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A Deathfest by any other name...

Baltimore's Department of Transportation uses a milder name for Maryland Deathfest

By Chris Kaltenbach

The Baltimore Sun

10:19 AM EDT, May 24, 2013

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Fear not, Baltimore. Death will not be coming to your city this weekend. At least not if the Baltimore City Department of Transportation has anything to say about it.

Earlier this week, in preparation for this weekend's Maryland Deathfest -- an annual metal music festival now in its 11th year -- the department sent out notices about road closures for parts of Saratoga and Holliday streets. Much of the festival is being held on stages set up outside the former Sonar space, at 407 E. Saratoga St. There will also be performances at Baltimore Soundstage.

The notices referred not to Deathfest, a name that admittedly sounds a little alarming, but to the far-less-intimidating Charm City Animal Rescue Sonar International Music Festival.

(We know the CCARSIMF sounds like something grandma would enjoy. Unless grandma is a metalhead, you may want to leave her home.)

After investigating, Department of Transportation spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said the name-change wasn't DOT's idea. "That's the name they listed on the permit," she said.

Evan Harting, one of Deathfest's organizers, emailed a simple explanation. "That is the name that we use on the permit application," he wrote. "Charm City Animal Rescue is the non-profit company that we donate to, and 'sonar international music festival' just sounds better on paper."

True that. But whatever the case, the city won't be announcing street closures because of anything called Deathfest any time soon, Barnes said.

"We would never have named it Deathfest" on any announcements, she said. "We would have just called it a festival."

For the record: Because of Deathfest, or the Charm City Animal Rescue Sonar International Music Festival, or whatever else one might want to call this gathering of metal aficionados, Saratoga Street, between Gay and Holliday streets, will be closed until 6 a.m. Monday. Holliday Street, between Pleasant and Saratoga streets, will also be closed until 6 a.m. Monday, although one lane will be open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. Read more on baltimorecity.gov.