An unprecedented metal event for Vancouver, the four-day, multi-venue Modified Ghost Festival begins today. While scheduling conflicts and an understandably endless festival to-do list have prevented organizer Jason Puder from sitting down for a comprehensive interview, this provides an opportune moment for us to reflect, along with members of the local metal community, on what makes this is such an important weekend for metal in Vancouver and how Modified Ghost has helped to bring the larger world of metal to this hilly, rainy Canadian city tucked away in a far corner of the Pacific Northwest.
Witch of the Waste guitarist Peter Sacco is actively involved behind the scenes, working 16-hour days including his day job:
“I am helping (Puder) with this festival, getting all the backlines for the bands, making sure the bands that are in town already have what they need to have a proper practice before the festival, etc, etc. So I am seeing firsthand how much effort is being put into this festival by five people. And spare hands when we can get them. It’s a huge benefit to this city because for one, this city isn’t even ready for these metal festivals – the closest we have had is Levitation and before that was Warped, six or eight years ago – but nothing to this calibre of music…being more on the extreme side of metal, not pop bullshit ripoffs. This is a metal and hardcore festival – which we do not get and do not get on this scale – ever. Or not as often as we should, which makes it much more than just one simple night out on a weekend and having a standard run-of-the-mill show. My hat is off to Jason, yes, but not only him. The bands that agreed to perform – Job for a Cowboy having their first show is 3 years or something like that – and I am grateful because it helps bring eyes to Vancouver and its music community. Just – grateful – is what I am.”
“Jason was doing Nothing is Heavy for a few years with Chris Dyck (Anciients), They’ve called upon a few of my bands as well as many locals to play a bunch of wicked shows with out-of-town touring bands. Since N.I.H. Ended, Jason has struck out on his own with Modified Ghost and the out-of-town bands, and slots to open for said bands keep on coming. We as a metal community in Vancouver need to go out and support this festival to show our gratitude, both as bands and as fans, because without Modified Ghost a lot of tours would skip Vancouver, making it harder for us to see these out-of-town bands. From a band standpoint, these shows not coming through town takes away the chance for local bands to play with these touring bands. (The festival) is a big part of the metal community, the least we can do is go out to the fest to let him know his efforts don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
Bushwhacker‘s Cavan Eagan echoes Langley’s observation that the festival is only the latest effort in Puder’s experience as a promoter: “After years of scene building dedication, the Modified Ghost Festival is the crowning moment for Jason Puder’s Modified Ghost. With legendary bands such as Suffocation and The Dillinger Escape Plan, this is a must for every true metalhead in Vancouver this weekend.”
Several other active members of the local metal community responded to our request for comment (see below), expressing their allegiance and gratitude for Puder’s efforts. Consistent throughout their remarks is a note of admiration for the scope of this event. Similar to the Netherlands’ longstanding Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Modified Ghost Festival’s comprehensive lineup provides a broad survey of heavy/dark bands across genres, staged at local club venues to preserve the spirit of community that is so pervasive (and essential) to rock music culture. As the first event of its kind for heavy music in Vancouver, strong turnout will help to shape subsequent events and the future of the heavy music community on the lower mainland. See you there.
“Jason is an ally and I support what he is bringing to this dismal, undeserving city. I support the proliferation of truly impassioned counter culture in any form. MG is a major piece of this puzzle.”
“Jason Puder and Modified Ghost is one of the best local promoters to work with in town. With this festival he has outdone himself. So many talented bands over the next few days I encourage everyone to go out and support it.”
“Jason has been working hard to bring music to Vancouver for years. He’s an accomplished musician himself so he understands what it’s like on this scene and always shoots straight with us. Now he’s bringing this huge festival to our city and it’s really going to put us on the map. Modified Ghost is making Vancouver one of the greatest places to go for Metal!”
“Jason Puder and the Modified Ghost team have put together one hell of a metal festival this weekend and in my opinion Vancouvers answer to heavy MTL. Let’s take this time to show the rest of the world what Vancouver really has to offer in hopes to build our own Canadian version of Wacken!”
Grant Truesdell (Unleash the Archers)
Misery Index kicks off the festivities tonight at the Biltmore, along with Allegeon, Baptists, Theories, and Acquitted.