Deathscape Trolls Maryland Deathfest, MDF Attendees Troll Back
Over the weekend, near the gates of Maryland Deathfest’s Edison Lot, a few scantily clad women stood, holding signs that read, “Maryland Deathscape, 25 Bands, No Cover, $3 Beers, All Ages, Open Til 2AM, Sonar,” presumably making a few MDF attendees do a double take. Yes you read it correctly. That’s Deathscape, not Deathfest.
Deathscape it seems, is a quickly cobbled together knock-off festival at Paparazzi (the former site of MDF back when it was Sonar), rebranded for the weekend as “Sonar,” and if not exactly competing with MDF, most certainly glomming onto its domination of downtown over the weekend.
MDF-goers in the know immediately took issue with Paparazzi calling itself “Sonar” for Deathscape. Last year, Paparazzi (who took over Sonar in February of 2013) became Sonar for the weekend in
cooperation with MDF because MDF and the old Sonar have a long and healthy relationship. But MDF and “Sonar” ended their relationship after last year’s fest.
Issues with “Sonar” were documented briefly in the MDF documentary, Welcome To Deathfest, directed by Tom Grahsler and Alicia Lozano, and included Paparazzi management (different than Sonar management as it was previously known) allegedly creating problems for MDF-approved vendors, and failing to provide green rooms and safes for performers after promising to do so.
“Believe it or not this fest is now on auto pilot,” wrote Paul Dorin, “the sole organizer of Deathscape” on Saturday. He was emailing from Germany where he currently is for his “real job,” which he described as “a tour manager for a solo music artist.” Dorin has worked with the current management of Paparazzi/”Sonar” since installing a sound system there last year. “The management of Sonar was upset that MDF took their fest to the place that they suggested to MDF to park cars,” Dorin explains and they asked him “to book a high budget competing fest.”
Dorin says that he “said no on 20 occasions” because “no agent in their right mind would burn their MDF bridge.” Instead, Dorin suggested something smaller, which he assumed might upset people but wouldn’t truly compete with MDF. The only profit derived from Deathscape would come from “beer sales” and “each band [was] guaranteed $100 regardless.” His goal for Deathscape was simple: “a lighthearted excuse to drink beer for people who can’t afford MDF, or were bored with the Edison lot, or needed a bathroom or some A/C.”
A status update on the Deathscape Facebook page on May 23rd declared Deathscape Dorin’s “own personal waynestock,” a reference to the dream concert put on in ’90s comedy, Wayne’s World 2. Dorin also ended the message with, “Thanks for the free press!,” a nod to the dozens of jokes and insults that swarmed the Deathscape event page on Facebook.
Indeed, Deathscape seemed most relevant on Facebook. The event page was overloaded by people clowning the festival. You can take a look for yourself, though the general gist of the posts leaned towards easy jokes about Juggalos, Hot Topic, and other general cheap shots at white trash culture (or quips about foam parties and bottle service, stereotyping Paparazzi’s typical clientele). These Facebook jerks, some of whom cared about knocking Deathscape down a few pegs because they had a stake in MDF, some of whom were there just to pile-on with cheap, classist jokes because you know, the Internet, ultimately engendered some sympathy for Deathscape.
The kind of snobbery filling up the Facebook page made it apparent that the bands playing Deathscape were not the “right” kind of metal bands, which means there is a “right” kind of metal band and that’s, well, bullshit. Realistically, the bands that played Deathscape were never going to be taken seriously by the majority of MDF attendees and so, claims that they have now ostracized an arm of the metal scene by siding with Paparazzi are insincere. The scene wouldn’t have indulged most of these Deathscape bands anyway.
Deathscape’s existence is baffling, though. It was free, which means it was driven by spite rather than profit. And then there’s Dorin, booking bands he digs, vigorously defending his fest on Facebook, and ending up in another country the weekend of the fest and as a result, not even there to attend or lord over the thing. The only truly offensive element of Deathscape (unless you consider people liking different, less cool heavy music actually offensive) was that Paparazzi enabled a quasi-competing metal festival on the same weekend as MDF and called themselves “Sonar” to do it and that’s pretty inside baseball type shit to get pissed off about.
Perhaps, if animosity between MDF and Paparazzi wasn’t so fractious, and if Pap had any sincere interest in providing more metal to the city this past weekend, then Deathscape could’ve been seen as a free unofficial satellite show, instead of something trying to ride MDF’s success, “mockbuster”-style.
As to whether there will be a Deathscape next year? “If I get a budget, I’d love to,” Dorin writes. Let’s hope he’s in the country for the second installment of his supposed dream fest, if it happens. As for the Facebook peanut gallery, well they’ve got a whole year to come up with some better Juggalo jokes. Meanwhile, Maryland Deathfest was by all accounts, a resounding success.