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Rock On The Range 2016

May 20, 21 and 22



Photo Credit:  Tim Ash


If there were to be a spiritual pilgrimage of sorts for die-hard fans of rock music, it would surely be at Rock on the Range. Held at the MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, a sold-out crowd experienced THREE days of music on THREE stages, comedy in the Rolling Rock Comedy Tent, and activities that are unique to this heavy-hitting weekend festival. After literally taking the festival scene and molding it into an event that continuously sells out in advance and breaks attendance records, Rock on the Range is nothing less than a well-oiled machine that continues to create iconic moments in music history. And on its tenth anniversary, Rock on the Range is bigger, heavier and louder than ever before, reminding festival goers why it is the top rock festival on the continent.

DAY ONE electrifies the crowd with an energetic mix of festival newcomers and ROTR veterans. With stand-out performances by Avatar, Megadeth, Disturbed, Shinedown and Sevendust, Rock on the Range is off to a phenomenal start.

Stage Three explodes with Butcher Babies, Memphis May Fire, Miss May I, Crown The Empire, Andrew Watt, We Came As Romans and Cane Hill.

The Butcher Babies take the stage to a roar of deafening applause, as the female duo run through songs like "National Bloody Anthem", "The Butcher", "Igniter" and Magnolia Boulevard", clearly illustrating why they have claimed their Stage Three headlining placement.

Stage Two welcomes Megadeth, Machine Gun Kelly, Asking Alexandria, Trivium, Enter Shikari, Avatar and Monster Truck.


Avatar - Photo By Jason Squires

If any band knows how to enthrall a festival crowd, it is most assuredly Avatar, with a theatrical presence that completely envelops the stage.  Prowling about like a ringmaster, Johannes Eckerstrom easily entrances the crowd with his mesmerizing voice, personality and captivating stage antics.  Hailing from Sweden, band mates John Alfredsson, Kungen, Tim Ohrstrom, and Henrik Sandelin bang their heads in complete synchronicity as Eckerstrom waves his cane as if he is the crazed conductor of some sort of underground symphony.  They open with their newest single, "For The Swarm", and then they smash through "Hail The Apocalypse", "Let It Burn" and "Smells Like a Freakshow"... all with an effortless bravado that seems to strike the crowd with awe and amazement.  They put on undeniably the best performance of the afternoon.

And as the first day of Stage Two's phenomenal performances come to a close, Megadeth works the crowd into a fist-pumping frenzy with "Hangar 18", "Dystopia" and "Holy Wars... The Punishment Due".

On Day One, the Monster Energy Main Stage brings in Disturbed, Shinedown, A Day To Remember, SIXX:A.M., Bullet For My Valentine, Sevendust and Sick Puppies.


Sevendust - Photo By Jason Squires

I will admit without any form of apology that I have been looking forward to seeing Sevendust for months.  They have turned playing to a festival crowd into an art form, as they walk for the first time onto the ROTR main stage.  This band knows EXACTLY how to work an audience with their patented sound, easily recognizable from the parking lot. The unmistakable vocals of Lajon Witherspoon soar in "Thank You", mesmerizingly accompanied by the harmonies of Clint Lowery in "Shine". But the real magic sets in during crowd favorites like "Pieces" and "Face to Face", where the maddening beat of Morgan Rose's drums are only matched by his maniacal screams.


Shinedown - Photo By Jason Squires

And as the rain trickles down, the crowd does not seem to mind, rooted in place and eagerly awaiting the pounding force of Shinedown. I can remember when Shinedown first played Rock on the Range, over on Stage Two, before Stage Three even existed. I can recall the crowd's response, eating up every morsel that Shinedown offered, like they had just found their new favorite candy. The journey of this band is nothing short of inspiring, as they leap onto the main stage with "Asking For It", and quickly jumping into a fan favorite, "Fly From The Inside". Brent Smith's vocals resonate throughout the stadium... pure, powerful and full of emotion, matched perfectly with the guitar prowess of Zach Myers, once the guitar tech for Saliva before Shinedown snatched him up to contribute his intricate riffs and melodic harmonies. They continue to fly through one hit after the next with "If You Only Knew", "45", "Cut The Cord" and their passionate cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man".


Disturbed - Photo By Jason Squires

By the crowd's obvious choice for their t-shirts of the day, it seems that Disturbed has brought many Rangers out on this wet evening to go along on a long, crazy ride... all the way back to the early years of Disturbed, when frontman David Draiman was wheeled onto the stage in an electric chair. While Draiman is no longer bound and prepared to atone fo his sins, he still energizes the crowd in a way that leaves no question what kind of performance they are in for. They riot through "Ten Thousand Fists", "The Game", "Prayer", "Stupify" and "Down With The Sickness", even stopping to slow things down for their powerful performance of Simon and Garfunkel's "Sound of Silence", hands down the most electrifying moment at Rock on the Range 2016.

DAY TWO promises unforgettable performances, as the day heats up, right along with the acts onstage.

Stage Three rolls out the carpet for Clutch, Crown The Empire, New Years Day, Wilson, Jelly Roll and Citizen Zero.

The members of Clutch emerge onto the stage as if they were born there, playing energetically to a crowd that can't seem to get enough from these Maryland boys. They throw out "Who Wants To Rock?", "Sea Of Destruction" and "A Quick Death In Texas".

Stage Two showcases Lamb Of God, Ghost, Parkway Drive, Issues, Texas Hippie Coalition, Aranda and Lacy Sturm.


Ghost - Photo By Jason Squires

While the acts on Stage Two could definitely headline their own bill this year, no arrival seems to be more anticipated than that of Ghost. These Swedish rockers know how to turn up the drama, as incense pours onto the stage and an eerie intro blasts from the speakers. All of the members of the band are masked, including frontman Papa Emeritus. They ignite the crowd with "From The Pinnacle To The Pit", "Absolution" and the Grammy-award-winning "Cirice". Ghost cause quite a stir, with festival goers amazed by their originality and their epic stage presence.

The Monster Energy Main Stage cranks things up with Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Hellyeah, Steel Panther, Pop Evil, Saint Asonia and P.O.D.


Pop Evil - Photo By Jason Squires

Pop Evil, absolutely no strangers to the Rock on the Range main stage, excite the crowd with songs like "Deal With The Devil", "Torn To Pieces", and seemingly the crowd favorite, "100 in a 55".  Lead vocalist, Leigh Kakaty, works the stage as if he must physically touch every square inch, running from one side to the next, climbing, jumping, and when that isn't enough, diving into the crowd to be pushed and held up in the air... all without missing a word. 


Five Finger Death Punch - Photo By Jason Squires

Later in the evening, it is easy to see the crowd growing restless.  Excited voices fill the air as anticipation builds, and some energetic Rangers are stretching and hopping on both feet as if they are preparing for a championship fight.  And they're actually pretty close.  Five Finger Death Punch roar onto the stage, with a performance nothing short of legendary, as they pull the crowd in with emotionally charged numbers like "Wrong Side of Heaven" and "Battle Born", and then incite the pit almost to the brink of madness to remind them that they are at a metal show, blasting out "Jekyll and Hyde", "Never Enough", and their mind-blowing rendition of "Bad Company", dedicated to the country's troops.  The floor is constantly ablaze with numerous break-out mosh pits, but lead singer Ivan L. Moody is most certainly the gentleman of heavy metal, as he takes the time to pause and remind his fans to watch out for the children, who he brings onto the stage during "Burn MF". 


Rob Zombie - Photo By Jason Squires

As the sun begins to go down, the full moon overhead sets the perfect stage for Rob Zombie, a musical genius whose strew of movies have also earned him a firm place within the annals of the horror genre. As Zombie explodes onto the stage, the entire floor is a sea of people... jumping, screaming and moving to the undeniable beat of the music. The crowd ignites as they hear "Superbeast", "Living Dead Girl", "House Of 1000 Corpses" and "Dragula". 

DAY THREE ensures much-anticipated performances, as the crowds await on this final day.

Stage Three opens up with Between The Buried & Me, The Sword, The Shrine, Wild Throne and Code Orange.

Between The Buried & Me Close down the third stage on the last evening of Rock on the Range with a vengeance. They race through songs like "Famine Wolf" and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Stage Two does not disappoint with At The Drive-In, Pennywise, Anti-Flag, Red Sun Rising, Hands Like Houses and the Glorious Sons.


Red Sun Rising - Photo By Jason Squires

Red Sun Rising puts on a truly fantastic performance, drawing in festival goers as if they are old friends. Hailing from nearby Akron, Ohio, Red Sun Rising illustrate what it means to be playing in front of a "nearly" hometown crowd, racing through "Push", "The Otherside"and "Emotionless". With their energetic stage presence, Red Sun Rising is definitely a ROTR favorite!

The Monster Energy Main Stage ignites with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Bring Me The Horizon, Wolfmother, Death From Above 1979, The Struts and Highly Suspect.


Red Hot Chili Peppers - Photo By Jason Squires

Closing down the Rock on the Range stage for its tenth year anniversary, the Red Hot Chili Peppers completely engage the crowd with hits likes "Otherside", Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground", "Suck My Kiss" and "Californication".  Anthony Kiedis embraces the crowd with his stunning vocals, providing a purely electrifying performance to end Rock on the Range 2016.

For those who take a break from the music, the ROTR Rolling Rock Comedy Tent offers side-splitting humor, even welcoming in special guests like Rob Zombie and John Five. On the first day,  attendees laugh along with Jay Mohr, Bethany Dwyer, Mike Baldwin, Jay Snyder and Adrian Cosby. On day two, the tent offers humor from Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson & Jim Florentine from That Metal Show, Craig Gass and Madison Malloy. Wrapping up the final day, the ROTR Rolling Rock Comedy Tent laughs into the afternoon with Big Jay Oakerson, Nate Bargatze, Bill Squire, Jay Armstrong and Chad Zumock.


Rob Zombie and John Five- Photo By Jason Squires

This year, ROTR  even hosted a myriad of fan and artist interactive experiences throughout the festival! f.y.e. Monster Energy and the Music Experience tents offered daily signings from Rock on the Range artists, giving fans a chance to get up-close and personal with their favorite bands. f.y.e. was also the place to purchase CDs so that the music doesn't have to stop once the festival is over.

As always, Rock on the Range ends with a bang. As festival goers exit the stadium, excited voices muse over who might play next year, as well as recount their favorite ROTR moments. Every year, it is difficult to contemplate how Rock on the Range can possibly get any bigger, any better and even louder. Somehow, they always find a way. I can't wait to see what they come up with next!

For more information on Rock on the Range, visit them online at www.rockontherange.com. Be sure to stay tuned for more information on Rock on the Range 2017!