Celebrating it’s tenth year, Rock on the Range shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the 2016 installment of the annual music festival lived up to it’s reputation as the biggest rock fest in the US selling out the entire weekend yet again. Set this year on May 20, 21 & 22, 2016, at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, Rock on the Range was three full days and three full music stages of performances by the best contemporary rock bands in the world with a fourth comedy stage included for good measure. Rock on the Range truly remains “Where Rock Lives.” And, while the weather tried to dampen the mood, literally, much of both Friday and Saturday this year, nothing could dissuade fans from having a great time the entire weekend.
The bands we caught included:
Day ONE – Monster Truck, Avatar, Sick Puppies, Seven Dust, Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine, Asking Alexandria, Sixx: A.M., Butcher Babies, Machine Gun Kelly, Megadeth, Shinedown, Disturbed
Day TWO – Lacey Sturm (formerly of Flyleaf), Jelly Roll, P.O.D., Wilson, Saint Asonia, Issues, Pop Evil, Steel Panther, Parkway Drive, Ghost, Hellyeah, Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie
Day THREE – The Glorious Sons, Highly Suspect, The Struts, Red Sun Rising, Wolfmother, Pennywise, Deftones, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Comedians Chad Zumock, Jay Armstrong, Bill Squire, Nate Bargatze, Big Jay Oakerson.
The festival included one amazing performance after another, non-stop. There were a few minor technical glitches here and there, but otherwise the production value was more than perfect. It was, at times, amazing, for instance during the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ set and via massive timed fireworks during Rob Zombie’s performance. And, when there were glitches, the performers, such as Jelly Roll, were in such good spirits about it on-stage, that fans just loved them all the more.
Producers of the mammoth event made sure that the crowds were safe and able to express themselves with well-managed mosh pits, crowd surfers and the occasional flash of lady parts, okay, breasts. Although, it wasn’t really until Steel Panther on day two that gals left caution and inhibitions to the wind. Something about those spandex clad rockstars that brings out the 80s in everybody. If the conversations in the bathroom lines were any indication after the band’s set, they won over new fans with their great humor and, as they pointed out, they also stopped the rain!
Speaking of lines, try as the producers might to make everyone comfortable, there were still very long portajohn, food and autograph lines. Definitely doable, but you didn’t want to wait until really hungry or desperately in need of relief.
And, for those who didn’t want to wait, the festival offered a VIP experience. For an additional fee, VIP patrons had access to the VIP lounge tent, LED Screens, seating areas, heating / air conditioning, cash bar, food for purchase, free Wi-Fi inside the tent, access to charging stations and lockers and dedicated VIP bathroom trailers w/attendants. Personally, we enjoyed the VIP experience especially as it afforded us respite from the rain. But, a number of folks complained that they had paid extra to still wait in bathroom lines, albeit in a more private area.
The weekend was an investment for everyone. The festival, well any festival really, can be a costly endeavor. Parking was $20 per day, beers $10 each, pop and water $5 and the average price of a burger or other vendor fare ran about $13 (without sides). Most folks seemed prepared financially and took it in stride as that’s the price, literally, of spending an incredible weekend entertained from top to tail.
In addition to satisfying music fans, Rock on the Range has, in it’s ten year history, helped the local community. This year was the first time the festival received official awards from the city. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and the City Council presented awards of recognition to the festival, and the Franklin County Board of County Commissioners drew a resolution to honor the 10th anniversary of Rock on the Range. The awards were presented due to the $140 million in economic impact the festival has brought to Columbus over the past 10 years.
Recently, some fans shared with us thoughts on their experiences at this year’s festival and their favorite photos as well:
Nicole Edelbrock – “There’s nothing like enjoying hard rock and heavy metal with your favorite bands and 40,000 other hardcore fans. Expect to get hit in the head with crowd surfers ontop of crowd surfers and pushed into the pit at least once. Enjoy the party and watch all the crazy fans dressed up like unicorns (or in a chicken costume). And know that crazy Ohio weather will get you!”
Brian Edelbrock – “I had been looking forward to seeing Saint Ansonia. I liked their music the first time I heard them on the radio. It only makes sense since I like Three Days Grace and their lead singer was Three Days Grace’s original lead singer.”
Marie Thompson – “We live our lives everyday with rock music in our souls. For me this weekend was about friendship forged in heavy metal. We came, we rocked, we danced, we sang slightly out of tune, we crowed surfed, we ate like roadies, and we did it with 40,000 other rockers!”
Aaron Grohler – “The random people you run into, like Chris Kael from FFDP. I love this festival.”
Katelyn Phillis – “This was my fourth year going to The Range, the 2nd year for a couple of people in my group, and the first year for my roommate. Rock on the Range is something that I want as many of my friends to experience as possible, because once you’re there, you realize it’s not just a concert or music festival. It’s like a family reunion for all of the rangers every year. When I enter the stadium gates, nothing else in the world matters except for the music, crowdsurfing, moshing, and helping out my fellow rangers down in the front. Even when I’m getting pummelled by surfers, risking my own safety to ensure that they’re safe, or being packed in and not being able to move, there’s still no place that I’d rather be.”
Photo Credit: Allie Søwers
Logan Downs – “This was my 4th year at ROTR and I can definitely say it was the best. From rocking out with new friends at Pop Evil, to the first time seeing my favorite band Highly Suspect live, to eating the Island Noodles (aka Happy Noodles to my mom and I), and to finally seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers live which has been my dream since 8th grade, and was actually the best time of my life.”
Amie Wilson – “Some of us weren’t lucky enough to get to go.”