Vicious Vacation

Ten Things You Really Should Bring To MDF This Weekend

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This weekend is the thirteenth annual Maryland Deathfest, which means a few thousand metalheads and a ton of awesome bands will descend on Baltimore and shred the place/clog every bar toilet in the city. Not merely a cool concert, MDF is a cultural experience, a chance to meet fans from all over the world and check out some acts who rarely play live (be sure to catch Nekrofilth, Mantar, and Tsjuder this year!).

It’s easy to think that MDF is less exhausting and perilous because you’re not sleeping in a tent, but that’s bullshit. Both years that I attended, by Sunday night I was a human blister, worn out and hung over to a fearsome degree. And plenty of times throughout the trip, I kicked myself for forgetting certain necessities that could’ve saved my ass.

So if you’re heading to Baltimore this Memorial Day weekend, here’s a checklist of some things that will keep you from dying a slow, awful death while looking for somewhere still selling cigarettes. Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments section.

1. Airborne/Emergen-C

Those little fizzy tablets they sell at the airport? Vital. Not only will they boost your immune system and keep you from catching some horrible disease, but the Vitamin C will give you a nice little jolt of energy not provided by caffeine.

2. Insoles

That trek between the Edison Lot, the Baltimore Soundtage, and the Ram’s Head Live doesn’t look that bad on Google Maps, but trust me, that shit will wear you out. A pair of Dr. Scholl’s insoles will keep your feet from feeling like they’ve been worked over by a crew of teamsters.

3. Trail mix

I know, this makes it sound like you’re at summer camp, but hear me out: festival food is not only expensive, but it sits in your guts like a corpse. Peanuts are good protein, and will keep the hunger at bay without putting you to sleep.

4. A list of local emergency contacts

I missed Midnight at MDF 2013 because I was tracking down a Pop-A-Lock guy to help me break my keys out of my car. Having a list of helpful phone numbers — Pop-A-Lock, local hospital, all-night grocery store, nearby taxi company — helps significantly, and will keep you from wasting precious phone data. Worst thing that happens, you don’t need it. Best, it saves your ass.

5. Something with ginger in it

Hangovers are the bane of a music festival. It’s extremely difficult to go out and watch twelve hours of extreme metal when you think you’re going to die. Ginger will help your stomach, at least enough to get you up and able to score further aid like aspirin. Ginger pills, ginger ale — whatever works for you.

6. Weed

See entry above. Weed will calm that devastating hangover. More so, it’s deceptively hard to find weed around MDF, and more importantly, narcs scour music festivals like goddamn hyenas. Bring your own so you don’t end up buying from a cop and spending a night in a Baltimore jail (shudder).

7. Singles

Even if you aren’t going to the strip clubs on The Block, single dollar bills are good to have. If you’re staying at a hotel, a few singles in a valet’s hands can get you better treatment; on the festival grounds, they allow you to tip bands and keep angry merch dudes from having to break a fifty.

8. Band-Aids and ointment

Blisters, scraped knuckles and knees, cracked dry skin–all of these can become infected and incredibly painful after three sweaty days of metal. Throwing a Band-Aid and some A&D on that motherfucker will keep you from wincing at every movement. And if someone else needs them, you can lend a hand and maybe get a free beer out of it.

9. A book

No joke. There are going to be some periods where no band you give a fuck about is playing, and it’s easy to spend that time drinking yourself to the point where you miss your favorite headliner. A small paperback of Lovecraft or Howard tucks nicely into a battle jacket pocket. Boredom kills.

10. Tissues

Those bathroom towels and Port-O-John rolls run out quickly. Whether they’re to stuff in your bleeding nose or wipe the sweat out of your crack, a packet of tissues are priceless. They’re a Q-tip, a placemat, whatever you need. Yeah, I know, I’d make a good dad.

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