We always look forward to festival season, but we have been anticipating the Doomed & Stoned Fest as much as any other. They also are keeping the festival season running late into the year by booking the show in November. As we get closer and closer to that date circled on our calendar we get more anxious. Luckily we had the opportunity to speak with Executive Editor and Festival coordinator Melissa Collins and talked about some of the festivals logistics, bands, and everything else going on in Indy that weekend.
Metal Nexus: How were the bands for Doomed & Stoned Fest selected? Was it personal choice, availability, or what?
Melissa Collins: It was mostly my choice, although I’ve been open to any and all suggestions. Mostly, I tried to think of bands somewhat near the Midwest that haven’t played here. Initially, the idea was for it to be all local bands except the headliner however, it became clear to me that would be a horrible idea. I’d make very little money because a third of the audience would be the bands.There still is a heavy presence of Indiana doom on the lineup. The first band that wanted to play it was Demon Eye. I’ve been trying to get those dudes here for a few years and I was stoked when they joined. Then they suggested Brimstone Coven and it’s funny because Andrew D’Cagna messaged me later that night so that was a done deal. Clouds Taste Satanic and Black Urn were big pushes from Billy Goate. I brought Horseburner on after Drew Smith of Archarus pushed for them hard.
Metal Nexus: Is a festival this size a logistics nightmare?
Melissa Collins: Yes and no. This has by no means been an impossible task, but I’ve had an overwhelming amount of help. Shannon and Mona over at The 5th Quarter Lounge are some of the greatest humans I know. They’ve been very supportive of Doomed & Stoned since the start. They’ve hooked me up with tons of great interviews, allow me to film shows pretty regularly and now they are the host of the first ever Doomed & Stoned Festival! One of the sponsors, Indy Metal Shows built the very professional website and have been doing lots of preview coverage as well. I literally could not do this festival without all these wonderful people playing some role in ensuring this thing kicks ass. Nearly weekly I think to myself “What did I get myself into?” but together we all figure it out.
Metal Nexus: Underground music in the U.S. – do you see it as thriving, dying, neither..what is your opinion of it currently?
Melissa Collins: I’ve been actively listening to metal since 2006. I realize there are plenty of old schoolers out there with a more broad perspective on heavy metal than mine, but I confidently stand by the fact that metal is not dying. Despite so many people blindly believing “There’s no good music anymore”, the heavy underground is showing otherwise! Especially here in the Midwest, there’s a sea of killer bands like Karma To Burn and Apostle of Solitude. If I go to any well promoted show, I see young kids in their early 20’s, I see couples in their sixties and everything in between. That shows me that heavy metal is alive!
Metal Nexus: Was there any bands you really went after for the festival but was unable to get due to timing or anything like that?
Melissa Collins: Oh tons. I can’t believe how this festival took off, I was wading through hundreds of submissions. One promise I made and kept was that once a band was accepted, I would not remove them from the festival. Rozamov was one of those bands that was late to the party. I really wanted Wretch on, but I was running out of money and they are looking to do bigger things than a hometown festival anyway. I went back and forth with Disenchanter for awhile when we decided to just try again next year. As for headliners, that also happened. I was in the talks with Wo Fat, Black Pyramid and Come To Grief. Cough was one of the first headliner caliber bands I tried to reach out to, but they didn’t respond. I gave them a shot about a month later and got a response. Many bands I tried to contact didn’t respond at all. Maybe that’s all part of it, I’m very happy with Cough and Bell Witch headlining.
Metal Nexus: Being this is the first Doomed & Stoned Festival, What has been the biggest challenge or learning experience?
Melissa Collins: To just say no. I really found that out when I was making the schedule and near every band wanted to play at 9:30pm. It got to the point where I had to say “This is your time slot and if you don’t like it, tough shit”. Of course, some bands were very easy to work with but you can’t please everyone. Another challenging thng has been getting out and doing real life promotion. I work full time and have a toddler, but I’ve had to just make the time to do it.
Metal Nexus: What makes Indianapolis a great destination for a festival in comparison to other locations where doom or stoner rock festivals are held? Like Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick, Maryland, Full Terror Assault in Cave In Rock, Illinois ect…?
Melissa Collins: The Fifth Quarter Lounge is right down the road from a cool community called Fountain Square. Fountain Square is great place, Big Business played a festival there last year. A must see visit spot for visitors, is a restaurant in Fountain Square called Kuma’s Corner. It’s a heavy metal themed burger joint with a full bar. All the burgers are named after bands and they have a rotating Burger of the Month. They play only heavy metal and have awesome art on the walls, plus a patio. Broad Ripple is another great community with plenty of record shops and cool bars to check out.
Metal Nexus: When did the idea for this festival first come about, and how long has it been in the works?
Melissa Collins: The idea kinda surfaced early in 2016 when I created a compilation of all Indiana bands, simply titled “Doomed & Stoned in Indiana”. There was a bit of demand for a Doomed & Stoned Festival but it seemed to be in jest. After awhile though, “I could never have a festival” turned into “I totally CAN have a festival!”. I really thought about it for a few months and the serious planning started around June.
Metal Nexus: Is there any goals you have set for the festival?
Melissa Collins: Honestly, just for it to be fun! Financially I’ll be happy to just break even, but this isn’t a money driven thing. A lot of these bands really seem to be buds with each other, even playing little mini tours around the festival so my hope is just for this to be a kick ass time. I also hope for these bands to find new faces in the crowd that become fans, which will in turn ensure in the heavy underground remains strong.
Metal Nexus: What bands should we be on the look out to make a dent in 2017?
Melissa Collins: Demon Eye is working on a new album, I’ll really be anticipating that. I hope Spirit Division starts to break into new territory in 2017. I think they’re an amazing band, I even pride myself on being their biggest fan so I don’t understand why they haven’t had more success.
Metal Nexus: As one of the festival promoters who are you most looking forward to seeing perform?
Melissa Collins: I’m definitely pumped for Demon Eye. Both headliners will be great and I’m quite hyped up for Beezlefuzz and Pale Divine. As far as local bands go, Thorr-Axe are quite incredible live and they’ll be starting the festival! Void King is also a great new band to be looking for.
Metal Nexus: Other than music can you tell us about any vendors or anything else festival goers may experience?
Melissa Collins: Doomed & Stoned will have our own merch booth set up. Twin Earth Records is another sponsor and they are sending tons of items to sell. I’m also working on getting shirts made. The artist who made the poster, Aaron Anthony Baker will have his own booth set up. He’s incredible and has done gig posters for The Sword, Goatsnake, The Melvins and more. We’ll also have food trucks both days. Bacon Station will be there for day one and Citizen Hash will be there day two.
Metal Nexus: Of course we know you are also not only a promoter and editor for Doomed & Stoned but also a fan, what bands are you looking to thrive in 2017?
Melissa Collins: Besides the bands playing this festival, I’m very excited about Sweden’s Vokonis! I also just heard that Scissorfight is making their first album in about ten years so I suggest following them and Salt of the Earth records for that release. Hour of 13 recently reformed as well, there’s lot of potential for 2017!
Metal Nexus: For someone that is on the fence about attending the festival, what would you say to persuade them to attend?
Melissa Collins: For people in the Midwest, how often do we have a great doom and stoner festival lined up? For those outside the area, just remember that festivals don’t go to people, people go to festivals! One charm I think we have is that me and Billy are also viewing this event as a big meet up with so many people we’ve been interacting with daily online. This is a very inexpensive event and with ideal parking and food vendors onsite, the Fifth Quarter Lounge is your destination!
If you haven’t yet picked up your tickets or made arrangements we suggest you do so now. For more on the festival visit their Facebook page here, and also the event page here. We will be there on site reviewing the festival, interviewing bands and throwing our horns in the air. Feel free to say hello if you see one of us. Myself (Fist) founder and editor, our co-founder and metal encyclopedia Dragon, and our lovely and talented photographer Jess will be taking in all the weekends festivities. Don’t miss your chance to see some amazing bands, and have a killer weekend in Indy.