out to ( say ) Deep Creek State Park and camp out there for a week , as opposed going to Baltimore . I also think they should drop the Maryland label and find something more inclusive of the country as a whole , but that's neither here nor there .


That's a two hour drive from Pittsburgh, nearly four from Baltimore, and an hour from the nearest airport in Morgantown, WV. Wacken is an hour drive from Hamburg - a city with a major international airport - and about 15m from the nearest train station. Baltimore is easily reachable by direct flight, and is within 3-4 hours driving distance for ~40m people, including Richmond/DC, Philly, New Jersey, and NYC. Despite some weirdities of an urban festival, it's a good location.

Speaking especially of the northeast coast, and I suppose also SoCal, Suburban sprawl is broader in the US than in Europe. Rural areas are further away from cities, and almost entirely unserved by mass transit. They also tend to be conservative and religious, perhaps not welcoming to extreme metal. Urban metalfests make sense in the densely populated regions - the eastern seaboard, SoCal, Chicago, and Texas. The climate is also a factor - summers in Germany are mild and pleasant, while summers in Texas can kill you. I guess there's something that makes sense about mostly-naked people at these rock/electronic festivals in the southwest...

That being said, the one place where open air festivals work in the US is the midwest - the vast sprawl of it, everyone being used to driving everywhere, and the general culture/climate are why places like southern Illinois and Wisconsin have some rock/metal festivals. Milwaukee Metalfest used to be a huge event, but an unfriendly climate towards metal and an unscrupulous promoter led to its demise while European festivals boomed. Perhaps the biggest factor in killing this as an underground commercial in the early-mid 00s was the increased difficulty of air travel after September 11. While the EU opened borders, it has become increasingly difficult to bring bands to the US, even for citizens to move around the country. Europe's festival culture boomed during those years, America's died and had to be reinvented.

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Wilytank
Not a Flying Toy

Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:21 am
Posts: 4841
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:40 pm 
 

Zodijackyl wrote:
the nearest airport in Morgantown, WV.

It's worse considering Morgantown Municipal Airport can't take larger jets because their runway is too short. They'd have to connect flights from either Pittsburgh or Baltimore anyway before getting on a smaller plane with less luggage room.
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TrooperEd being wrong about metal as usual wrote:
Because like it or not this shit needs money, fame and large sold out venues to be sustainable and to survive.

Last.fm

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metalistkrieg
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2003 5:02 pm
Posts: 488
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:31 pm 
 

Because metal or even proper hard rock isn't popular any more and hasn't been for a long time. The scene for outdoor festivals was much bigger in the 80's when metal ruled the land. The funny thing is both Canada and the US are producing awesome metal bands now but the exposure just isn't there like it is in Europe. That's why they prefer playing overseas because the audience is there.

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Lionel Fauquier
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:29 pm
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:07 pm 
 

Thanks for the answers everyone , they have definitely put things into perspective a bit . Though I must say that I still think one could have a shot at putting together a killer open air festival in a more centrally located rural area . Garrett County is indeed not the best example on second thought , however I think one could definitely find enough land to host such a festival in Harford or Cecil County . Of course the other issues that have been brought up still apply , so I will digress here .

P.S. This question might be best suited for a PM to a moderator , in which case I apologize for breaking protocol , but would it be appropriate for me to pose the question of " Would you attend an open air festival with camping facilities in the US ? " in this thread ? Or should I start a separate one for that ?

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Lythronax
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:54 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 5:11 pm 
 

Element_man wrote:
There have been open air events in North America but they tend to tank pretty hard. We have one open air festival going in Canada right now. It's going into it's 8th(?) year and it attracts ~500 people. The guy who runs it went through hell and back in order to get the town behind the festival so he could do it above the book. Another buddy of mine tried to do the same thing. Did it for three years and ended up over $75k in debt.


Which festival? Loud As Hell in Drumheller?

There are also big mixed-genre open air rock festivals in Canada that will always have some metal, but are never all metal. Montebello Rockfest and Heavy Montreal, for example.

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Zodijackyl
Definitely Proportionate

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 7088
Location: Longmont Potion Castle
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 7:59 pm 
 

Lionel Fauquier wrote:
P.S. This question might be best suited for a PM to a moderator , in which case I apologize for breaking protocol , but would it be appropriate for me to pose the question of " Would you attend an open air festival with camping facilities in the US ? " in this thread ? Or should I start a separate one for that ?


Sure, go ahead.

I'd be interested in an open air metalfest, but I'm not excited about camping, and I'd definitely be skeptical of first/second year logistics of this kinda fest. Camping definitely adds another difficult layer of logistics to organizing a fest. Open air isn't preferable to indoors, and I feel like the culture of open air festivals was definitely built in the past - before the cell phone era.

Lionel Fauquier wrote:
Thanks for the answers everyone , they have definitely put things into perspective a bit . Though I must say that I still think one could have a shot at putting together a killer open air festival in a more centrally located rural area . Garrett County is indeed not the best example on second thought , however I think one could definitely find enough land to host such a festival in Harford or Cecil County .


I could see this working. While MDF is a huge draw, it also leans towards extreme metal. I could see a traditional heavy metal/hard rock festival in northeast MD drawing the blue collar banger crowd from Philly and Jersey. It would definitely need to have a different appeal from MDF, rather than competing. On the other hand, I don't know shit about the logistics of renting a farm...

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Lionel Fauquier
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:29 pm
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:34 pm 
 

I'd definitely be interested in attending an open air metalfest , particularly if it was to be hosted in a scenic area with camping facilities . As I've already alluded to , one of my main gripes with festivals like MDF is that they happen to be located in ( IMHO ) ugly urban areas that feature all the typical with parking and such . I also think that an open air festival would be more convenient to navigate , as far as moving from event to event . The whole " let's split a festival between different venues " way of organizing has never appealed to me .

I concede that my opinion is subjective though , since I'm not much of a city person . So with that said I'm curious as to the opinions of others . How many thread participants/forum users would look forward to attending a festival as described above ?

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Lionel Fauquier
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:29 pm
Posts: 13
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:40 pm 
 

Zodijackyl wrote:
Lionel Fauquier wrote:
P.S. This question might be best suited for a PM to a moderator , in which case I apologize for breaking protocol , but would it be appropriate for me to pose the question of " Would you attend an open air festival with camping facilities in the US ? " in this thread ? Or should I start a separate one for that ?


Sure, go ahead.

I'd be interested in an open air metalfest, but I'm not excited about camping, and I'd definitely be skeptical of first/second year logistics of this kinda fest. Camping definitely adds another difficult layer of logistics to organizing a fest. Open air isn't preferable to indoors, and I feel like the culture of open air festivals was definitely built in the past - before the cell phone era.

Lionel Fauquier wrote:
Thanks for the answers everyone , they have definitely put things into perspective a bit . Though I must say that I still think one could have a shot at putting together a killer open air festival in a more centrally located rural area . Garrett County is indeed not the best example on second thought , however I think one could definitely find enough land to host such a festival in Harford or Cecil County .


I could see this working. While MDF is a huge draw, it also leans towards extreme metal. I could see a traditional heavy metal/hard rock festival in northeast MD drawing the blue collar banger crowd from Philly and Jersey. It would definitely need to have a different appeal from MDF, rather than competing. On the other hand, I don't know shit about the logistics of renting a farm...


Thanks for the answer . With respect to the issue of renting a farm , while I'm no expert , I think it's definitely doable . Especially if the farmer in question is already in the business of renting out their land for the hosting of various events .

In short I think that as long as hosting a festival such as this would be done with proper PR ( i.e. local townsfolk would be assured that the area wouldn't be pillaged by scary looking biker types ) , then I dare say that certain rural areas would even welcome such an event as a boost to the local economy . Such a thing would obviously take time to develop , however I think that it could be definitely accomplished as long as proper measures were to be put in place at said festival .

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narsilianshard
Metalhead

Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 1785
Location: Louisville
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:12 pm 
 

What's with all the hypotheticals? Again, this already exists and is extremely successful: http://fullterrorassault.com

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praey
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:33 am
Posts: 546
Location: United States
PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:37 pm 
 

Yeah, not to mention you have Shadow Woods Metal Fest, which is an outdoor fest that not only takes place in Maryland but about a 45 minute drive from where Maryland Deathfest occurs. At least the first couple iterations were, I guess it's being relocated to Virginia this year but the point still stands, these types of festivals already exist in the US, they're just not as common as in Europe.

http://www.shadowwoodsmetalfest.com

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