Altercation Between Sonar Security and Concert Goers at Maryland Deathfest 2011 - Idol Threat: Warning Shots at the Mainstream


Monday, May 30, 2011

Altercation Between Sonar Security and Concert Goers at Maryland Deathfest 2011

Maryland Deathfest was one of my highlights of last year, unfortunately I was unable to afford it this year although it may have been safer that I sit this one out. While insomniacly scanning Twitter out of boredom I stumbled upon the following few "Tweets" found below by Kim Kelly aka "Grim Kim" well known metal writer and pr pro. Allegedly the security at Sonar (the venue that hosts the festival who recently lost their liquor license and almost closed their doors) pepper sprayed and bloodied up some innocent concert goers at the fest late last night.

The only other mention I could find was about a bloody fight that happened outside of the venue which may have sparked the incident with the Sonar Security. It's amazing how Twitter has become the immediate source for breaking news. This is definitely the type of news that needs the uncensored voice that social media provides. Although it may not be an official "source" Kim Kelly is a huge presence in the metal scene and an amazing and professional writer so I'm prone to take her word on these incidents. I'll update this post whenever anything new comes up.

Here is a post from the official MDF board made by Ryan one of the festival organizers, you can read the full post and more after the jump. Plus check the comment section for some 1st had accounts, including one from someone who says he actually worked at the fest and experienced some abuse himself:

"Well, from what I've gathered from some people connected to Sonar, this sounds like a couple of bad seeds working security that just lost their composure, and instead of just pinning down a trouble maker and carrying him away from a place where people are congregating and trying to leave peacefully, they used mace without really needing to. As someone else said, it's unfair to consider all of these guys "thugs", especially the countless guys that we've worked with there for 5 or 6 years now, as we know they wouldn't use excessive force for the sake of being a tough guy.

Ultimately, mace will NEVER be allowed on any security guard ever again at MDF, except for 1 responsible head person that knows when they REALLY need to use it, which will likely be never. From what I was told, the mace incident out front stemmed from someone saying he was going to kill a cop, but still, the best remedy to the problem would have just taken only a few of the numerous security guys sitting down around the entrance and just carrying him away from the area without making much of a scene...

I'm personally extremely pissed off that this even happened. Considering the size of the event, somehow a bad seed or two slips into the picture each year, and it sucks that it had to fuck up the ending of what was otherwise a smooth fest for us. That being said, mace can fuck off, and the guys that were behind this scene last night can also fuck off. They won't be part of this event ever again. "

Kim Kelly The Sonar security guards just BRUTALIZED some kids for no reason!!!!!! Total abuse of power!!! Fucked up!!!
(around 1:57am 5/30/11 Baltimore time)

Kim Kelly Sonar security peppersprayed a ton of INNOCENT PEOPLE and BEAT several more. Where are the police? What IS this? Terror everywhere
(around 2:11am 5/30/11 Baltimore time)


  1. I was at Sonar last night and saw the incident that's been described above first-hand. The end of the night came - Ghost finished their set. It was close to 2 AM, which in Maryland is time for the bar to close. The staff started telling folks to leave the building. Once everyone was clear, things were fine; people were hanging for the last few minutes of the night, grabbing some grub at the food stand and finishing their drinks before leaving MDF. Then a few drunk guys tried to walk back into the bar. They were immediately pushed back out by the Sonar security. One of these drunk guys decided to punch one of the security guys. (NEVER a good idea, especially when you're 1/3 the size of the guy you're punching.) Baltimore is a no-nonsense sort of town. I'm not saying it couldn't have been handled a little differently, but if you're going to swing on a security guy at a venue, you're going to have to accept the consequences of your actions. The guy who punched the security staffer got punched a few times and thrown to the ground. A crew of his friends saw this and started to go after the security guys. And that's when things got out of hand. It appeared that they were trying to attack the security guys. Eventually, they were all pushed out into the parking lot and were told to leave by security and by Baltimore city cops. The guy who punched the security dude had his injuries tended to by other staff members and was then taken to the on-scene EMS for a cut over his right eye. His friends continued to taunt and fight the security guys. So, Baltimore city police stepped in and maced them. The only guys with mace were cops. They each had an "OFFICER" vest on -- so no Sonar staff had or sprayed mace, that I saw. (And Baltimore city police aren't just going to hand their mace cans over to people who don't also have badges.) The security staff pushed all the rest of us out as well to prevent any more incidents and to get the night over with. The lesson here: don't try to fight venue staff/security. The outcome won't be in your favor.

  2. Sounds way more realistic than any other account I've read, thanks anon... I thought security handled themselves remarkably well all weekend!

  3. I worked a tent at the festival all weekend. I saw these events unfolding and was peacefully leaving the scene, but still filming the incidents that were unfolding, as it seemed to me that there were some innocent people being maced and beaten with batons. As I am walking away (still filming) a security guard said "That motherfucker has a camera". He then my camera out of my hand with his baton and several security guards rushed and wailed on me for a bit. I saw where my camera landed, and by the time the beating was over, my camera was gone. I walked up to the guard that hit me and said "I need to fucking talk to you for a minute" he wouldn't have it. He told me "Nah man, I ain't tryin' to hear that shit. I'm not in the mood." After refusing to let him off the hook with such a blatantly dismissive attitude, I told him that I worked the same festival he did all weekend. I had no reason to cause disturbance or harm and in fact was leaving peacefully. The reason I was attacked was because I was filming something that I believed to be slightly fishier than Britney Spears' undercarriage. I refused to leave the venue until I had my camera back in my possession. I told them that I knew they had my camera and they gave me the typical run-around. I finally told the security guards I needed to speak to their boss. They tried to tell me that my camera was lost. Then they found it. Then somebody would bring it to me shortly. Then it was lost again and they couldn't find it. Eventually, a guard sheepishly walked up to me and said "I think I found your camera". He proceeded to hand me my WET camera. Keep in mind that this incident happened in a bone dry asphalt parking lot in summer time. There wasn't a puddle in sight. After I was handed back my camera the guard told me "Listen man, you need to delete whatever footage is on that camera. Shit happens. You can't be havin' that footage on there." I took my camera and left. The camera is still drying out and we'll see what weird and depraved footage surfaces from this little debacle.

  4. Wow that is crazy, Sorry to hear about your camera, that's messed up. Feel free to share the video with us if anything shows up.

  5. I copped some mace just by being near the entrance at the end of the Fest waiting to meet up with a friend. I wasn't even in the line of fire, just nearby, and it still made my eyes hurt for 10mins or so. I travelled from overseas to come to MDF and I do plan to go again but in all honesty this was completely beyond the pale and gave a very unfortunate impression.