It seems to me that this year, as well as in years past, Europe has been kicking the United States ass when it comes to major music festivals. I decided to breakdown some of major festivals this year and see which ones provided the most bang for your buck.
The Download Festival is quite possibly the biggest music festival anywhere. The promoters for this festival understand that if you want to draw a lot of people, you have to have a major headliner. This year, the Download festival has more than one with AC/DC, Aerosmith, Megadeth on the same bill. Add Motorhead, Rage Against The Machine, and Stone Temple Pilots to the bill, and you have the makings of one incredible rock show. The lineup for this festival is already stout, and they will be adding more bands soon. Will Aerosmith implode before then? Who knows? I imagine the paycheck must be pretty fat for big rock shows. Maybe money has healed all wounds with them. I know that if I lived in Europe, there is no question where I would be that weekend. This festival drew 120,000 in 2009, and will probably exceed that in 2010.
The six festivals I chose are Download, The Stockholm Rockout, The Sweden Rock Festival, Rock on the Range, Rocklahoma, and M3. There are many more that I didn’t consider in this including Sonisphere and Hard Rock Hell. Any way you look at it, Europe has the U.S. beat on major rocks festivals.
Why is the United States getting the major shaft on major festivals? What can be done to turn this around? What are your thoughts about this? This rock fan is fed up!
HRH Grade: A
Download Festival June 11 – 13
Donnington Park, Derby, United Kingdom
(196.35 – 244 prices include camping)
Rage Against The Machine
Them Crooked Vultures
Stone Temple Pilots
Bullet For My Valentine
Thirty Seconds to Mars
Lamb of God
Five Finger Death Punch
Stockholm Rock Out is a newer festival that is comparable to M3 in Columbia, Maryland. This festival has a solid lineup, although there are no real headliners. There are twenty bands performing over the two days of this festival, many of which you will not see perform in the United States. Is it worth $166 dollars? Probably not.
HRH: Grade C+
Stockholm Rock Out (April 30th – May 1st)
2 Day ticket $166.07
Dizzy Reed of Guns n Roses
Pretty Boy Floyd
Vains of Jenna
Killer Clan of F.U.N.
The Sweden Rock Festival has been around since ’98, and seems to get bigger and better every year. This multi-day festival has a good mix of hard rock and heavy metal. It would be this metalhead’s dream to see some of the band’s on this bill play live. With 4 days at $295.00, the price is pretty steep for the average rocker. I am guessing most folks will buy a single day ticket, and catch some of their favorite bands and live with it.
HRH: Grade A-
Sweden Rock Festival (June 9th – 12th)
4 Days $295.00
1 Day avg $165.38
Guns N’ Roses
Bachman & Turner
The M3 Rock Festival is a hair metal festival in Columbia, Maryland that is celebrating its second year. This is the only music festival that I attended last year, and will probably be the only one in 2010 as well. If you are really low on dough, you can cough up $35.00 for a lawn seat (an pray it doesn’t rain). The average price in the pavilion is $75.00. For 14 bands this isn’t a bad deal at all, although I admit there are a couple of bands on the bill that I could skip. Seeing the Scorpions on their farewell tour is a must! I am looking forward to this one!
HRH Grade: B+
M3 (1 Day $35 – $175.00) Saturday June 19th
Dizzy Reed of G&R
Rock on the Range has become the premiere modern rock festival in the U.S. This is the festival’s fourth year, and the festival promoters always manage collect a large amount of radio friendly bands. This year, I believe the festival lineup is a lot weaker than the 2009 bill which had Motley Crue, Slipknot, Alice in Chains, Avenged Sevenfold and Buckcherry but it is still a solid bill nonetheless. No single day tickets are available for this show, which is a complete disappointment to me. Is Godsmack or Rob Zombie a true festival headliner? I don’t think so. This festival typically draws about 60,000 over the two day event. My guess is, this year it will be less.
HRH Grade: C+
Rock on the Range (May 22nd & 23rd)
US $99.50 – US $119.50 (for 2 day ticket)
Three Days Grace
Theory of a Deadman
Bullet For My Valentine
Coheed & Cambria
Puddle of Mudd
Escape the Fate
Year Long Disaster
Like A Storm
Wow, I understand that the folks at Rocklahoma nearly lost their shirts last year, but this new direction is not a good one. Something had to change, as the attendance was absolutely abysmal in 2009. AEG has taken this hard rockin’ hair metal festival and turned it into Rock on the Range part 2. In years past, Rocklahoma was a destination music festival. Now it is a regional one at best. They still haven’t figured out that you need a headliner to draw folks to a show. While I like ZZ Top & Godsmack, they really are not headliners. While I love Tesla and Cinderella, having them on the bill isn’t enough for me to travel to a multi-day festival. They at least got it right by moving the date to Memorial weekend, when it isn’t 105 degrees in Oklahoma. I am betting that they have alienated the majority of the folks who attended (or played) in this festival in the past. M3 will continue to grow as a result of this. Will the attendance be better than last year? Yes. Will it exceed 25,000 for the three days? Highly doubtful.
HRH Grade: C-
Rocklahoma ( May 28th – 30th)
(95 – 749)
Theory of a Deadman
Like A Storm
Year Long Disaster
The Glitter Boys
Sweden Rock Festival – Solvesborg 3-4-5-6 June 2009
22 of 75 bands confirmed – tickets on sale now at www.swedenrock.com!
Saturday evening, during the Sweden Rock Kick Off party in Stockholm, the first 22 bands confirmed for the 2009 edition of the Sweden Rock Festival were announced. At the same time, limited edition 4-day tickets were released. These tickets will only be available until January 31st and the price is the same as last year: 1990 SEK plus advance fee. 1-day, 3-day and regular 4-day tickets will be on sale from February 1st.
In other news for next years festival, is that the Rock Stage sound system will be upgraded to Festival Stage standards, the number of water closets on the festival ground will be increased by 50 percent, and an extended collaboration with Visit Blekinge will provide visitors better service for booking accommodation and ground travel.
Bands confirmed so far:
In Flames (S) – Will bring the biggest stage production in the bands history and perform a “special” setlist. Additional surprises are to be expected. This will be the bands only show in Sweden next summer.
Heaven & Hell (UK/US) – Black Sabbath with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. The first Black Sabbath studio album in 14 years will be released in March – under the name Heaven & Hell to avoid confusion with the still active Ozzy Osbourne fronted version of the band. This will be their only show in Sweden.
Dream Theater (US) – The prog metal masters have decided to start the European tour at Sweden Rock Festival. This will be their only show in Scandinavia in 2009.
Europe (S) – The most successful rock band in Swedish history. Headlined SRF 2004. Will release a new album in May.
Foreigner (US) – Have sold more than 50 million records but only played in Sweden once before, in 1991. This will be their only show in Sweden in 2009.
Hammerfall (S) – The new line-up featuring original bass player Fredrik Larsson and Poodles/Talisman/Great King Rat axeman Pontus Norgren will bring a super sized stage show, exclusive to Sweden Rock Festival!
Motorhead (UK/S) – The Sweden Rock Festival “house band” are once again bringing their full stage show including the “Bomber” plane ligting rig.
Lita Ford (USA) – She put her career on ice in 1997, but now she is back! This will be her only show in Scandinavia.
Uriah Heep (UK) – Recently released their first studio album in ten years.
Marillion (UK) – The only show in Scandinavia in 2009.
Amon Amarth (S)
Riot (USA) – The “Thundersteel” and “Privilige of Power” line-up reunited, exclusively for Sweden Rock Festival!
Blackfoot (USA) – The only show in Sweden this summer.
Forbidden (US) – The only show in Sweden.
The Outlaws (USA) – The only show in Scandinavia.
The Tubes (USA) – The only show in Scandinavia.
Seventh Wonder (S)
Another 50 bands will be added to the line-up!
More information about all bands confirmed so far, about our tickets and the festival in general can be found on our website, www.swedenrock.com.