TEXT AND PHOTOS BY MARK JACKSON
I arrived to the festival grounds Saturday October 3rd around 11 a.m. to a overcast misty day. The grounds were a little muddy from the rain from the previous night. I made my way across the grounds to the media check in and media tent to figure out the line up and location of stages.
The first band of the day that I wanted to catch was Butcher Babies, with a mixture of shock rock videos, great voices with hardcore screams, and knockout bodies. The girls were able to get the fans pumped up and start the festival off right, even with the mud and skies looking like rain again at any moment. Butcher Babies (pictured above and following the review in the gallery) have a underground following that is growing quickly. If you haven’t seen them live get out and see them for yourself!
The rain held off as the acts took the stage through out the day with great bands including: Trivium, Saint Asonia, Atreyu, Hollywood Undead, and Sevendust. Having one of this year’s best rock festival lineups going, the scheduling was perfect to be able to see most if not all of the bands on the lineup.
This festival bills itself as first and foremost a rock festival with bourbon and “gourmet man food,” so naturally it would be un-American of me not to experience all the festival had to offer. One of the big sponsors of the festival was Jack Daniel, which had bourbon at many locations throughout the grounds. They also had a food stand and a tent with the Jack Daniels walk thru trailer. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of food stands and would have to say my favorite of the weekend would was Mike’s Kentucky Kitchen, although I saw and tasted many tasty plates.
As the sun began to go down, Seether took to the Monster Stage North Stage. You could feel the electricity in the air as crowds from all stages converged at the Seether set. To the side of the North Stage was the Monster South Stage. This setup was great because while the band plays on one stage the crew could set up the other stage and be ready to for the next act as soon as the other act finishes. A bonus to this setup is that the fans didn’t have to walk a half mile every time they want to see the next act or wait 30-45 minutes for a stage turn around.
Next up was Bring Me The Horizon followed by Chevelle, Godsmack, and the headliner of the night, none other than the man himself—Rob Zombie (below) Rob had a great stage show, his band full of energy and the crowd in high gear. There was a good amount of crowd surfing during the day but once Rob got going, it seemed that everyone in the back of this massive crowd was now on top and headed to the front pit. This was a fitting way to end such a rocking day.
Day two started off with perfect weather, sunshine and 75 degrees. The grounds had dried up for the most part and the festival crews were on hand to put down wood chips on any muddy areas that were left over. The fans took advantage of the warm weather and the grounds were crammed full early in the day. It didn’t hurt that there was another full day and night of rock on hand. The daytime lineup for Sunday included: 10 Years, Nothing More, Hinder, Skid Row, Black Stone Cherry, 3 Doors Down, Collective Soul, and Breaking Benjamin—and this was all before 6 P.M.
I had already experienced more rock than one man is entitled to in a year, so it was time to refill with a little bourbon and eats. After wolfing down some gourmet food it was time to rock out the night with the rest of the lineup.
Next up was Slash with Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators. Slash was as always a monster on the guitar while Myles was on point with the lyrics. I thought I had seen the most crowd surfing that could be seen at a show on Saturday, but I was mistaken. This crowd was super pumped as they should be with this rock mayhem of a day.
The seven o’ clock hour arrived and in twenty minutes it would be time for rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd. There is nothing like a classic rock band rocking out while the crowd sings along with every word. I was pleased to see ages 16 to 60 singing along.
I made my way back across the grounds to catch the next act of the night which was Shinedown. The group had the 8:25 time slot and was the only act playing at that time so everyone on the grounds made their way to the same stage to enjoy one of the best bands of the day.
Last but not least, headlining and finishing off the weekend was ZZ Top. With a career of over forty five years and going strong, this was one of many of my highlights of the weekend. Useless fact of the day: the only member of ZZ Top without a beard is drummer Frank Beard.
Personally, I can’t wait till next years lineup. I highly recommend you put this one on your calendar for next year. Find me photographing all the great acts and say hello! In the mean time stop by my site and see all the highlights from the weekend in addition to the ones posted here: http://markjacksonphotography.net/