By Sarah Kitteringham
“It’s very simple really… We have played at a variety of ‘destination’ festivals over the years and I thought Red Deer deserved something to call its own.”
So begins Justin Shadows of his creation of Days of the Dead Festival, a multi-venue event that has expanded since its inception in 2014. Shadows is a utterly invaluable promoter within the heavy music scene in Red Deer who began booking in 2012 and has since booked around 200 concerts. The voice behind the “currently on hiatus” groove metal band Leave the Living and ongoing owner of Shadows Productions, Justin has long been a vital part of developing a robust music community within the relatively small city of 100 000 people. His flagship event is the Days of the Dead Festival, now on its fourth rendition. Featuring 37 bands over four days, there is something for every punk, metal, and hardcore fan.
“The goal with this years fest was to provide a little something for everyone while still maintaining a exceptionally high level of musicianship,” he says of the festival, which runs from October 26 until October 29 at the Vat and the International Beer Haus. In addition to bands, there will be costume competitions and a freak show. Running the weekend directly before Halloween, the event encourages participation in the upcoming holiday to the soundtrack of brutality.
“For bands I haven’t booked before it’s tough to play favorites but I am very excited about [Vancouver death groove act] Without Mercy, [Kelowna deathcore band] DropDeadFred and [Calgary based dissonant death grind project] Spurn. None have ever played Red Deer before and I’m excited to see what they can do,” he says. As for bands previously scheduled that are making a repeat appearance, Shadows is most thrilled for
“[Edmonton prog rock project] Tylor Dory Trio and [Calgary crushing death metallers] Kyoktys because they’ve destroyed the stage when given a spot.”
A host of other bands will perform, hailing from provinces stretching across British Columbia to Ontario.
“It was just hard to narrow down all the submissions to the final roster,” says Shadows. “There are a ton of very talented bands around Canada and I think it’s cool we have bands from five different provinces playing. I think the triumph is that we’ve managed to sell out for three years so far and everyone seems to have a blast.”
Tickets for the weekend and pre-party are available now.
Tickets for Days of the Dead IV are available now online at https://www.myshowpass.com/days-of-the-dead/. The event runs from October 26 to October 29 at the Vat Pub and the International Beer Haus. The final day of the festival is all-ages.Days of the Dead Festival IV, International Beer Haus, Vat Pub