Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Summer Concert Wrap Up Part Two: The Festivals

On Monday, we discussed the tours that took place during the summer of 2009, which ones were great, which ones were not so great, and which ones just plain sucked. Today I’d like to examine the concert festivals that happened (or didn’t) during this past summer.

Rock On The Range
May 16 – 17
Technically a spring concert, Rock On The Range was a 2-day hard rock festival that featured top acts Motley Crue, Alice In Chains, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, and Korn. This was the event that kick started the summer concert festivals. Other great bands that performed included Buckcherry, Shinedown, The Used, and Black Stone Cherry, just to name a few. Held at the Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, Rock On The Range was a great event to launch the summer concert festivals. With great bands on the bill and two days of hard rock mayhem, Rock On The Range was an excellent festival.

May 30
The M3 Festival was a one day only rock event held at The Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. A gathering of the best in hair metal, the festivals headliners included Ratt, Extreme, and Twisted Sister. Other notable bands that performed were Kix, Dokken, Slaughter, Jani Lane, Y&T, and the BulletBoys. 2 stages were set up for the daylong event, with the only downside being that fans had to pick and choose which performers they wanted to see as most of the performance times overlapped. The reviews that I read showed this was one strong, fun, metal packed day of music. If it happens again next year, it might be on the top of my list for festivals to visit.

June 11 – 14
This year’s Bonnaroo festival packed in some great bands and great performances for a reasonable price ($250 for a full pass). Bruce Springsteen, Nine Inch Nails, The Beastie Boys, Wilco, and David Byrne all gave headline worthy performances. In addition to those bands, Phish performed for 2 nights as the main headliner (Bruce Springsteen was the other main headliner). The crowd was enamored with Phish and their performances were outstanding. Bruce Springsteen & the E-Street Band gave one of their most memorable shows on their current Working On A Dream tour and fans had a hard time determining which act was the best of the weekend.

July 9 -12
Billing this year’s Rocklahoma with the tag “It’s All About The Party,” was a marketing ploy that wound up working against the festival. Some fans cried that it was all about the party because the band and performances were awful. The reviews from this years’ Rocklahoma were not favorable to say the least. Held in Oklahoma in the sweltering summer heat, the first obstacle that fans had to overcome was the weather. Temperatures with the heat index hit over 110 degrees at one point, making it the hottest concert of the summer (in terms of the weather). With Stryper and Anthrax as two of the main headliners, fan complaints were strong that these were not headline worthy performers. The overall feel was that Rocklahoma lost some luster in its third year and there is hope that next year’s festival (should it be held again) will have better planning and better headline acts.

August 7 – 9
With Headliners Jane’s Addiction reunited and back in full swing, this year’s Lollapalooza was a spectacular event. Kings of Leon, Depeche Mode, Tool, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Killers rounded out the top bands for the festival. Other notable acts included Lou Reed, Ben Folds, and The Gaslight Anthem. Multiple bands and event tents rounded out Lollapalooza, providing an enjoyable and entertaining event for all who attended.

Rock Gone Wild
Scheduled for August 20 – 23
In what was beyond doubt the biggest disappointment of the summer, Rock Gone Wild never took place. Depending on who you believe, either the promoters were crooked, greedy, and screwed a lot of people (bands and fans) out of a lot of money, or, the promoters got screwed over by the casino grounds (where the concert was supposed to take place after being moved from its original site) and were left to take the hits.

Disappointments aside, I have to think the promoters were shady on this one. They moved the location from what was supposed to be awesome festival grounds to a much smaller area that they supposedly never had a legal contract with. They did this at the last minute (less than a month before the festival date). This only goes to show that ticket sales were not doing as well as they initially claimed. Even with their giveaways and special packages, fans were not buying.

Perhaps the promoters were too greedy. Perhaps an amazing festival (by the looks of the lineup anyway) met up with an awful economy and created an explosion. Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that a lot of fans got screwed. Rock Gone Wild has set up information on how to get a full refund on their website ( If you bought tickets and haven’t received refund information, visit their site.

Outside Lands Festival
August 28 – 30
The summer festivals closed out with the Outside Lands Festival in California. Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, The Black Eyed Peas, and Modest Mouse (just to name a few of the top groups) performed to the delight of fans from all across the United States. Held at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Outside Lands Festival was an excellent end to the summer festivals and perhaps the most diversified event in terms of the different types of music. From rock, to hip hop, to alternative, to folk, this festival offered something for everybody. The 2nd annual Outside Lands Festival looks like a strong leader for best festival of 2009 and with the direction this event is moving in, it is certain to be a hit again next year and is another festival that will be moving to the top of my consideration list.

What was your favorite festival? Did you have the opportunity to attend more than one? Drop a comment and let me know. The Guru would love to hear all about it.

Comments are open. Feel free to post some.

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