Sonic Temple Arts & Music Festival – 3 Day Recap

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Article Written by: George Archibald

Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival Day 1

For many in the Columbus, Ohio area, Sonic Temple marks a right of passage for summer for many of the concert goers as they pack into Mapfre Stadium to see their favorite bands. The parking lot was adorned with banners of bands, as canopies were erected for many tailgate preshow parties. Several sound systems blared, as the smell of BBQ filled the air as tailgaters were out in full force before the show.  It was quite the scene to witness before gates opened. On a day that started with rain and blossomed into a warm sunny May day, The Jacks and Radattack were the first bands to kick off the festival.  

Fans were treated to rock and roll, and metal during the event, with bands like Shvpes, Badflower, and Wage War playing the early sets. Many began to come into the stadium around the time Avatar took the stage. The band with its high energy stage show got the crowd into a fury as they broke into ‘Hail the Apocalypse.’  

This day would see many treats as Columbus natives Beartooth would take main stage, giving the crowd a hometown feel for their set. Bad Wolves played their very emotional rendition of The Cranberry’s ‘Zombie,’ which became a crowd sing along. For the heavier crowd they had Parkway Drive and Zakk Wylde to keep them hyped. One surprise performance was when System of a Down’s Serj Tankian joined Tom Morello to sing Audioslave’s ‘Like a Stone’ as a tribute to Chris Cornell.  

Lizzy Hale of Halestorm gave away a guitar to one of her fans during her set, as well as played a blazing version of ‘I Miss the Misery.’ Meshuggah brought the heavy, and probably surprised a lot of concert goers as they play against the grain of metal. Songs like ‘Rational Gaze’ and ‘Bleed’ placate the pit life and caused the moshers to stir to the chaos. Ghost took to the stage adorned in full robes, as the faceless ghouls played through ‘Rats, Square Hammer, and Cirice.’  

Ending out the night was System of a Down, who have not been in Columbus for a number of years. The band came out to ‘Prison Song’ and the crowd went wild from that point on. At one point during the set it was announced that the sound system would need to be rebooted. Which prompted guitarist Daron Malakain to shout out, ‘bring down the system’ to the crowd which egged on the chants. As the band played on after the reboot, the sky began to open, drizzling down on concert goers as it had begun that morning. For the day had many sights and sounds, and was filled with wonder; this was only day one of the festival, and there is so much more to see over the next two days.  

Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival Day 2

After yesterday’s insanity, the hardcore concert goers were back again for day 2 of the Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival. Saturday’s crowd eclipsed the prior days attendance with a sold-out show. Early tailgaters were at again with their own groups of tents and grilled foods. Alcohol a must have for any parking lot party was rampant, and concert goers were pregaming for another day full of festivities. A surprise for this morning was Columbus metal band Sour Blood, set up a PA and board and threw an impromptu show prior to gates opening in the lot.  

Kicking off today’s fest was The Plot in You and No 1 Cares. Up next Evan Konrad and Boston Manor took the stage. Evan Konrad opened up his set with a heart felt emotional rendition of ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden, as a tribute to Chris Cornell a Rock on The Range veteran, who passed away two years prior. Columbus natives Black Coffee kicked things off on the main stage with their blend of 70 and 80’s styled rock and roll. The band had the energy of Van Halen, and the soul of Led Zeppelin as they played through their own brand of rock. The band even did a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Black Dog.’ 

Fever 333 gave a memorable performance, the band known for their energetic stage show decided to give the Columbus concert goers a show they would never forget. Vocalist Jason Butler delivered a small speech about the misogyny in the rock community and spoke out against the new abortion bill that passed for the state of Ohio. He then proceeded to jump into the crowd and climb through the grandstand while delivering vocals as the band played on.  

The Black Dahlia Murder and Don Broco were up next splitting the crowd between metal and rock, with the Echo and Wave stages hosting both at the same time. Gojira was up next with a surprise performance from Randy Blythe of Lamb of God at the end of ‘The Heaviest Matter of the Universe.’ Flames shooting from the stage reportedly injured guitarist Christian Andreu briefly, but he was able to complete the set. Architects followed up with a high energy set featuring songs from their latest album Holy Hell.  

In This Moment featured a scenic stage show with dancers and several wardrobe changes. Vocalist Maria Brink was spot on for the set which included the songs, ‘Whore and Blood.’ Action Bronson was to perform next, but a report released thirty minutes to his stage time said the rapper suffered a leg injury and would not be able to perform. Sharing the same time slot was Killswitch Engaged, who played a very fast paced set which seen the crowd pack in for a view. Even Unearth’s Ken Susi was in the photo pit to watch the band’s set.  

On the main stage Lamb of God stole the show, as the Mapfre Stadium floor was pack from front of house to the back with moshers and metal fans. Two large circle pits opened to either side of the sound tent during the set, and many crowd surfers could be seen keeping security busy during the high energy set. Vocalist Randy Blythe even jumped into the crowd, getting crowd members to cheer and yell.  

To help close out the night The Cult and Papa Roach played. During Papa Roach vocalist Maria Brink of In This Moment joined Jacoby Shaddix for a duet on ‘Gravity.’  Papa Roach also payed tribute to Prodigy’s Keith Flint by performing ‘Firestarter.’ Closing out the night was Disturbed, who kicked off their set performing ‘Are You Ready.’ The Chicago natives set included several of their hits, ‘Down with the Sickness, Ten Thousand Fists, and The Sounds of Silence.’ It was the icing on the cake to a rather event filled day. As the sold-out crowd funneled out of Mapfre stadium many were still amped for what is to come in Day 3 of the Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival. 

Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival Day 3 Recap 

Day 3 of the Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival started off like and lamb but quickly became a lion with the incoming weather, the festival was experiencing wind gusts up to and exceeding 20 miles and hour. The weather has created a wind advisor which seen the Wave Stage grounded for the day cancelling several acts in the process that were set to perform. Demob Happy, Scarlxrd, Basement, Black Pistol Fire, Refused and Scars on Broadway were all effected by this sudden change.  

Mainstage evacuated due to high winds; a weather advisory was effect during the Interruptors set. Soon afterward the Sonic Temple was put on hold as wind gusts picked up causing a code red situation as the crowd was evacuated as a safety precaution. Since their sets were cancelled, The Distillers and Refused preformed at Ace of Cups, with all proceeds from the show going to Women Have Options. For the concert goers who stayed, the gates would reopen around 7:30 to a rocking set by Joan Jett and the Black Hearts.  

The highlight of the night was with Foo Fighters closing out the event. Comedian Pauly Shore surprised the crowd by making an appearance onstage introducing the band. The Comedian has been mourning the loss of his father which was announced the day prior. The Foo Fighters dedicated the song ‘My Hero’ to Pauly and his father, during the performance those in attendance joined vocalist Dave Grohl in singing the chorus as Shore watched onstage. The band’s set consisted of their biggest hits, including, ‘Rope, Learn to Fly, and The Pretender.’ 

 It was a great way to see the festival come to end as the sky cleared as the music faded. There were many memorable performances this weekend. From Fever 333 taking the crowd by storm with their high intensity live show, to seeing a newly reformed System of a Down perform in Columbus after so many years of absence. What was your favorite moment of Sonic Temple?  

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