By Kate Miller
Electric Halloween is a Halloween-themed musical festival that takes place every year just outside Philadelphia in South Jersey. This year promises to be bigger and better
than ever with classic fall activities and a serious variety of musical acts including Strawberry Girls, Fit for an Autopsy, the Mantras, Medusa’s Disco, Gnarbot, and Agent Zero.
Jose “Besos” Martinez and MariDeath, festival coordinators, took the time to tell us all about it.
First of all, what makes Halloween the best holiday?
MariDeath: Because you can be whoever you want to be. That is The Reason.
Jose: At the end of the day, the reason Halloween is great is because you get to be something you’ve always wanted to be, and you get to be weird. You get to be extra, and people appreciate you for going that extra mile. Personally, I just like how dark everything is, so it goes great with everything I’m about.
M: I think it’s the best holiday because you get to be whoever you want to be and it’s not judgemental. And that leads into Electric Halloween and the mixed genres and inviting everybody to come party together because it brings together people who wouldn’t normally hang out with each other outside their scene.
What is Electric Halloween?
J: Electric Halloween is a multi-genre festival that involves not just music but a magic show, art, a costume contest, and weekend-long camping with your friends.
M: It’s the Halloween party that never stops.
J: Like you went to your aunt’s house and got stuck there and she gave you a bunch of wine and now you’re trapped. But it’s the cool aunt, you know what I mean? The one who never got married and she definitely made the right decision.
Electric Halloween is really interactive. Every year we get a little bit better at getting people involved. We used to have a pie eating contest and a costume contest. We still have a costume contest, and we have a magic show again this year. It’s about getting people to step outside their comfort zone and be more open-minded. That’s why we put these people together who normally wouldn’t be together. And that’s kind of cool because you might end up learning that you like something new that you didn’t know about before.
M: It’s also the end-of-the-festival-year party banger.
Where and when is Electric Halloween this year?
J: It’s October 19th and 20th at Southwind Winery, which is a beautiful winery in Millville, NJ, where you will find horses prancing around among other sights. It’s pretty nice because for the outdoor stage we have a big community fire. And I love how intimate the indoor stage can be and the atmosphere we bring to it. With it already being in this kind of mansion-y-esque landscape in the front of the property, it almost makes it seem like you’re going to somebody’s haunted mansion party.
When/how/why did Electric Halloween start?
J: I was a junior in high school, and my friend Michael and I were just starting to throw shows. This was going to be our fifth or sixth show, so it was very new to us and I remember thinking, “we need to do a Halloween show!”…
I basically wanted to book all my friend’s acts, and I was the only one in the area that wanted to book a multi-genre show. We brought almost 200 people to that show, and that was a very big moment in my life for me: It was Halloween and there was nothing going on, and I wanted to be a part of my community to give people a place to go and have fun and be safe.
It wasn’t until the third year that MariDeath and I finally started working together. We had known each other for a few years before then. I remember I came to her and asked for help because I had heard to many great things about her. I knew she was super organized, and that’s one thing I wasn’t, so she agreed to be a part of it. That year was the year that it started popping off.
M: That year I agreed to promote it if I could promote it as my birthday show. We had way more bands that year. It was a one-day event with two stages: a bigger venue, but still not big enough.
J: We got shut down twice.
M: There was a lack of space. We had over 300 people, which was a huge jump for us. The third year was the year we knew we needed to do something bigger, so we decided to make it a weekend festival. That was in 2014.
J: 2015 was the first year we decided to make it a camping festival, and we’ve just been trying to grow since then. This year’s team is incredible with the additions of Lost Compass and Shxt Happens to the coordinating team. We have a lot of really wonderful people step up every year to help us pull this all off, even just as volunteers, and this year is no different. It’s going to be spectacular.
Sounds awesome! So, what can attendees expect this year?
M: Electric Halloween
is basically your one-stop-shop for everything fall-related: from family activities to extreme Halloween partying. You show up during the daytime, set up your campsite and decorate it, have all your friends there. We have [activities like] pumpkin painting and carving stations, bobbing for apples, and the mummy wrap. We have a new game this year called Pumpkins & Pinatas.
Musically, you can enjoy a wide range of acts, from hardcore bands, jam bands, DJs, and even some spooky prog rock. This year will include a third stage featuring primetime DJ sets. We also have the giant bonfire where you will get your classic fall activities like s’mores and apple cider. We are expanding our art tent this year and including large scale art installations. Friday we will have a singles costume contest, and Saturday will have a group costume contest. There will be fire-spinners. Magik Mike’s Magic Show is going to be lit this year.
J: Our production level this year is something I’m really proud of. Guests are going to have their minds blown. And sweet merch! We will have shirts, tapestries, patches, and even some limited edition jackets.
And, most importantly, What is your favorite Halloween creature?
M: I love vampires. I heard there’s going to be a cult of vampires there this year.
J: Mine is 100% the alien because our videographers last year caught footage of an alien and made a spoof video. Now that same alien keeps showing up at local events of all genres. Last night there was another alien in the mosh pit, and that just goes to show you, aliens love to hardcore dance, rain dance, all kinds of dance.
See more of the festival lineup and find tickets at ElectricHalloweenFestival.com!