If you’ve ever wanted to be scared pantsless with something as relaxing as a good, old-fashioned summer barbecue, look no further than Hadad’s Lake in Richmond, Va., this year. On Aug. 18, the venue will host a cookout/rock festival/chance to get drenched in fake gore by none other than Richmond’s resident intergalactic humanoid barbarian-rockers, GWAR.
And if, as a Paste reader, the GWAR name isn’t ringing any bells, the band made a name over two decades ago with their larger-than-human stage costumes; their blood-soaked stage shows that would make Wes Craven queasy and ultimately committed the madness to tape with albums titled Tour De Scum, Surprising Burst of Chocolaty Fudge, Blood Bath and Beyond, Skulhedface and Twice the Violence.
So naturally, the band’s summer event is called the GWAR-B-Q, and it’s filled with long-standing traditions that are nearly as old as the band’s career. Aside from featuring activities with names like the “Spew-O-Lympics” and the long-awaited re-emergence of a stage prop called “The Sexecutioner”—frankly, I was too afraid to get the details on that one—the band’s key formula for the event relies on some basic, inarguable (well, for GWAR) principles.
“The tried and true recipe is grilled meat, hot sun, babes in skimpy outfits and bone-crushing heavy metal music,” GWAR frontman and “spokes-thing” Oderus Urungus says. “It’s a tried and true combination that hasn’t let us down yet.”
The event re-emerged in the last three years after a long hiatus (we’re talking decades here), and essentially acted as a way for long-standing and equally dedicated GWAR fans to have a chance to get together and collectively pay tribute to the band. This year, it’s at the band’s preferred venue of Hadad’s Lake, which Urungus describes as an “old-school, white trash waterpark out in the country. It’s the best venue we’ve ever had.”
“People come from as far away as Europe, they come here and get together in the presence of GWAR and throw the ragingest fucking party that we can,” Urungus says. “GWAR fans are a supportive bunch, they’ve supported this band for 28 years, and we want to have the fucking baddest party we can for them.”
As far as fare goes, GWAR isn’t breaking new ground. In fact, they couldn’t really care less about the food being served. After all, seared animal flesh alone doesn’t really do it for Urungus and co.:
“Generally speaking, as the lead singer of GWAR, I usually feast on the corpses of my victims at the show, but I understand that humans like barbecue, so there will be huge amounts of barbecue, the emphasis is on barbecue, dead flesh with lots of spices ladled over it.”
And that’s not to say the band doesn’t have any culinary tricks up its sleeves. In fact, with GWAR, the trick in the barbecue isn’t an ages-old sauce recipes or carefully rubbed cuts; the flavor’s in the fear.
“Fear gives a certain zest to the meat, when the victim is thrown onto the grill while alive, as their eyeballs bulge out of their sockets and they realize they are going to be the main course. Still, they manage a horns-up symbol with their baking arm as they are thrown on the grill to be fed to GWAR.”
The band will be joined for the date by The Casualties, GHOUL, Valient Thorr and Occultist, among others. GWAR has verified that this year’s festival is “100 percent legal and confirmed,” and surprisingly enough, will even feature vegan options for “people who refuse to eat meat.” But, Urungus is quick to point out, the whole event shouldn’t make anyone feel too comforted or accommodated—it’s just a ploy to get fresh meat for GWAR.
“I want everyone to come and have a good time,” Urungus says. “For everyone, we’re actually tricking them into thinking that they’re having everything provided to them, and then we’ll throw them into the belly of our hulking World Maggot. It’s a big lie so we can eat.”