Interview: Chicago Domination Fest

You never know who you are going to run into on a day to day basis. On the long hot weekend that was Full Terror Assault, we discovered that our camping neighbors, were the founders of an up and coming brutal Death Metal festival called Chicago Domination Fest. While we were a little busy to be able to interview them on site, we caught up with Founder/Promoter of the fest, Miguel “Goregrinder” Medina, to find out what he had to say about the history of the festival and where he sees it in a few years time! These guys were very nice and accommodating to us all things considered, so please take the time to read the interview and check out their site. Let’s help them make this thing a huge success (like they need our help) so that it continues on for years to come.


Damnation: CDF seems to be growing rapidly. Where did the idea come from for a Fest like this?

Miguel CDF: The idea for CDF as it exists today began approximately 10 years ago, when I first got into promoting shows, of course back then I had no idea how far things would actually end up going. Within my first year, me and some former partners created our first fest which was known as the “Chicago Metal Devastation Fest.” It ran for about 3 years before that partnership dissolved. After a number of years of doing smaller regional based shows, I decided to jump back into the fest game on my own. However, this time with a much better knowledge of the business, especially after having attended some of the fests my friends we’re running such as the “Central Illinois Metalfest” and “Gathering of the Sick” to name a couple. Those fest’s inspired me and taught me many things about how these types of festivals are put together. Using all the contacts I had built up over the years, I decided to start Chicago Domination Fest on the modest side and put together a very solid 7 band lineup, headlined by Devourment. I ended up selling out the venue that first year which was a great indicator of things to come. Year two ended up growing to an 11 band lineup which fell way short of expectations attendance-wise, but was still a small step forward for my business model. Year three, which obviously just passed recently was huge! I expanded to a two day format, went to a bigger venue and took a big risk, but it paid off. It was by far the best production I’ve ever put together. The main objective so far has been to go against the grain of the typical metal fest formula, which mixes all sorts of metal sub-genres and instead target the brutal death metal crowd which has always been more of my style anyway.

What steps do you take to make sure each year is better than the last? Where would you like to see CDF in the next 5 years?

Sometimes even mild success at doing something such as a fest can breed complacency and loss of focus. So, with each passing edition of CDF, I try to challenge myself to take it to the next level by going to bigger venues, bringing in new bands that haven’t played here and making this more of a memorable experience versus just some over inflated show. At the same time, I’m taking small steps as opposed to giant leaps, because the #1 recipe for failure in this field is expanding too big, too quick. Assuming that we continue this upswing we’re currently on, the next 5 years can definitely get very interesting and I can see CDF becoming one of the most widely recognizable, underground death metal festivals in the country. Ideally should this thing continue to grow, Chicago will become a destination spot for brutal death metal on a yearly basis.14550503_1323356604355576_175855644_o

Judging from photos you had quite the turn out this year, any thoughts of expanding be it bigger venue or a longer fest?

We certainly did have an excellent turnout this year, but despite the amount of people there, we still came a little short of officially selling out CDF 3. So we plan to return to the same venue this upcoming year with full intentions to completely sellout and pack that place to capacity. Once that goal is accomplished, we can then begin looking at bigger venue options to take the next logical step up from there. The other big change that’s also taking place in 2017, is an expansion to a Three day format, which will now run Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Thursday will officially be day one and not just a pre-fest or warm-up show. We do already have some big acts and a few reunions planned for day one but overall the entire planned lineup, should it all work out for us, will be insane. Our motto here at CDF is all killer, no filler and we intend to live up to that.

What prospects do you have for next year?

While I can’t exactly reveal any of my “secret” plans for CDF 4 in 2017, I will say that there will definitely be some surprise additions to the lineup that some will not have expected to see. However, that being said the 12 bands that have already been announced for next year already have many people excited and we definitely have a considerable amount of interest heading into the coming year. I recommend people follow us on facebook for all the latest news and updates as we prepare to start announcing more bands towards the end of October/ Early November.14555960_1323361024355134_1425635084_n

What obstacles do you come across when setting up the fest?

The list of obstacles can be a lengthy one. One of the major ones that I have to contend with this coming year, which can be extremely frustrating, is figuring out the logistics of getting certain International bands to come play here. Mainly because you never know how US Customs will handle visas and things of that nature, it’s always a gamble. This is also a process that can quickly become very expensive and time consuming if you don’t know how to handle it properly. Beyond that other major issues include scheduling, and making arrangements with various sponsors all the while doing all the work that comes with promoting and maintaining a visible presence on social media.

While festivals like FTA are outdoors with camping you’ve gone the other route indoors. Do you feel like that limits or helps bring a crowd? And how?

I feel that’s actually to our advantage remaining indoors. Mainly because there’s no proper outdoor venue in the city of Chicago or even the surrounding suburbs that would allow any kind of camping. Plus that also usually entails all sorts of liability and security issues. Plus, not to mention all of the costs associated with providing facilities, food vendors, stage and sound equipment ect. I much prefer a regular venue that already has all or most of those things already as part of their establishment. So while each event has it’s own special appeal I generally like to think that most people prefer the indoor venue fest assuming there’s in’s and out’s throughout the event.14585370_1323356874355549_1118100439_n

Here is some of the info we found on Chicago Domination 4, for further details please go to their Facebook page following the link below.


Embalmer (Ohio)
Incinerate (Minnesota)
PaRtY-CaNnOn (Scotland)
CREPITATION (United Kingdom)
Parasitic Ejaculation (California)
Torturous Inception (New York)
Sarcophagy (Indiana)
Desecrate the Faith (Texas)
Sexual Atrocities (Wisconsin)
Coathanger Abortion (Tennesse)
Asphyxiator (Illinois)….
Fetal Disgorge (Arizona)
Engutturalment Cephaloslamectomy (Indiana)

Thanks for you interest in our festival and on a closing note we just want to add our fb link, for anyone that might be interested in finding more info and getting the latest updates.

Miguel “Goregrinder” Medina
CDF Founder/ Promoter

Miguel with Brodequin outside Empty Bottle in Chicago, IL
Miguel with Brodequin outside Empty Bottle in Chicago, IL

Note: all photos were given by Miguel for us to use, aside from the CDF 4 banner up top, which came from the Chicago Domination Fest facebook page.

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