Dark Force Fest 2023 (Event Review)
Now that I've had a few days to rest, recuperate, and process everything that happened at Dark Force Fest, I'm ready to write about it! I have to start off by thanking Vampire Freaks and The Sheraton staff and the event staff who all worked so hard to bring this event to life. It was absolutely fantastic! I've actually cried A LOT because of how wonderful of a time I had. I got VIP, which was well worth it, even though I was only able to attend two of the VIP events. Especially worth it when I was stupid and ate a fantastic buffalo chicken sandwich from the Homers Girls foodtruck, but forgot to get water with it and ran my ass to the VIP room for the water cooler.
I didn't get there until late Friday so unfortunately missed a lot of the early goings on. But that's ok! I came in and got to see most of the vendors and caught some music by Psyclon Nine. It was a lot of fun. I don't remember the last time I went to an event like this, if ever! There was hardly any bad energy floating around. Everyone was just super genuine and fun and there to have a good time. After milling around a few hours I went back to my hotel for the night.
Saturday was the absolute best day of my life. First thing I did was go to the goth clothing swap. Which ended up being a bit of a cluster, but it was still really cool and I got a book of HP Lovecraft books and a necklace. Then I hung out by the stage as my friends V Is For Villains did their soundcheck. Their show was absolutely fantastic, as always, and I got a lot of good pictures of them.
After that on my way to the Combichrist meet and greet, by good fortune, I ran into Dusty from Vision Video in the lobby and was able to give him the painting I did for him. It was an amazing moment. I feel like I was too starstruck and made a fool of myself, but he didn't seem to think so. He even remembered my name at their meet and greet.
I hung out in the grand ballroom and caught music most of the afternoon. I definitely enjoyed Carnivore AD's Type O tribute. Then I had the buffalo chicken incident and then caught the tail end of Empathy Test's set before Vision Video came on stage. I usually get emotional at shows, but this was a whole new level. At the beginning of "Haunted Hours", Goth Dad dedicated the song to anyone who has ever lost anyone. I was in the second row, crying my eyes out, my makeup running down my face, and at the end of the song, he thanked me for singing along. There must have been at least 250 people in the room, and he thanked me. I've never felt more seen and cared about and special in my entire life. Best moment ever. I'll never be able to thank him enough for that. Thanks Dusty, from the bottom of my black little heart.
Sunday I just took it pretty easy. Lack of sleep was catching up to me, so I hung out in grand ballroom a lot of the day where it was actually nice and cool and there were chairs. I caught the set by Die Robot and definitely liked what I heard. They kick ass! By this point though I was nursing a migraine, so I just chilled until Solar Fake later in the night. I hit up some more vendors and got some awesome handmade stuff. Solar Fake's set was absolutely amazing! I've been following those guys for a few years, and they absolutely killed it!
I really wanted to stick around for Suicide Commando, but, I had to head to the airport at 3am, so, I had to catch a couple hours of sleep. I might have missed a lot of the action, but I got enough to have the best weekend of my life. It was so fun. There were so many vendors selling awesome handmade items. So many frickin bands, I wish I could have caught more of them. So many goths under one roof. Everyone was so nice and genuine and humble and it was just amazing. I made so many new friends, met some incredible musicians, and had such a good time. I can't wait for next year! ~Eryk Silver (Gangis The Demon)
Event poster by Vampire Freaks, all other images by Gangis.