One of the best weekends of the year in Columbus, if not the best, is the third weekend in May when Rock On The Range takes over Mapfre Stadium for three days of rock! This was my third year attending the largest rock festival in the United States, and it was Casey’s sixth straight year at the festival.
After last year’s weather delays and the forecast going into the weekend, we were ready for the worst case scenario, but we certainly lucked out with good weather for most of the weekend, and just one evacuation this year due to lightning within eight miles of the stadium.
What started as a very rainy morning tailgating in the parking lot, it turned out to actually be the most comfortable day of the weekend. We started the day finding the locker tent, which was in a completely different place than it was in 2017. During our search for the lockers, we visited the FYE tent to get albums for artist signings and bought shirts from the festival and some of the bands playing on the first day.
The first band we saw was THE FEVER 333 on the Zippo Stage at 12:45, and this band did not hold ANYTHING back. Jason Butler, the band’s lead singer, could easily have been the craziest frontman I’ve seen perform in person. He climbed up to the top of the stage scaffolding and then went on to climb the Monster Energy semi truck parked to the side of the stage. THE DUDE CLIMBED A SEMI TRUCK. THE FEVER 333 set the bar high for the rest of the bands taking the stage throughout the weekend.
After THE FEVER 333’s set, we waited at the Zippo Stage for Senses Fail to come on at 1:50 while The Bronx opened up on the Main Stage. We got pretty close to the barrier as most people went to watch The Bronx or made their way to the Bud Light Stage to get a spot for Dance Gavin Dance.
While I knew of Senses Fail, I wasn’t familiar with their music and didn’t know what to expect, but Casey and her sister, Jacqui, have been fans of the band for years. Right from the start of their set, you could tell it was going to be an awesome set. The crowd was great, people were crowd surfing, and a few pits opened up throughout the set.
There was only one part I wasn’t much of a fan of and that was one of the crowd members, who we’ve rightfully named “Bloody Guy.” It was very obvious this guy was on something and ended up falling on the ground in the crowd after wobbling around incoherently. After he got back up, there was a small spot leaking blood on his back, which he was completely oblivious of. After trying to push his way back into one of the pits, people got tired of him running into others with his bloody back and stumbling about the crowd, so the people in front of us decided to lift him up and send him to the front of the crowd so he could have an EMS person take care of his back.
After the intense Senses Fail show, we watched Turnstile from afar while we had the infamous, Island Noodles, for lunch before making our way to the field of the Main Stage to wait for Greta Van Fleet. Although we were catching some bands on the smaller stages and grabbed a bite to eat, 10 Years performed on the Main Stage. This was one of the bands I wish I could’ve seen, but I know they will be around again for sure. #Novacaine.
Casey, myself, and her brother, Joey, saw Greta Van Fleet at Louder Than Life in Louisville last fall, so we knew we were in for a real treat.
GVF was one of our group’s most anticipated shows on Friday and the entire weekend. We found the perfect spot to see and hear the young band’s set. When Greta Van Fleet took the stage, they made it very clear why they deserved to be playing on the main stage.
The band’s lead singer, Josh Kiszka, belted his impressive vocals throughout each song as the crowd filling the entire stadium stood in awe. His brothers, Jacob Kiszka (Guitar) and Samuel Kiszka (Bass), played through the set flawlessly, and drummer Danny Wagner killed it. Their set proved the band’s maturity despite their youth and I’m really excited to see them as many times as humanly possible!
Following Greta Van Fleet, we took the rest of the day pretty easy. We caught parts of Atretyu’s set on the Bud Light Stage before Body Count closed out the stage for the day. Following their set, which was absolutely lit, I went back to the lockers to pick up my vinyl copy of Body Count’s most recent album, Bloodlust, for my signing at the FYE tent.
Meeting Body Count was a great experience. When I went through the line, it was just vocalist Ice-T, hype man Lil’ Ice, and guitarist Ernie C, and they were great to talk to. Each of them took time to speak with me. I asked them how they were enjoying their time in Columbus, Ice-T said it was a ghost town, but added they were staying near OSU, which is only a couple miles from the festival grounds. I told them they were about two weeks late since OSU was finished for the semester, which Lil’ Ice added no wonder why there were no ladies. Ice-T went on to talk about this really good restaurant they went the night before called Buffalo Wild Wings, which I got a good laugh from as Lil’ Ice showed me the leftovers he was working on.
Jacqui and Joey split from the group to catch Machine Gun Kelly on the main stage in between Atreyu and Body Count.
After Body Count’s performance, Breaking Benjamin performed on the main stage. We didn’t get to see their set, but from what we heard from other people, there were a crazy amount of crowd surfers constantly moving up the crowd to the stage.
While I was at the Body Count signing, the rest of the group stayed at the lockers to catch the Zippo Stage’s last band of the day, Underoath. Casey said they sounded good, but the show wasn’t memorable in her opinion.
By the time I was finished with the Body Count signing, I met back up with our group at the lockers and made our way to the main stage to relax and listen to A Perfect Circle. With the video screen camera locked on Maynard, it was the perfect time to sit, enjoy listening to the band perform, and resting our feet before the main headliner, Alice In Chains, took the stage.
Since I first heard Alice In Chains on one of my favorite video games, Guitar Hero II, they’ve been on my bucket list to see in person. Although the original lead singer passed before I could see the band in concert, William DuVall did a fantastic job and the band was as tight as they’ve ever been. It was a perfect ending to a perfect Day 1 of Rock On The Range!
Read our recap of Day 2 of Rock On The Range HERE!