Since 2017, Grim Reefer Fest has been an annual Baltimore-based bash. The fest was created and hosted by members of Haze Mage and High Underground Booking. Last year we interviewed festival co-founder Scott Brenner who proudly discussed the fest’s mix of doom, psychedelic, acid rock, post metal, stoner metal, and everything in between. The fest’s primary mission is celebrating “the amazing variety of regional heavy bands from around the east coast (and beyond) rolled up into one heavy-hitting live show.” But this year Grim Reefer Fest also welcomes some midwestern menace from Bongzilla and a double-dose of New York doom. Oregonian oddballs Wizard Rifle will discharge a wild set as well. This year, the fest will give Baltimore’s Ottobar a contact high on April 29th. Good news, you can still grab tickets to the biggest rendition of this fest yet.
“We’re so very excited and proud of what this year’s Grim Reefer Fest has to offer” Brenner shares. “It’s our biggest and most ambitious one yet. We have 10 bands, which is the most we have hosted. That includes a huge headlining band (Bongzilla), which has been a goal of ours since its inception in 2017. Also, over half of the line up is from out of state. It’s a very full day of great music, delicious food, and the best people the scene has to offer. We’re very grateful for the support we’ve received from the Ottobar and our incredible music scene which has allowed each iteration to be bigger and better than the year before. We have lots of ambitions for how we would like to continue to grow this incredible grassroots event for years to come!”
Here are some of our favorite tracks from each band on Grim Reefer Fest’s stacked lineup.
These Weedconsin sludge titans have been dealing blunt force trauma since 1995. This song is exactly 4 minutes and 20 seconds and boasts one of my favorite stoner stomps.
By now you’ve probably heard something about “the swamp” in Washington DC. 15 years into their term, Ilsa still sounds like they crawled straight out of black muck with their misanthropic death sludge.
Stoner rock for burnouts who like beer and boogie with their bud. Press play and study riffography with these DC delinquents.
Members of Haze Mage created and run this fest. They bring trad metal swagger and Danzig’s theatrics to stoner doom, as well as a world of warlocks and bong witches. In fact, that song was played during my own wedding reception.
Bruising yet melodic, with neck-snapping tempo spasms. These Long Island lords of emptiness get fast ‘n’ nasty on this personal fav.
These raucous Portland rockers blast down genre walls. It’s heavy, loud, and elusive. Plus, they wrote “Rocket to Hell”—one of the best heavy psych songs of the past 5 years.
Faith In Jane
These Maryland rockers released a four-volume “bootleg” series demonstrating their improvisational prowess. But this soulful, grungy anthem packs that power into a seven minute serenade.
Radiant doom rock from New York. Their harmonies flicker like solar flares. Close your eyes and drift to another world. You’ll return to Earth in a better mood.
Sunbleached psych rock that roams interstellar deserts. Every time I hear jam rock I wish it sounded a million times more like this.
This is a new project from Haze Mage drummer JD. Self-described as “Shredding Doom from Baltimore.” No music available yet, but follow them for news and updates.