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A not so silent night

“Burning Ghats has been lucky enough to play every single Diecember Fest! Some of the best heavy bands in the city, blowing your eggnog riddled brain for two nights at one of the best venues in town, all for a great cause. Would you rather be at your creepy uncle's house singing Christmas carols?” jokes Cam Strudwick of Burning Ghats.

Christmas may only come once a year, but Diecember Fest comes twice and once again the musical underground of Vancouver will congregate for their annual holiday party. This event keeps gathering momentum and has become a tremendous tradition in this city. Johnny Matter from Apocalypse Productions has been at the helm since day one. He created a festival that has gained a life of its own and since then has since enlisted fellow local promoters Crowsnest, Invisible Orange and Nothing Is Heavy. “Crowsnest has been an essential part of the fest for the last four years and NIH has helped out for two. [Working] with co-promotion and getting on board some of the bands they manage,” says Matter. “I wanted to invite Invisible Orange to the promoter roster this year. They book some of the best metal shows this city has to offer and are wonderful to work with.” Add in some of Vancouver’s cream-of-the-crop bands and you will have what they call a plum treat.

Don’t let the morbid name fool you; after all, this is a festival for the underground. Diecember Fest may be an alternative to the holiday doldrums, but it also embraces all that is in the spirit of the season. Food bank donations are accepted in exchange for raffle tickets. The prizes donated come from the bands, promoters and various local businesses including gift certificates, meals, tattoo ink time, music, clothing and more! A Rad Santa will be giving presents out in between sets. Last year he got as “red-nosed as Rudolph” and was found crowd surfing as he handed out gifts. There is even a Christmas tree.

With many returning bands from previous festivals, each year Matter mixes in fresh recruits with always-premiere talent onstage. Some of the returning bands sound off on what makes Diecember Fest such a lovable affair:

“Including this year we’ve played Diecember Fest twice. Personally, I've been to every one and it's something I've always looked forward to as a patron, and of course have always looked forward to the day where I would be able to join my comrades onstage. Last year that moment finally came. I was stoked!” exclaims Ogroem’s John Grindall.

“This will be the Villain Avian Symphony’s second time. It's the coolest thing to happen before the Christmas blues start setting in. Before people start heading out back home to family. We get a weekend where we can all hang out as a community; have some chuckles and a lot of beers. The charity aspect of it is big for us. Every year the donations have gotten bigger and the bands are more receptive to pitching in themselves as well,” explains VAS’ Denyss McKnight.

“We’ve played four. Diecember Fest is my favorite show of the year.
Its always full of great bands and we get to round off the year with great tunes and good friends! It never feels like a serious show or something with egos. It’s just a great big party featuring amazing music and it donates to a good cause. You won't see too many crossed arms at this show!” adds Taylor Lipton of Abriosis.

Expect a heavily weighted sixteen band weekend with: Life Against Death, Abriosis, Bog, Astrakhan, Destroy All, Witch Of The Waste, Nightterrors, and Clandestine are for the first night. Burning Ghats, Ogroem, The Villain Avian Symphony, M16, Neck Of The Woods, Expain, Hopeleus, and The Hallowed Catharsis get set to shred night number two of this extravaganza. Remember kids, Santa is watching. This is your chance to be naughty.

Diecember Fest runs December 5 & 6 at The Rickshaw Theatre.

-by Heath Fenton