Rock On The Range 2017
May 19- 21, 2017
I didn’t think Metallica’s track Ride the Lightning would be taken so literal when they were scheduled to perform at Columbus’s annual Rock on the Range (ROTR) music festival. It struck all three days, multiple times thoughout the weekend, just enough to put a damper on each day. Even after all the rain delays and stadium evacuations though I had a lot of fun experiencing my first ROTR. And no, that song was unfortunately not part of their set list.
My boyfriend and I drove 5.5 hours from Southern Ontario to Blacklick, OH, a city 30 minutes East of downtown Columbus, and checked into our Airbnb for the weekend. We spent Thursday night attending the Stone Sour ROTR Kick Off Party at Express Live! Our Airbnb and concert experience can be found in my previous blog post.
I promised my best friend I would take an outfit of the day photo. I’m new at this so half the time I didn’t know what I was doing.
Friday morning we drove to the festival a bit late around 1:30pm. There were lots of signs indicating where to enter the festival parking lot off the highway, which was easy to follow. We pre-purchased the 3-day parking pass for $65 USD (inc. fees) and had a vinyl sticker to adhere to our windshield. The daily parking rate was $25 USD/day otherwise. Since we arrived late parking was a bit harder to find and we had to park on the grass lot.
The cloud that would come back to haunt us…
The security check went smooth and we scanned in quickly using our RFID chip wristbands. This was a simple process but getting the wristbands originally was not so easy. Since I’m from Canada I selected the send to Canada in the mail option upon checkout. It was two weeks before the festival and I still hadn’t received anything yet.
Ticketmaster knew nothing so I resorted to posting on Instagram and Facebook. I received one random reply back saying they heard people getting them sent to Canada had to go to Will Call to pick them up. I also emailed Mapfre Stadium’s ticket office and they confirmed that all orders being sent to Canada would now be at Will Call.
That would have been nice to know via email from someone instead of me having to be Sherlock Holmes and stressing out about it 3 days before. There was also an issue since I used someone else’s credit card to purchase them and that person was not coming with us. They had to call and get the name switched over so I had permission to pick them up. This all would have been much easier if they were just sent to my house.
Weekend Stadium GA Price Level 1 $99.50 USD + fees/each
By the time we walked from the back lot to the venue we missed Beartooth, which was disappointing since my boyfriend really wanted to see that band. We ended up going to the Zippo Stage and saw I Prevail. I couldn’t see much from the ground so we decided to go stand on the bleachers of the stadium for a better view.
We then stayed sitting in the bleachers for Thrice’s set. They are a much different band from when I last saw them back in 2005 and I only knew a few songs.
Right after their set ended around 3pm an announcement came on stating that due to a severe weather warning the stadium was being evacuated. That really sucked since we didn’t know how it would work to get back in with our wristbands as it said no in and out privileges. We tried to stay inside as long as we could, but eventually we were ushered out by security.
We set up a blanket outside our car for about 30 minutes to lie on until it did start to rain. We waited another 45 minutes in the car while it poured and then we decided to take off.
We drove back to Blacklick and ordered in Papa John’s pizza. My boyfriend had never had it before and we figured it was a better deal than the $9 USD personal sized pizza the stadium was offering.
ROTR had a free app you could download, which provided set times/ updates during weather delays. Unfortunately because we are from Canada and did not want to pay $98908887320 for data we couldn’t use it while at the festival. There were plenty of nice people we met throughout the course of the weekend though that were happy to tell us the set times.
When they announced that the bands would be starting back up again at 8pm we were down a pizza and 8 bread sticks into our The People vs OJ Simpson Netflix marathon and didn’t want to venture back out into the rain. It was unfortunate though as we were really excited to see Bush and Gojira play.
We drove to the concert a lot earlier allowing us to get a better parking spot than the day before. We were past security and entered with our wristbands by 11:15am. I feel like the wristband should be made all out of plastic instead of the material one it is. It would get wet from showering/rain storms and stay wet around my wrist which was annoying.
Fire From The Gods was scheduled to play the Zippp Stage at 11:45am so we went straight there to get a good spot. We ended up getting front row slightly to the left of the stage. Unfortunately the moment they were about to start the emergency storm evacuation audio started to play throughout the stadium. Thankfully we weren’t forced to leave again, but we were ushered into the covered sections making me lose my amazing spot.
We had to wait there for two hours. It barely rained, but I guess it was more of a lightning threat. Miraculously I was able to get my exact same spot back at 2pm when they took the stage.
There were plenty of diverse food trucks onsite to choose from as long as you had your wallet with you, as they were quite expensive. We tried to pick food that would keep us full, as we knew we would be eating both lunch and dinner there. We decided on getting beef brisket sandwiches from Iron Grill Barbecue & Brew for $10 USD/each, which was filling and delicious. (No photo, we were starving)
The previous day I had seen people walking around with ROTR souvenir cups that looked really cool. I was able to find one on the second level of the stadium after asking around a bit. A regular drink was $5 USD and this one was $7 USD, which I didn’t think was that bad in price. I thought drink prices in general were crazy though: $5 USD for a bottle of water, $10 USD for a tall can of beer, $11 USD for a can of Jack Daniel’s Downhome Punch.
Let’s be real, I had two throughout the weekend and my boyfriend had a few beers. We come from Canada where drinks at concerts are around the same price, but with the exchange rate it really screwed us over.
I thought we were going to miss Skillet play, but I believe they switched set times with Alter Bridge so we were able to catch them. This was our first time seeing them and to be honest I thought they started out kind of rough, but by the third song in they were great. Tons of energy and they move around the stage a lot. They played some of their popular songs including Feel Invincible and Monster.
Seether is the type of band for me that I never want their set to end. They don’t have any crazy backgrounds or tricks, but just them standing there playing is so great live. They played a country infused version of Country Song- that may seem obvious I know, but I find the CD version doesn’t give off the same vibe. They also played my favourite song Fine Again where I took a video clip of my favourite part:
Papa Roach always amazes me with the show they put on. This was my second time seeing them and it’s great how much energy and crowd interaction Jacoby Shaddix displays throughout their set. They even brought out a live, I’m assuming local, band to play on Born For Greatness.
I ordered 3 chicken tacos that had cheese, a spicy sauce and cabbage coleslaw on them. They were $10 USD for 3. They weren’t huge, but they did fill us for the night. They were EXTREMELY messy though so again I’m a failure and didn’t take a food picture ☹
What I did see of The Offspring they were decent, but just not my thing. It was crazy to think about the fact that I was just 10 years old when Pretty Fly (For A White Guy) came out in 1998 and that the lead singer would have been only 32 at the time.
This was my fourth time seeing Korn and I swear he has worn that black shirt at every single show since I started going to see them. They played a lot of new material off their most recent release The Serenity of Suffering, which was my first time hearing the material live. One thing you can always count on is Jonathan Davis playing the bagpipes at their shows.
Unfortunately they had to cut their set short by a couple songs due to incoming lightning missing favourites like Freak on a Leash and Falling Away From Me. Thankfully I have tickets to see them again this Summer in Toronto and will hopefully get to see the full show there.
Getting out of the parking was a bit confusing, but went quickly. Most people seemed to stay for Korn so I thought it would be difficult with the whole stadium leaving all at the same time due to the weather warning making us all leave in unison.
My boyfriend wanting to get in on the daily outfit posing apparently...
We arrived at the festival early again to get close parking and to get a good view for the band Dorothy. I have the biggest girl crush on the singer who's name is also the band's name. They started at 12:20pm and I was happy to not hear the weather-warning announcement for once. I had the same spot as I did for Fire From The Gods so I could see great. This was my first time seeing the band and they were amazing live.
I tried to take some videos, but being so close to the speakers they turned out quite distorted. Here is one that did though, a cover of I Put A Spell on You:
During their set they announced they would be doing a signing at the Monster Energy trailer. I honestly didn’t think that many people would know who they were, but by the time I got into line I thought I would never have a chance to meet them. Their signing was only for 30 minutes, but I believe they extended it, as the line was huge. I wasn’t able to take a photo due to time constraints, but they signed a really nice photo they provided. Unfortunately, due to later weather issues it got slightly damaged in my bag.
The previous day I had purchased their CD titled Rock Is Dead @ the FYE tent. I’ve asked around my local record stores and they all said it was something to do with distribution issues that they don’t have it in stock, so I was never able to have a physical copy. This one was $12 USD and provided me a wristband to a meet and greet.
Due to the long wait at the other signing I made sure to get in line early and started waiting 45 minutes ahead of the scheduled signing. There were already around 20 people ahead of me at that time so I was glad I did. I wasn’t sure about the camera policy so I handed it to my boyfriend to try to stand off to the side and take a video of me meeting them. I asked them to wave to my boyfriend and they were all super nice about it.
Here is my signed CD and a screencap from that video:
The drinks that we grumbled about their price:
We had seen Nothing More perform at the first annual Rock Allegiance and at that time I wasn’t too familiar with their music. Since then I’ve listened to their self-titled studio album on repeat about 50 times, so I was really excited they were part of the ROTR lineup. I was so disappointed listening to them though as I thought they sounded horrible.
They played some singles like Jenny and This Is The Time (Ballast) along with a new song that I hated. It wasn’t just me, my boyfriend thought they weren’t very good either and we ended up leaving halfway through their set.
We then grabbed lunch at Schmidt’s Sausage Truck and ordered a Knockwurst and Bahama Mama sausage with a side of German potato salad and cabbage ($10 USD/each).
This was my third time seeing The Pretty Reckless and no matter what I always think of Taylor Momsen as little Jenny Humphrey from the TV series Gossip Girl. I’m sure she hates that reference but it’s true. She has an amazing voice, but I find it’s always a very boring performance.
They did do an emotion tribute to Chris Cornell by performing his song Like a Stone:
My boyfriend was looking forward to seeing Primus- he told me later it was because girls always show their tits in the audience during them…mmn hmm. During their set I actually walked around the festival grounds, bought a bracelet from Fxck Cancer and forked out another $5 USD for a Mountain Dew. When I went back to my seat this is what I saw:
To say I was confused was putting it mildly…
Volbeat was next and this was my third time seeing them and by far my favourite show of theirs. The sound quality was amazing and they really got the crowd going.
We had brought a couple cheap ponchos to the festival with us and we were glad we did as it started to pour with two songs left in Volbeat’s set. They left the stage and someone from the festival made the announcement that there was inclement weather coming. I think they knew better at that point then to try to get everyone to leave- it was packed and it was general admission so people like us who had got a great spot early would not have been happy.
We waited out the storm but man did it pour. My combat boots were so soaked it felt like I was wearing scuba gear and my boyfriend was wearing long jeans that soaked up all of the rain. After an hour and a half delay Volbeat came back on to finish their set. It then poured some more, but stayed pretty dry for when Metallica took the stage.
This was my second time seeing Metallica and despite being water bogged enjoyed it more because of better sound quality than when I saw them in Minneapolis last year. They played a lot of content off their latest album Hardwired...to Self-Destruct including a group drumming session on Now That We're Dead that was amazing. My favourite one was probably Seek & Destroy because I remember discovering that song when I was around 12 so it was so cool to finally hear it played live.
We left before it was over to try and avoid a traffic jam. Normally I would never leave a concert early, especially the artist being Metallica, but we were soaked, tired and hungry at this point. We’re also going to their WorldWired Tour in Toronto this July so I figured we would catch anything we missed then.
Here is a compilation of clips from their set that I took:
I think I would only return for another ROTR if the lineup was amazing with tons of bands I wanted to see as the whole weekend cost us around $500 USD/each from tickets, lodging, gas, groceries, parking, food at festival and merchandise.
1. Did you attend this year’s ROTR or a previous one?
2. Who would you like to see scheduled to perform at next year's ROTR?
3. What other rock music festival would you recommend I look into attending?