Maryland Deathfest, which is often simply referred to as MDF, is an extreme music event that takes place in Baltimore, Maryland. It is typically held during the Memorial Day weekend. The idea behind the festival is to provide a platform for extreme music bands.
Since the festival first began in 2003, it has grown into one of the largest events of its kind in the country. It was the brainchild of two hardcore fans of extreme metal music. Thanks to its continued success, the organizers have taken the event to other locations like California, Quebec, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
Maryland is the place where it all began and continues to remain the event’s flagship location. The annual lineup features many different genres, including death metal, thrash, grindcore, black metal, doom, and hardcore. Over the years, Maryland Deathfest has showcased hundreds of bands from more than 30 countries.
Renowned bands from the underground scene, as well as emerging artists, perform at the event. Artists like Devourment, Soils of Fate, Internal Suffering, Circle of Dead Children, Ion Dissonance, General Surgery, Electro Quarterstaff, Severe Torture, Skitsystem, Defeated Sanity, Venomous Concept, Incantation, Haemorrhage, and The Obsessed have been a part of Maryland Deathfest in the past.
Maryland Deathfest tickets can be purchased online via one of the event’s ticketing partners. They may also be available for purchase at the two venues—Ram’s Head Live and Baltimore Soundstage. Patrons can choose between venue-specific single-day or three-day passes. There is also a four-day pass that will give you access to the shows at both the venues and a Rams Head VIP pass. VIP ticket holders will be able to enjoy perks like free festival merchandise, access to a separate seating area, and a VIP bar. Tickets typically range in price from $35 (single-day Soundstage pass) to $250 (four-day all-venue pass).
Maryland Deathfest takes place at two different venues, Ram’s Head Live! and Baltimore Soundstage. They are located in the downtown area and Baltimore Soundstage is a three-minute walk from Ram’s Head Live. If you’re driving to the venue, use your GPS app to direct you to the intersection of Water Street and Market Place. Maryland 511 road and weather updates are available by phone or online.
You can park your car or smaller campervan at one of the garages or parking lots close to the festival site. It’s best to reserve your spot by booking it online in advance. These tend to fill up fast on the days of the event. Metered street parking may also be available. If you're in a large RV, it may be challenging to find parking near the venues, so it might be preferable to take a tow vehicle or public transportation once you reach Downtown Baltimore.
Taking the Baltimore Metro is a convenient way to get to the venue. The closest station stop is Shot Tower / Market Place, which is only about 350 meters away. So you can hop off the train and walk to the festival. Alternatively, you could use a ride-hailing service to reach the festival site.
Maryland Deathfest does not offer onsite camping options. Baltimore is the top tourist destination in Maryland, so you’ll have plenty of campgrounds and RV parks to choose from in the region.
You’ll find several well-equipped camping sites within a 15 miles radius. Patapsco Valley State Park is only about 11 miles away and offers access to the beautiful Patapsco River. The park is located close to the downtown area, and the sites come with facilities like full-hookups, making it a great option. Washington DC / Capitol KOA sits about a 40-minute drive to the south and lands you in the forestlands of Severn Run National Environment Area.
Baltimore is a walking-friendly city, and Deathfest fans can easily move between the two festival sites on foot. The venues are small and standing-room-only with a limited number of seats unless you’re in the VIP section. Ram’s Head Live! and Baltimore Soundstage may each handle accessibility needs differently, so it may be helpful to note your need in advance if you would like assistance at either location.
Since the festival celebrates all things death metal and extreme, fellow Maryland Deathfest music enthusiasts will likely be dressed predominantly in black clothing and gear. You’ll also see a few band t-shirts and attention-grabbing headpieces and creative wardrobe additions. Anything goes as long as it is not deemed offensive or racist.
Backpacks or large bags will not be allowed into the venues. Go empty-handed or carry a small bag with your essentials like hand sanitizer, breath mints, and a portable charger. If you plan on enjoying the region’s beautiful waterways while you’re there, carry the gear you’ll need like swim trunks or a fishing rod.
Outside alcohol will not be permitted in the venues. Also, avoid bringing or wearing any chains, spiked jewelry, weapons, or illegal substances. Stay hydrated and pace yourself if you plan on drinking alcohol. The nights can be pretty cold, so store extra blankets and warm clothing in your RV.
A hot meal cooked on a roaring campfire can be the perfect end to a long day. Get the crew to pitch in and cook a tasty chili or a warming soup. If your campsite does not allow open fires, you can always prepare meals on the stove in your RV. Small portable grills are also usually allowed. Load up your campervan shelves before you arrive as grocery options may be limited near campgrounds in the Baltimore area.
If you’re too tired to cook after a day of headbanging to your favorite metal bands, you can always head to one of the restaurants nearby in Baltimore. If you love seafood, you’re in the right place. You won't want to leave the city without trying the famous steamed blue crabs or the fresh oysters.
Tasty food and drinks will be available at both venues. There will be a food kiosk within Ram’s Head Live! where guests can purchase yummy fast food treats like hot dogs and pizzas. Alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages will be sold at the bars. Vegans and vegetarians will also have plenty of delicious dining options.
Both venues will have their own measures in place to ensure the safety of guests and bags and belongings will be searched before guests enter the venues. You may be subjected to an airport-style pat-down as well. Anyone disrupting the peace or not abiding by the guidelines of the venue will be asked to leave without a refund.
Daytime temperatures typically range in the high 70s. The nights tend to be much cooler, so you will need some warm outerwear. Maryland Deathfest locations are primarily indoor related, so most activities are likely to continue regardless of weather conditions. The festival’s social media pages will be updated regularly, as well.
Basic first aid will be available at the venues. In the case of an emergency, the closest medical center is less than two miles away. Any prescription medication that you need to take in with your much be in its original container. You’ll also need to present a valid ID that matches the prescription. Pharmacy locations may be easier to walk to if traffic is congested downtown, or additional options may be along the route to your campsite.