There have been many festivals all around the world, so to choose only 5 is extremely difficult. All of these are in the US so I’ll have to do a foreign fest article at some point. Some of the ones I have chosen have just recently come back. What I really wanted to take into account was the length of time all these festivals were around, and the level of bands that were on them. So here are some festivals I believe truly made an impact on the public.
From the same creators as the Bonnaroo Festival, and a few years before EDC made its way to Vegas, there was a festival known by the name of Vegoose. The theme of the festival was Halloween, so it’s easy to see why it was able to succeed. It seems that 2007 was the year that would have been most worth seeing to me. Some of the artists included: Daft Punk, Rage Against the Machine, Muse, Public Enemy, and Iggy & The Stooges. Sadly the festival could never find a good following, with Vegas preferring DJ’s more than the stuff that Vegoose was bringing to the table. Today the owners went on to co-own Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, CA.
All Points West Music & Arts Festival(2008-2009)
According a lot of random sources on the internet, putting on a festival in New York/New Jersey proves to be extremely difficult at times. This one was a 3-day festival located in Liberty State Park in New Jersey, during the beginning of August. Other big names were Radiohead(twice!), Jay-Z, My Bloody Valentine, Jack Johnson, Cage The Elephant, and many many others. Unfortunately do to weather conditions, and the attendees being limited on the amount of drinks they could buy, the festival was no more. Now the Governor’s Ball Music Festival has pretty much replaced it and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Taste Of Chaos(2005-2010, 2015-2016)
This festival was every post-hardcore kids dream, which was co-owned by the Kevin Lyman who’s been putting on Warped Tour. During the glory days of post-hardcore, this was a great way to give exposure to bands in the genre and make it affordable just as Warped is. Also in the same vein, it was a traveling tour. Just for reference, here is the entire main stage 2005 lineup:
- My Chemical Romance
- The Used
- Killswitch Engage
- Senses Fail
- Saosin(2nd half of tour)
- Underoath(1st half of tour)
- A Static Lullaby
- Atreyu(Only 2nd Date)
- Unearth(Only 2nd Date)
From there, it only went on to gain even more international success. Nothing was planned for 2017 but we’ll see if it makes another return for the US.
OzzFest(1996-2008, 2010, 2013, 2015)
Due to Ozzy’s resilience, along with his wife Sharon taking initiative as well, we were given a great festival. During the late 90’s, Ozzy Osbourne wanted to get on the festival circuit, yet nobody wanted to hire him. So instead of sticking to his regular tour cycle, he started up what is known as OzzFest. Occasionally Ozzfest makes a comeback, for instance in both 2016 & 2017, it has been combined with Knotfest in the LA area. There have been countless big names that have played this fest, at one time it was like what Warped Tour is today. Some of those include System Of A Down, Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Tool, and Pantera.
The Bamboozle Festival(2003-2012)
Before Warped tour truly became what it is currently, we had The Bamboozle Festival. It was located in New Jersey, and was a 3-day yearly festival. Based off just the 2012 lineup, it’s clear why Bamboozle was truly king at the time. A small fragment of names include: Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Brand New, Stray From The Path, The Wonder Years, Skrillex, White Chapel, and Riff Raff. This festival seems almost as equivalent to what Outside Lands is currently on in the Bay Area of California. Sadly, the festival never made it to 2013 so it never truly got to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary. They posted in 2013 that we may hear from them in 2014 but nothing has been heard of in the past couple years.
Woodstock(1969, 1994, 1999)
What would this list be without the infamous Woodstock, not just the original of the 60s but the anniversaries as well. We all know the 1969 line-up consisting of legends like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana, The Who, and The Grateful Dead. When they decided to put on the subsequent 25th anniversary in 1994, and the 30th in 1999, the times were definitely different. In 1994 they still included acts like Santana, Joe Crocker, and also The Band. But on top of that you had newer bands like Metallica, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nine Inch Nails. Green Day is most notable for their performance because of the mud fight that broke out between the band and the audience.
In 1999 they tried it yet again only this time it got even crazier with bonfires being set using candles given by anti-gun activists. Along with violence erupting during Limp Bizkit‘s set , this was nothing like the original event held 30 years earlier. Artists on this one included Megadeth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rage Against the Machine, Ice Cube, and The Offspring. Nonetheless, we can only hope someone decides to do a 50th celebration in 2019
Day On The Green(1973-1992, 1999)
This was a yearly slew of concerts held in Oakland, CA at Oakland Coliseum(where both the Raiders and A’s play). The range of acts that played this festival, which ran for nearly 20 years, is honestly too long to list here. Initially there was only one day, and for a few years they didn’t have any days, but the variety is crazy. Some of them were Guns N Roses, The Rollings Stones, The Who, Metallica, The Beach Boys, Ted Nugent, even Led Zeppelin. Unknown at the time, some of the last shows Led Zeppelin ever played as a full band(Plant, Page, Bonham, & Jones) was at Day On The Green show during their 1977 North American Tour.
Also in a similar style to Taste of Chaos, and also sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drinks, this was basically a tour for metal lovers. The initial tour package for the 2010 mainstage lineup was: Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, and Halestorm. In following years they embraced more genres, with 2013 being my personal favorite: Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains, Coheed & Cambria, and Circa Survive. The owner of Uproar stated in 2014 that there would be no festival in 2015 or 2016. The only site activity shown was as recent as October 2016 so we will see if it makes a comeback anytime soon.
While a lot of these tour feature some of the same artists, Mayhem was one that stuck with the heavy genre primarily. This could’ve been why attendance was so poor in 2015, but concert attendance has been tanking consistently for awhile now it seems. So many great bands have played this festival: Slipknot, Underoath, Suicide Silence, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse, and The Devil Wears Prada. This one along with Uproar and Taste of Chaos were all sponsored by Rockstar Energy. Will anything besides energy drinks sponsor metal music festivals?
Author: Ben Schlotthauer
Born & Raised in Northern California
Attending Chico State for BA in Music Industry & Tech
Bassist of Chico Feet