Guest writer Shruti Kumar wrote about her experience at Maryland Death Fest and wanted us to put it up here. It’s a nice little read that gives some insight into the things people are willing to do to see the best extreme metal festival in contemporary times. She’s an Indian who currently resides in Australia as a permanent citizen, and regularly attends local shows as well. Read on:
So here I was, looking at the Maryland Deathfest XII lineup for the first time. I’m your typical overseas-based university student, with only a fast food job to sustain my gig needs and this wasn’t even a local show. I’d always wistfully gazed at MDF lineups every year but this time the lineup was so fucking unreal that I just HAD to be there. Mostly for the fact that I’ll get to see Immolation twice because I’m a massive Immolation fangirl and by massive I mean being-at-the-front-taking-pictures-screaming-for-autographs fangirl. I hardly ever feel like that for a band because let’s face it, band members are probably just as fucked up as you are, if not more. So anyway, to make this work, I’d have to sort out money, flights, visas, university, immigration and parents (yes, that is actually a legitimate concern for an Indian kid). I had traveled internationally before, but never alone. Thankfully, I have super liberal and highly educated parents, who even though were initially reluctant to let their little girl go alone to a foreign country for an extreme metal festival, eventually thought that this would be good to make me self-sufficient. For money, I worked my arse off and saved up cash. Stopped spending as much, worked full time for the three months I had off after my second semester finished. One thing I had decided right from the start was that I’ll have to make this happen by myself so I didn’t burden my parents financially. Money and parents sorted. Now for the worst part, immigration. Immigration was the one thing that made organizing this trip a massive pain and a lot more difficult than it should’ve been. I lost my passport so I had to deal with cops and some really nasty people at immigration but once my application was finally in, it was just the wait. Oh, the fucking wait. It took about a month for me to get it back but little did I know that my problems had just started. Because bam! As you can guess, it was time for me to get visas. Since I’m a permanent resident in Australia but actually an Indian citizen, I had to get two visas. I won’t bore you with the details, but long story short, the US tourist visa was the reason that led me to be uncertain if I was even gonna make it till the last minute. Literally. I really wish I was kidding, but nope. My visa interview was 2 days before my flight was supposed to leave. Thankfully, I didn’t buy tickets and decided to wait till my visas came through ‘cause I’m smart like that. Anyway, my visa got approved but I read on the US immigration website that my passport won’t be sent back to me within five days. BA DUM TSS! All my hopes of going to the US crushed in a minute. All the months I spent working hard and dealing with immigration gone for nothing. It affected me more than any break up I ever had and it was just plain awful. So much so that I tried to find solace in alcohol when I don’t even fucking drink. But life had something else in store for me. The very next day I found out that my passport had been shipped and I would be able to go to the US afterall! So I did end up going, albeit three days later than planned. It was pretty outrageous, I got my flight tickets at 4 pm and my flight left 7 am the next morning. But as you would’ve guessed by now, I’m a pretty crazy person. It was a jampacked trip, with so much to do and see in just a week. But I was up for it. I admit, I’ve been a very naughty girl to make this work, I skipped uni and rescheduled a few assessments. But look at the fucking lineup! Can you blame me? In a matter of four days I saw Immolation, Incantation, Asphyx, Gorguts, Necros Christos, Mgla, Pseudogod, Coffins, Noothgrush, Crowbar, Agalloch and so many others. Phew! And I was right at the front for almost everything because if you haven’t experienced a band up front, I highly recommend it. I also got to meet Ross Dolan and Rob Vigna of Immolation which was an absolute dream true and made my US trip worthwhile straightaway. I also had great company, my friends Gautam and Nikhil, who were so much fun to hang with! Here’s a few day-to-day updates/diary notes from the time I was in MDF and then came back:
After the prefest gig: Got to see Immolation in a private gig environment and being practically on top of the stage for the entire thing. Had a super long chat with Ross Dolan and Bob Vigna and it really is amazing to know that your favourite band is comprised of really down-to-earth people instead of dickheads, which they very well deserve to be considering the unreal music they make. They played Into Everlasting Fire! I think now I can die happy.
MDF Day 1: Coffins were so fucking good! It’s that amazing feeling you get when you finally see a band you’ve been obsessing about for ages. Every track they played off their Buried Death album made their set exponentially great. Crowbar were insanely heavy and other highlights included Whitehorse and Sourvein. Bring on tomorrow!
MDF Day 2: Watching Incantation, Bölzer, Agalloch, Mgla, Necros Christos, Cancer, The Ruins of Beverast, At The Gates and Taake back to back on the same day. FUUUUUUUUUCK. This lineup has ruined every music festival for me. Also, bumped into Ross Dolan again and he recognized me. Fuck yeah. Winning.
MDF Day 3: HOLY FUCKING SHIT. Asphyx were fucking perfect. Reformed Pungent Stench and Hooded Menace were really tight and so were Tankard, Dark Angel and Noothgrush. Got my hardcore/grind fix from Victims, Dropdead and Birdflesh. Machetazo destroyed the venue and there were many others I can’t be bothered mentioning. I’m gonna have some serious psychological depression after this festival ends but fucking hell, so many happy feels right now.
MDF Day 4: Candlemass. Owned. Everyfuckingthing. So much stoner/sludgy/doomy goodness today with My Dying Bride, Bongripper, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats and Soilent Green. Inquisition rocked my socks and so did Pseudogod and Gorguts. Immolation ending the festival with a second set was probably the best farewell to MDF. Can’t believe I’m flying back to Sydney tomorrow, it’ll take me some time to readjust to drab ol’ life again.
On my way back to Australia: Homeward bound. Maryland Deathfest was amazing, never did I see so many bands, have so many people stage dive on my head and have so many guys come up to me and tell me they thought I was gorgeous (which included this creepy Argentinean guy who wanted to get a picture of me). Even though I’m now drugged on painkillers because I headbanged too much and have heaps of overdue assignments and a raging jetlag to look forward to, there’s nothing in my life I want to change right now.
So I’m back home now , with 0$ in my bank account and having some serious MDF withdrawals. Everything is dull in comparison to the time I had. After some of the shit I pulled to make this happen, I don’t know if I’d ever get to do this again. But hey, it was totally worth it.
– Shruti Kumar