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By Brian D. Benn

What can be better than Dirtfest? TWO DAYS of Dirtfest!! That’s right…Michigan’s favorite and longest running rock and metal festival has expanded to two days this year. This year is the 18th annual Dirtfest and promoters are excited about adding the extra day. “We’ve been tinkering around with the idea of a two day run and the line up wouldn’t have been possible without adding the extra day.” Matt Dalton, Dirtfest founder told HEAR. “Being able to have Down headline Saturday and HELLYEAH on Friday with the history between those bands was a big achievement for us. We are big fans of Phil Anselmo and Vinnie Paul and it’s a personal win to have them co-headline our event.”

There is an amazing line-up other than Down and HELLYEAH like Michigan’s own Pop Evil who are about to drop a new album this month following up their amazing hit album Onyx and they are returning for their third Dirtfest appearance. Other acts include Coal Chamber, Fear Factory, Mushroomhead, Taproot, Jasta (Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed), Kottonmouth Kings, the always fun and energetic Psychostick and many many more! Matt is very excited to have Coal Chamber in the line-up this year. “I was listening to Coal Chamber back when I started Dirtfest and I’m a big fan and I’ve always wanted them on the festival so it comes back to being another personal victory. We are very proud that a lot of these bands take our event seriously because for all intensive purposes we are still an underdog festival. Low ticket prices and being in mid Michigan not in a high traffic area for most national tours so for us to bring these bands to the area is a big achievement.”

HEAR had the chance to talk to the legendary Phil Anselmo of Pantera, Superjoint Ritual and Down fame. He also owns his own record label, Housecore Records and one of his bands on the label, Child Bite are out of Detroit and they will also be at Dirtfest. “They are an awesome band live and they just got out of the studio and the new album is fucking amazing. You need to be sure to get out early to see them play. They keep getting better and better in my opinion and they are crazy talented.” Phil bragged about Child Bite. With all the projects Phil has going on he says playing Down shows are the toughest. “Singing for Down is a bigger challenge because I actually have to sing and stay in key. With getting older I have to take care of myself better, rest the voice, go to bed early and shit like that. With having a signature voice people recognize I’m gonna damn well make sure I push the limits to give the best show I can.” Over the years Phil has spent a lot of time playing shows in Michigan and has nothing but love for the mitten. “Detroit, Grand Rapids, everywhere has been awesome kind to me. What a fantastic audience and it doesn’t get much better than a Michigan crowd.”

A lot of work goes into pulling this off Dirtfest every year and some of the main contributors to help make this happen is Omega (who Matt says they help bring the sound of the show to whole new level), 101.5 The Banana, 37Studios, for the first time the US Army and many more. Exit 13 Haunted House will be back again this year but instead of just being in costumes they are starting Halloween early and bringing a full haunted house for people to enjoy at no extra cost.

Unlike most festivals or concerts parking is free for Dirtfest and tickets are only $45 in advance or $60 day of show and for this amazing line-up that’s a damn good deal. It’s an all ages show and 5 and under are free so feel free to bring out your little headbangers as well. For more info and daily schedules visit www.dirtfest.com and make your way to Birch Run this August 7th and 8th for the 2015 version of what is shaping up to be the best Dirtfest yet!




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