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A family-friendly Halloween celebration near Sonic Drive-In in Bridgeville will mix slushes, corn dogs and tasty riffs from some of Delmarva’s heaviest metal and punk bands Sunday.
BRIDGEVILLE — A family-friendly Halloween celebration near Sonic Drive-In will mix slushes, corn dogs and tasty riffs from some of Delmarva’s heaviest metal and punk bands Sunday.
“Slushfest” will take over the parking lot behind the fast-food joint at 18757 U.S. 13, starting at 4 p.m.
The free, all-ages concert was organized by Cage DeVincentis, vocalist of the metalcore band Bury the Remains, through his company Black Tide Promotions, which he co-owns with his girlfriend, Lexi Mitchell.
“You should definitely bring the kids out,” Mr. DeVincentis said. “The more costumes, the better.”
While aggressive music like this — and the mosh pits it elicits — may be intimidating to some, he said the event is all about good, clean fun.
No drugs or alcohol will be allowed. Plus, “crowd-killing” or any form of discourteous moshing that puts audience members at risk of injury, will be strictly prohibited.
Bury the Remains will be joined by two other Delaware bands, Milford’s Great Big Liars and the metalcore group Obsolescence, whose members are mostly based in New Castle County.
“I think it’s super-funny,” Obsolescence’s vocalist and guitarist Ben Mascioli said of the idea to have a rock show adjacent to a drive-in fast-food eatery. “They’re not something you would think to pair together.”
The event is partly about introducing heavy music to people who may not be familiar, Mr. DeVincentis said. Though concerts like this may appear violent or unhinged to outsiders, he said they’re really about giving people an outlet to work through their negative emotions in a friendly, supportive environment.
The idea for the concerts came about over the summer. Mr. DeVincentis was joking with his friends about putting on an event in the vein of the famous “Denny’s Grand Slam,” a viral 2019 clip of the California hardcore band Wacko playing a set in a Denny’s restaurant, which was about to close.
Viral videos like these are an important form of do-it-yourself meme marketing for many underground bands. While they don’t get much attention from mainstream outlets, sometimes zany footage can get a heavy band’s music in front of millions of listeners.
At the time, inklings of the guerrilla concert that took over the Sonic in Hainesport, New Jersey, last month were being seen online. So Philip Speleos, the owner of the Bridgeville Sonic, reached out to Mr. DeVincentis about putting on a show. He holds a lot of family-friendly events at the restaurant.
Mr. DeVincentis and Mr. Speleos ran the event by Sonic’s corporate office, which was initially on-board. But the headquarters was not aware of the New Jersey event until after it happened and didn’t approve of it.
“It did not align with Sonic’s values,” said Jack D’Amato, a communications manager for the brand. Safety did not appear to be a top priority in New Jersey, as there was a fire-breather in the crowd and fans throwing firecrackers.
“There are strict rules corporate has on event sponsorship,” he said. “We want to ensure we have all the details. … We’re not dictating anything.”
Mr. D’Amato said that, after the Bridgeville event was initially approved, executives became uneasy about some of the bands playing. They also had concern about Sonic’s logo being used in the concert’s promotional flyers.
But Mr. DeVincentis said the Bridgeville show will be much tamer, even though the bands will still be performing with their usual energy.
Nevertheless, the concert is happening in a lot behind the Sonic instead of on the restaurant’s property.
Mr. DeVincentis started throwing these types of concerts at his grandmother’s house in Seaford back when he was a high school student.
He’s never made any money off of them. Even when he’s charged for tickets at events like the SummerStock Festival, which he began in 2011, the money has been donated to charity.
He helped form Bury the Remains back in 2016, but the band broke up two years later. Upon reuniting recently, it released a new single, “Dying Light,” last week. It’s more melodic than the band’s past work but still heavy.
Mr. DeVincentis also hopes to open a music venue somewhere Downstate or on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He said it’s hard to find a place for these concerts in the area, since most local bars and event halls aren’t interested in hosting such music.
But Mr. Mascioli said the slower-lower scene is very welcoming. Obsolescence’s more eclectic, metallic take on hardcore punk — influenced by bands like Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold — fits in better here than in the Philadelphia area, where a lot of groups play more traditional hardcore punk, he said.