This year, Rock on the Range takes it up to ELEVEN. May 19th, 20th, and 21st the Columbus Mapfre stadium (home to the Columbus Crew MLS team) will be the 11th season for the event that seems to be breaking records year after year.
It allows people to relive the metal they grew up with and experience the next generation of rock. Here is my plan for making the most out of the Midwest’s biggest celebration of rock.
Weekend, Premier, and Camping packages are offered, but all are sold out this year. It took just over a month. This thing is ‘uge! Last year, the festival received awards of recognition from both Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and the City Council, as well as a resolution from the Franklin County Board of Commissioners acknowledging more than $140 million in economic impact that the festival has contributed to the city over its 10-year existence.
If you realized your mistake all too late, I did happen across a few tickets with some premium online ticket vendors, but let’s face it, Rock on the Range isn’t getting any smaller. Make your move earlier. Start looking at the site in November. See what they’re packages and options are and plan accordingly. Or simply sign up for their emails and never miss the rock again. Pick up your tickets as soon as they go on sale.
FIND THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
If you do have tickets already, get there early. If you’re not one for crowds, here’s an insider’s tip—sit on the top bleachers on the stadium. You won’t get the full experience with the mosh pits and stage divers, but you won’t have to go anywhere to see your favorites perform on either the main or second stage if you travel up those stairs as soon as you get there. Turn around, bright eyes!
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The full lineup includes:
Metallica, Soundgarden, Korn, The Offspring, Volbeat, Primus, Bush, Chevelle, Papa Roach, Seether, Coheed and Cambria, Alter Bridge, The Pretty Reckless, Taking Back Sunday, Thrice, Amon Amarth, Pierce The Veil, Sum 41, Skillet, The Dillinger Escape Plan, In Flames, Gojira, Biffy Clyro, Motionless in White, Nothing More, Beartooth, Starset, Every Time I Die, The Story So Far, Deafheaven, Zakk Sabbath, Rival Sons, The Amity Affliction, Attila, Norma Jean, Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, I Prevail, Turnstile, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Red Fang, Dorothy, Kyng, Radkey, As Lions, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sylar, Fire from the Gods, Badflower, Wage War, Goodbye June, Cover Your Tracks, DED, Bleeker, Royal Republic, Mother Feather, Aeges, and One Less Reason.
But things can change. Download the app. Take a tour of it. Fall asleep with it still glowing on your screen the night before the show. The entire line up will be available there by stage and performance time. They’ll also announce weather delays, changes in line ups, and other helpful information.
There is a kick-off party Thursday, May 18th at Express Live featuring Stonesour for $11! It could put you in the right frame of mind. Get your bearings if you’re coming in from out of town and visit Columbus early. You don’t want to rush to the show early on Friday, only to realize you forgo your wristband, wallet, or 15-year-old son.
BRING A BUDDY
Let’s face it, it is going to rock more when you have someone there with you, but you’ll also need someone to hold your beer. You can’t take that with you when it’s time to crowd surf.
GET A TATTOO
At one point during the event, you’re going to be in line, either to be the first one inside the stadium on day one, a quick bathroom break, or purchasing some Island Noodles. A new tattoo will be a great ice breaker. Make it of your favorite obscure band at the show. You may be surprised to find several new people to party with.
COME WITH AN OPEN MIND
The diversity in music can be a great thing. In all the festivals I’ve been through, one of my favorite things is discovering new music. I went to a show in Colorado in 2007. I listened to the sampler disk they handed out at the door, only to find out, my new favorite band from that disk had just played their performance the day before. I also know that some acts don’t sound the same live as they do their studio release on vinyl. Some acts have to be witnessed.
There is a lot going with three stages at Mapfre, don’t leave it up to chance. The best approach is to put in some time with the artists you’ve never heard of. Top of my list this year is Gojira. I’m also banking on Natural Disaster by Mother Feather to blow my mind live.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Jonathan Davis of Korn comments, “Rock On The Range is the pinnacle rock festival in America. I always feel that in the crowd and can’t wait for our headline set in May. We’re gonna come at you with everything we’ve got — expect a few surprises!”
DON”T BE AFRAID TO EXPLORE
Of course you can’t bring food or drink with you, but there’s a ton of great options, once you’re inside the venue.
Walk the grounds. You’re bound to have fun doing something you’ve never done before. Rock on the Range is sponsored by Monster Energy, Bud Light, and Zippo. These partners, along with many others, will feature interactive experiences, artist meet & greets, and other unique fan engagement opportunities throughout the festival. You just have no idea what they’re going to come up with to hit the eleven mark this year.
There’s even a shuttle service to and from the event, should you be one of those patrons that may enjoy a brewski with your metal, or just prefer not having to walk so damn much.
Don’t forget about the comedy tent, especially if the sun is brutal, or you need a laugh after Deafheaven burned a hole in your soul with Come Back.
LEARN HOW TO PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS
If you’ve got the general admission wristband, you’re going to want to be right down in front of the stage. This will be the most interactive experience. Don’t be afraid to talk to these people. This is your Mecca! They are here for the same reason you are. Follow the unspoken social rules of the pit. Stop to help anyone who needs it. Be respectful of those who hate the machine as much as you do.
FOLLOW THE RULES
Be cool to the security. They can be cool AF, even in the most stressful situations.
Have fun, but do so responsibly. Following the rules makes things simpler. Imagine getting kicked out twenty minutes before Metallica takes the stage, and your best friend is forced to decide between joining you or pretending they didn’t see nothing, while you sit on the curb in the parking lot waiting for your ride home. The price of admission is well worth it, unless you’re forced to listen from the parking lot.
There you have it! Everything you need to know to enjoy and survive the latest installment of Rock on the Range in Columbus for 2017, May 21–23.