Metal music is a form of art, expression and emotion.

“It's just a very raw genre of music where people can just express their real emotions in a very healthy way and like to be able to communicate about it in a way where people can connect with it,” founder of the Rochester Steel Collective Kaitlyn Fedele said.

Known for its loud and energetic music, the metal genre has faced many stereotypes surrounding its alleged violent and obscene lyrical content.

“I think it's important for us to illuminate the depth that metal musicians and metal fans have,” member of the Rochester Steel Collective Matt Berry said. “And we're not just a whole community of violent Neanderthals. We want to and we can do great things for not only the metal community, but the area in which we live.”

Despite its backlash, organizers from the Rochester Steel Collective speak firsthand on how metal music has made a positive impact within their lives.

“When I was a young teen, I heard heavy metal music and it was just so intense,” Berry said. “There was a figure and like a lot of just the visceral nature of it all. You can feel it when you hear it. And that's something that I've strived for my whole life to have a passionate expression of artistry. And I think that's what metal does.”

Organizers are collaborating with mental health organizations to spread awareness on local resources.

“Everybody is going through this,” family peer advocate from the Mental Health Association Angie Coville said. “They might not be telling you that. They might not have a written on their shirt, but everybody is going through something and you never know who you come in contact with, where what you've said may be one thing that you've said makes a difference. I have this on my arm and it just says, be brave. And I've had so many people say, Gosh, I needed that today. This is a cool venue. There's some really amazing artists here being able to see how people express themselves.”

They are prioritizing mind over metal. 

“Mental health is one of those things that has affected a lot of people and a lot of very personal ways,” Fedele said. “Last year we lost a couple of friends for different reasons. And it's kind of resulted in people, you know, just having a hard time in life.”

Organizers hope guests take the time to not only appreciate the artistry in their music but also their mental health. 

“Music always just fosters an element of being in a community,” Fedele said. “You're going to have your bad apples in every community. That's just what it is. But that doesn't make the genre or the community itself any less than what it is, which I think is just genuine, people just enjoying a genre of music and enjoying charity.”