On The Road: Project Mayhem 2018

Project Mayhem is a three-day music festival; the music ranges from modern bluegrass to death metal. As they say: “If its good music we want it.”

This grassroots festival was started by two lifelong friends who have helped it grow into what it is today. It began as a punk & metal show, but over the years they have reached out to other genres of music as well. This started as a premier showcase for regional bands focusing on Wisconsin bands, all located in the Northwoods for Rhinelander, Wisconsin!

Upon arriving at the grounds of Project Mayhem, you could already feel the lively spirit of this music paradise wash over you. I spoke with Chris Craig (one of the hosts for PM) before I left for the weekend. My conversation with him was a heartwarming reminder of why those of us who work in the music scene love what we do. He brought a tear to my eye as he spoke with sincerity about the history of the grounds; explaining to me how he and his punk band “back in the day” just hung up some lights, threw down a piece of plywood and rocked out all night. “Really,” he said,” I’m just thrilled that everyone wants to come to hang out in the woods with me and listen to music.”


Photo (Left- Mitchel Fulcer, Right- Jake Schultz)

So much thought goes into every single detail of the fest, from the lights to the stage, all the work doesn’t go unnoticed. There is just nothing out there that I have ever experienced that was like Project Mayhem. It was like I dreamed it. There’s fire, there are two stages, and there were even Go-Go dancers. Then, all your friends and family are there, and you’re left thinking: ‘Whoa…is this real!?’ and the best part is, YES!


Photo (Left- Meláni Khandroma, Right-Michelle Braun)

The first night of Project Mayhem took place on Thursday, August 9th. Unfortunately, our team was not able to get there until Friday, August 10th, but there was still plenty to experience!

Thursday night lineup:
Mutilated By Zombies
Corey Medina & Brothers
Dig Deep
The Central
20 Watt Tombstone
Cheap Seats
Phyl & Friends
Scott Kirby
Chris Skinner

We arrived Friday, August 10th, right in time to catch Ave Imperator. We had planned to arrive earlier, but there were, of course, delays beyond our control. You know, the typical road trip stuff. We set up camp as quickly as possible and made our way to the grounds. As mentioned above, it was like something we had never seen before, and we were excited to be there! Below is our video footage introduction of Project Mayhem! C

Squidhammer Metal were the headliners that night, and they brought the party to life with their killer performance! They brought the attitude, force, and the fire (literally)! Every time I see these dudes I am blown away by them! My life was forever changed the day I met The Squids, and I know yours will too! For more on them check out our special feature for their album ‘Power Removal Service’ HERE


Photo- Squidhammer Metal

Friday night lineup:
Squidhammer Metal
All Out Mutiny
Reggie’s Revenge
Ave Imperator
Unnecessary Gunpoint Lecturer (Not featured)
Wrath of the Girth (Not Featured)
Elms (Not Featured)


Photo- Jake Hiller keeping it metal!

Saturday morning we all crawled out of bed and gathered around our fires to cook breakfast in the great Northwoods. Band members, fans, and other members of the music community socialized and caught up on the grounds. Nearby was Lake George, where many people took the time to cool off before the festivities began. With only one incident from the previous night’s shenanigans, all seemed to be going pretty well. The camp was in high spirits and ready to party on!

The headliner of Saturday night was Thrasher! Their energy was unreal, and the pit for that show was wild! Don Niesen fought through it to get us some killer shots of their performance. They played cover tunes of our favorite metal legends that have inspired all of us, including hits from The Big Four! This band was a great way to sum up our weekend!


Photo- Thrasher

Saturday night lineup:
40oz Fist
Of The Earth
All Kings Fall
Bitter Cold
Circle of Willis

Project Mayhem is a unique experience from beginning to end! If you haven’t been there, GET THERE! It was our absolute pleasure to be a part of this event! Thank you to all who put days and weeks of hard work into bringing everything together so we could all party down in the Northwoods. This is what the Wisconsin music scene is all about; It’s about being in the company of friends who become family. We can’t wait until next year!



The 2018 edition of  Project Mayhem was brought to you by Music Maehem team members Ian Gray, Mitchel Fulcer, Don Niesen and Emily Mae.

Words by- Emily Mae

Photos by Emily Mae and Don Niesen

Article Edited by: Samantha Crocker 

Friday Gallery
(for complete photo release click HERE)


Saturday Gallery



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