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European-style Heavy Metal Festival Hits Garden Grove

By Brett Hoag Photography: LA's Gates of Metal Festival III

Promotional Poster
LA's Gates of Metal Festival III

One of the most extraordinary things about social media is finding out about Heavy Metal events one had no idea existed. This was how I stumbled across the Metal Hall of Fame in 2018. This is precisely how I learned about Southern California's European-style Heavy Metal festival at the Garden Amphitheater in Garden Grove on October 14 and 15. I immediately bought my two-day pass when I saw the headliners were Riot V and Sadistic Intent. Riot V is the continuing incarnation of the NYC-based band Riot formed and led by Mark Reale until his untimely passing in 2012. Busy touring Europe and the Far East, they rarely make it out to the West Coast. Sadistic Intent has been a SoCal staple on the Death Metal scene since their formation in 1987 with a few break-ups here and there.

Another thing I like about social media is the ability to follow links to promoters. Using my keen Holmsian detective skills, I landed on Paul Resist, the man behind this festival (by this I mean I dropped a DM to the festival page on FB). He was nice enough to join me in a Zoom call to answer a few questions about the LA's Gates of Metal Festival III.

Thank you for joining me today, Paul. Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

You're welcome. Thank you for having me. I have played bass in the SoCal metal band Resistance since our inception in 2000. I've played a lot of festivals all over the world with those guys and didn't understand why we didn't have a festival like that here in Los Angeles.

How did you get involved in this festival? Were you around for I and II?

I did the first two Gates of Metal Festivals in 2003 and 2004. I've been a metalhead my entire life and I've played in bands my whole life. I've played in my band, Resistance, now for 24 years. At the time no metal festivals were coming up in Southern California at all. I had gone to a few elsewhere and I thought, "You know what? I could do this easily here". I've handled all the bookings for my band throughout the years, so that's how I got the idea. I started with the venue and as soon as I was able to secure that, this was the Ibiza Theatre in Whittier. I then went to booking bands.

How did the financing come together? This is a pretty big festival you have going on here over two days with a lot of bands. Do you have sponsors?

Yeah, you're right! LOL No, this is completely one-man financing, just me.

Wow. Well, I hope it's a success. This is an incredible festival you're putting together for Southern California.

Agreed! I'm hoping the same. I'm prepared to take it as far as it goes. I'm not going to be one of those guys who pulls out at the last minute. I already have all of the financing to cover everything, and it's just a matter of making my money back at this point.

Do you have any advertisers or sponsors at all?

No. No, I don't.

Well, may the Metal Gods Bless you, Sir.

LOL Thank you. I've relied on the Festival's FB page and the bands' social media pages and every time there is a local show that makes sense, I go out there and put up posters. In fact, I will be at the Leatherwolf show at the Whisky tonight passing out flyers.

What are the logistics like on your end putting a festival of this magnitude together?

I started looking around at venues and obviously, the Ibiza was no longer there, and then I found the Garden Amphitheater. It is an awesome place, man. It has an outdoor stage and an inside stage. The outdoor area is huge and holds about 540 people with a pit area in front with theatre-style general admission seating and right above that are the VIP booths. There is a second stage on the inside of the venue that holds about 200. Once I went there, I said, "Yep, this is the place." In my opinion, it is probably one of the best unknown independent outdoor amphitheater there is in Southern California. So, once I found that I put together a press release and started searching out the bands. In the press release, I put out there that this was not a start-up festival and that I had done this before. In 2003, my headliners were another version of Leatherwolf and The Iron Maidens. In 2004, I had Primal Fear for the first time in Southern California and I am a little proud of that. I also had Agent Steel, Into Eternity and other bands. With all that information in the press release, I waited to see what bands would get back to me.

As a lifelong Riot fan, thank you so much for getting Riot here. They don't play here that much.

LOL Yeah, You're welcome.

Gates of Metal promo with Riot V
Riot V

Is there anything else you would like the metal community and our other readers to know about LA's Gates of Metal Festival III?

You know, I really want this to be a European-style festival. I've played many of them with Resistance and know what works and what doesn't. You see these little communities pop up for a few days of music and you get this bonding feeling when you're playing with these other bands and the fans are so appreciative. I'm striving for that here and sincerely hope it translates. I have a bunch of vendors here, so I guess those are my sponsors. I will have half a dozen vendors there. Some great metal vendors, you know. It will be a great place to walk around and have a good time. It's all ages.

What types of metal will the fans be exposed to at the Gates of Metal Festival?

There are three Death Metal bands, one of which has not played in California in five years, that being Sadistic Intent. Another Death Metal band is NITE and the third is Siglos (featuring Sin Quirin, formerly of Ministry). Then we have Ruthless, a traditional metal band; Stygian Crown a Doom Metal band and Greyhawk a Power Metal band -- that is just on Sunday!

Gates of Metal promo with Sadistic Intent
Sadistic Intent

That sounds like a great line-up.

I tried to mix it up, you know? Give it a little bit of something for everybody just like you would get at a European festival. You know there you are not getting all the same.

That is all I have for you today, Paul. Thank you again for your time and I will see you Saturday the 14th of October!

Absolutely, Dude! Thank you.

Social Media:

LA's Gates of Metal Festival III

Listed Vendors:

Razor Radio (broadcasting from the festival)

Inferno Metal Distro

Rock Angel Creations

Damage Case Goods

Play It By Fear

Heaven And Hell Store

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