Though The Jamwich features mostly jam bands, we often branch out into other genres, as music fans’ preferences vary wildly and we find that most often, a music lover is appreciative of all kinds of music as long as it fits a small criteria – that it’s good and it makes the listener feel something.  While the dark aesthetics and heavy sounds of metal music is a far cry from the tie-dye noodle fest that is jam bands, we are not so surprised to find metal fans within the jam scene fairly often, sometimes as their “dirty secret” and sometimes proudly as their first-loved genre.  

I first got to know M.A. Spiro because of her local music festival Shadow Woods, when we spoke about venues and vendors and shared general knowledge with each other.  I learned that we have so much common ground in our mutual love of music and the power of gathering like-minded individuals together. I was so glad to hear that she is doing an indoor winter version of her music festival called Shadow Frost – which might be the perfect opportunity for you to dig out some of your black t-shirts and feed your dark side with some quality music from nationally touring and local metal bands handpicked by M.A.  We spoke to her a little bit about this scene and this event in our interview below.

M.A. Spiro pictured in very center (with gray and black hair).

How did you get into metal music and what is your favorite band?

I started listening to metal when I was a teenager — Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, stuff like that. I left metal for a long time and was more into punk. I came back in the later 90’s. My favorite bands are probably Craft from Sweden and Enslaved from Norway. But I listen to a lot of very obscure music.

What metal festivals have you attended besides your own? What was your first? What did you enjoy the most about these events?

I usually go to Maryland Deathfest. My first metal fest was probably one of the big ones, Ozzfest or something. But the best fest was Stella Natura in the Tahoe National Forest. I loved being able to camp even though it snowed! I loved the rugged terrain. I loved being able to listen to music from my tent all night long. I also enjoy Messe des Morts, held in November in Montreal. That’s an all black metal fest held in a former church. Highly appropriate!

Have you attended concerts or festivals for music of other genres? Is there a certain band or genre that you enjoy that we might not expect?

The best non-metal fest I attended was the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. This is a huge bluegrass fest with a flat-picking contest–and camping and all night jam sessions, of course.

Vastum – Shadow Frost headliner.

There is certainly more crossover than we might realize from jam fans to metal fans, I meet fans of metal music all the time, especially those who work in music production.  What is it about this music that you think draws people of all types?

Metal is the music of nerds and introverts. In metal you really don’t have to strongly interact with anyone to feel welcomed into a community. Of course there are extroverts who like to party and run around,  but by and large, it’s introverts who want to feel their feels in tandem with other people. The metal community is also filled with super smart, intellectual people who work in the sciences or technology or the arts and service industries. 

Camping at Shadow Woods Music Festival.

Have you done Shadow Frost before?  Why did you want to create this event?

This is the first time for Shadow Frost Music and Arts Fest. Because it is in a hotel and ballroom, I think it will be more like a metal-con (like comic con). But I like that we can all be in one place and don’t have to drive or go outside in the cold.  It’s an experiment and diverges from the Shadow Woods formula of camping in the woods. You camp in your hotel room. I told people to bring their tents if they want but just don’t start a bonfire in your room! Shadow Woods V will return again in August 2020. 

Clarion Inn Hotel in Frederick, MD.

Can you tell us a little bit about the venue? Are you able to book a room for the duration of the festival?

The venue is the Clarion Inn Hotel in Frederick, MD. They have a tavern, a pool and game room, and a huge ballroom where the bands will play. There will also be areas for vendors. There are discounted rooms for the fest if you book with the link on our FB page before January  20, 2020.

How many vendors will there be?  Any vendors that you would like to mention?

We should have about 20 vendors. It will be everything from clothing to jewelry and there will even be a tattoo artist onsite. 

How do you choose the bands that will appear on the lineup?   Are there locations or genres that you pay attention to when you curate these lineups?

I don’t really think about locations, although there are a lot of local and regional bands playing. I try to find the best underground bands but also bands with people who are nice and good to work with. I choose from my own playlist of songs and from the playlists of trusted metal curators I know. 

Lydia of Polemicist.

Is there a lesser known band on the lineup that we definitely have to check out?

The newer band Polemicist from Philly is getting a lot of buzz. Their guitarist Lydia Giordano is a true shredder! Radamanthys is a technical death metal band from Maryland that I have followed for a while and have really emerged as a top local band. 

Are there a lot of multi-band, multi-day metal festivals like this in the area?  I’m not as well versed in the scene so there might be a lot more than I’m aware of!

The multi-day ones are  Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore over Memorial Day weekend and Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick in June.

What sets yours apart from the others?

Shadow Frost (like Shadow Woods) is an experiment. You don’t hear about a bunch of bands and fans taking over an entire hotel or an entire camp, but that’s what we are fixing to do! I try to create an all inclusive experiences. You are in the venue, you sleep in the venue, you party there, you have workshops there. Other events are just go to the venue and leave. 

What kind of crowd comes to these gatherings? Is this a family friendly event?

I think outdoor music fests in particular are well suited for kids. Shadow Frost is all ages because there are other things for kids to do in the hotel besides be in the room with the bands. Bring those ear plugs!

How much are tickets right now, and will this price go up to the gate? 

Full weekend tickets are $89. They will be $100 at the door. There are also single day advanced sale tickets.