“Rock On The Range” is a music festival that packs a punch in the face for three full days. The annual festival brought in metal, hard rock, country-metal, rap and J-pop metal acts from all over to descend on MAPFRE Stadium. With endless crowd-surfers and mosh pit enthusiasts,the festival can be summed up in one word, intense.
Best overall show: Avenged Sevenfold
Heading into this festival I knew very little about Avenged Sevenfold, but I was in awe throughout the entire performance. Their show had all the makings of something special: fireworks, great visuals, special songs and of course, a shout-out to LeBron James.
The tribute to their drummer, Jimmy Sullivan, who passed away in 2010, was heartfelt. They rocked out harder than anybody that day, even though their set was cut short due to weather. Their lead singer, M. Shadows, showed his appreciation for his peers in the metal community, talking about his excitement for ‘Tool,’ who headlined the next day, also promising they would be back.
My favorite performance: Greta Van Fleet
If you have parents like mine, then you have spent countless hours listening and falling in love with classic rock. Greta Van Fleet is a modern band that brings that classic-rock sound to the millennial generation.
Josh Kiszka had a powerful voice that reminded me of Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, and he was my favorite voice throughout the entire festival. His brother, Jake Kiszka, is magical with a guitar, and he even played it behind his head at times. It was a nice surprise to see they added more songs to their setlist than just their EP.
Mixed feelings: Babymetal
The Japanese pop-metal band got off to a very slow start. There was a six-minute intro for a set that only lasted thirty five minutes. When they played their new single “Distortion,” the sound was just off.
On a positive note, they had really strong choreography, that just dazzled me. The band itself delivered with captivating performances and powerful vocals, and they were strong throughout the entire performance. Even though there was a bit of a language barrier with the lyrics, Su and Moametal did a great job vocally.
Worst part of the festival: Weather
On Day 2, the festival had to be evacuated twice for thunderstorms. This caused Bullet For My Valentine to cancel their show. It also pushed all of the other shows back by at least two hours, and cut multiple sets short, including Avenged Sevenfold.
What I liked from festival operations:
I know this isn’t a new setup, but I liked how the stages were placed along with the scheduling of every performance. Every stage was close and MAPFRE played a sound barrier between the side stages.
The festival was very responsible since they wanted people to be safe, while also giving them most of the performances for which they paid.
What I didn’t like about the festival operations:
Water was $5.50 per bottle! The food for me overall was hit or miss, and some vendors were fairer than others in price.
As a typically non-hard rock fan, I would definitely come back to Rock on the Range for another year. The talent that they bring in is fantastic and consistent. There is reason why this is by far one of the biggest rock music festivals in the country.