Danzig’s Blackest of the Black Festival Brings Metal, Freaks, and Horror to Southern California

by Stephanie Shamblin Gray

Saturday, May 27 was a perfect day for metal fans in Orange County, California. It was Day 2 of Glen Danzig’s “Blackest of the Black” festival at Oak Canyon Park in Silverado Canyon. While this location may sound remote, it’s next to Irvine Lake and right around the corner from the City of Orange. The weather was beautiful, there were grassy, shady areas to sit, and two stages of non-stop crushing metal. There was a great mix of musical styles to offer something for everyone and each band was in top form.

The Saturday lineup featured performances by the following bands:

VAMPS (Photos)
ATREYU (Photos)

For band photos of Ministry, VAMPS, Atreyu, and Combichrist, click the linked band name above.

The music lineup was insane and enough to bring out every metal-head in the area, but that’s not all the event had to offer because this was not just a mere music festival. A highlight of the event was “Castle Danzig,” a place for performers to collectively entertain the masses. A freak show of sorts, the area featured fire breathers, dancers, sword-swallowers, blood-bathers, and a variety of other entertainers for whom titles probably do not exist. “Castle Danzig” also featured suspended men and women with a special guest appearance by Dave Navarro.

At various intervals the performers would also head out into the crowd to entertain. For fans of the macabre, there were many photo opportunities with the variety of props and themed decorations. There was even a carnival ride. Unfortunately, there was no Oujia Board game as originally advertised and the stocks photo-op was inaccessible.

Vendors were on hand to sell shirts, themed crafts, and more. Near and dear to Horror News Network was the Verotik booth selling comics and related items. Simon Bisley was on-hand to sign books and chat up the crowd. For anyone who doesn’t know, Bisley is a comic art legend who also raises the party factor everywhere he goes. If you ever see him anywhere make it a point to stop by and meet him.

The festival also did a great job of providing plenty of food and drink areas including theme food trucks like Phantom and a Black Lemonade stand. Fans were able to quickly grab a slice of pizza from the skull-fired pizza oven and get back to the music or relax at a shady table. The only truly long line there was for the bathrooms.

This was the inaugural BOTB and it went very well. Having a bit of Halloween in May could become an annual tradition. This event could continue to improve and add attractions in the future and easily become a destination festival. Too much horror business? Never.

General festival photographs are below. All photo credits to Brian Gray.


Simon Bisley



Dave Navarro Suspended



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