Mar 202018



For a time, it looked like last year’s edition of the marvelous Shadow Woods Metal Festival would be the last one. The Maryland property where the event had been held for three years was sold, and the odds of finding another mid-Atlantic location that could preserve the festival’s unique character as an open-air camping, heavy metal gathering seemed daunting. But inspired by the fervor of previous festival goers who did not want to see this end, festival founder Mary Spiro began working behind the scenes, searching for a new venue and raising needed funds through contributions from past attendees. The work paid off.

Late last week Shadow Woods announced that a fourth edition of the festival — now known simply as Shadow Woods IV — will take place from Thursday, September 20th through Saturday, September 22th in Purcellville, Virginia, at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC). And that news was accompanied by the disclosure of the entire confirmed line-up of more than 40 bands — which we’ll get to right away, and then provide a few more useful pieces of information.

So, here’s the line-up, day by day, with the bands listed in reverse order of their appearance (with headliners at the top) and brief commentary by the fest:



Thursday (Sept. 20, 6p.m. – 11p.m.)

Xasthur – doomgrass, folk rock (Los Angeles, CA)
On The Water – strange folk (Philadelphia)
Goblin Hovel – metal folk (NY/PA)
Skulsyr – occult noise (Doylestown, PA)
Jerome Deppe and Miss Elizabeth’s All-Girl Band – folk ballads of the damned (Baltimore, MD)
Bound For The Ground – the devil’s blues supergroup with members of Grave Gnosis, The Owls Are Not What They Seem, and Cultic (GA/FL/PA)
Earendel – acoustic folk duo (Baltimore)


Friday (Sept. 21, noon – 11p.m.)

Tombs – post metal (NYC)
Rozamov – psyche-tinged grueling doom (Boston)
Heavy Temple – Hard Fuzz, Psych and Doom (Philadelphia)
Barishi – Gritty Progressive Metal (Brattleboro, VT)
Aether Realm – Viking folk metal (Greenville, NC)
Destroyer of Light – doom and roll (Austin, TX)
Electropathic – doom hard rock with members from several foundational Maryland doom groups (Wheaton, MD)
Husbandry – Fugazi meets Aaliyah (NYC)
God Root – ritualistic sludge (Philadelphia)
Dysfigure – modern heavy metal (Martinsburg, WV)
Windfaerer – extreme aural entity (New Jersey)
Witch Hazel – occult rock and roll/doom (York, PA)
Forest of Legend – doom/stoner/sludge (Virginia Beach, VA)
Hepatagua – sludge/doom/thrash (Boston)
Flummox – nongenre specific doomy metal (Murfreesboro, TN)
Ferus Din – black metal and flutes (Buffalo, NY)
Haze Mage – stoner metal (Baltimore)
Malphas – progressive blackened melodeath (Philadelphia)


Saturday (Sept. 22, noon – 11p.m.)

Uada – black metal (Portland, OR)
Cloak – black and roll (Atlanta, GA)
Panzerfaust – black metal (Toronto, ON)
Voarm – black metal (Richmond, VA)
Imperial Triumphant – black metal (NYC)
Athame – black metal (MD/WV)
Hubris – black metal (Buffalo, NY)
Enthauptung – atmospheric black metal (Rochester, NY)
A Sound of Thunder – traditional/NWOBHM heavy metal (DC/VA)
Bound By The Grave – death metal (Baltimore)
Destroying Angel – dark folk rock (Philadelphia)
All Hell – black and roll (Asheville, NC)
Black Mass – death thrash (Boston)
Hexxus – sludge metal (Birmingham, AL)
Replicant – death metal (NJ)
Tyrannis – death metal (Radford, VA)
Sluagh – progressive metal (Martinsburg, WV)
Sickdeer – death metal (DC)


That’s obviously a hell of a good line-up, and a hell of a diverse one. Thursday night will feature primarily acoustic, folk, and ritual noise, headlined by California’s Xasthur, while the other two nights present varying shades of black metal, death metal, doom, and more, headlined by Tombs and Uada, respectively. And none of the sets will overlap — the bands will play on two alternating stages, so that people have the chance to see every performance if they wish to.

With respect to the new venue, I’ll quote this info from the festival:

“Our new fest venue is the Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (HFAC) located at 37410 Adventure Center Lane in Purcellville, VA 20132, situated in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Shenandoah and the Potomac rivers. HFAC features zip lines, ropes courses, tubing, white water rafting, cabins, campsites and an onsite craft brewery. It is located just a little more than a hour from Washington DC and Baltimore, MD near the intersection of the Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia state lines. Festival attendees receive a discount of HFAC activities as well as on the cost of campground and cabin rental with the Shadow Woods group rate.”

In addition, “There will also be delicious food, craft beer, a vendor marketplace with art, jewelry, home decor, music, and rock and metal merchandise.” For more info about HFAC, go HERE. Here’s the information about ticket prices:

“Tickets are on sale now. A full weekend event pass is $130. Day passes for Thursday are $30; Friday and Saturday passes are $60 each. (Important note: Tent camping and cabin are not included in the tickets. Reservations must be made directly through the HFAC and you must request the Shadow Woods group rate. The venue is requesting that attendees hold off on reserving sites for the time being until a system can be put in place for managing this.)”


For more info, and to stay up with developments leading to the festival, check these links:


  1. Wow, a killer line-up!

  2. Xasthur playing live? That will be weird.

  3. Gah, Harpers Ferry…Pretty area, but it’s like walking into a casting call for Deliverance around there

    • I visited Harper’s Ferry years ago, during a time when I was intrigued by Civil War battlefields, and it is a beautiful and historic setting. But I think I know what you mean… it’s going to be an interesting intersection of people when this fest kicks off. 🙂

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