With all the would be music fests claiming to be the best, Rocklahoma 2016 goes down as one of the most successful, in years. A complete sell out with over 40,000, the demand for camping sites forced organizers to open up an additional 900 spots which were immediately taken by enthusiastic campers. The fantastic weather, in comparison to last year’s “mudlahoma” rain a thon, only solidified Rocklahoma’s place at the top of destination festivals.
Beginning with the first few campers the weekend before in Pryor, Oklahoma, this four day music spectacular kicked off with its usual pre party Thursday at Camp Jaeger featuring acts from the Retrospect Records stage going well into the night and included a set for solidarity by the Hellectrocutors all the way from France. The pre party wrapped up about 4 AM.
Rocklahoma boast three stages, the main, Hard Rock and Retrospect Records, all of them filled with talent. ( Please see www.rocklahoma.com for full lineup.) Head liners on the main stage for the Friday shows were Disturbed and Rob Zombie. Honestly, they must have flipped a coin to decide who received top billing. Both acts turned in a great show and left everyone wanting more. There were some good set put in by Sixx AM, Megadeath, and Shaman’s Harvest as well as Red Sun Rising. On the Retrospect Records Stage, great sets were turned in by the multi national line up, including Niterain (Norway), Freeway Mad (UK) and the Rock Solid Industry Showcase offering, 5 Star Hooker.
Scorpions and Three Doors Down, who always sound amazing live, were the Saturday night offerings and The Hard Rock Stage saw appearances by Texas Hippie Coalition, and the rising stars of Avatar from Sweden. Ragdoll from Australia made their third consecutive appearance on the Retrospect Records Stage and local favorite Dead Metal Society managed to keep the crowd going after the headliners with an estimated crowd of over 3000 loyal partiers still rocking at midnight. (Personally the crowd seemed much larger as it stretched 60 people wide and around 100 rows deep at one point.)
Even though the crowd was beginning to show some exhaustion and a brief weather scare on Sunday made everyone think of the previous year, the spirits didn’t wane. After a short delay mid afternoon, the schedule was adjusted and the party continued. If anything the small rain storm cooled the venue and made it just a bit more enjoyable, as the morning had been quite hot. Beginning with the only the second all female band to ever play Rocklahoma, Moxy and the influence, got the crowd rocking early on the Retrospect Records stage. Steel Panther brought their brand of 80’s sex, drugs and Rock and Roll to the Hard Rock Stage. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the unexpected break out performance of Mystery, also from Australia.
The band moved from last year on the Retro stage to the Hard Rock Stage. The large crowd of approximately 10 to 15 thousand forced security to up their presence by three times to catch the enormous number of crowd surfers. By the time Five Finger Death Punch took the stage as the final main stage act of the weekend, all 40,000+ Sunday ticket holders were waiting, and the band turned in one of the best performances of their tour. You couldn’t ask for a better finale.
Written and Images by Belinda Glass Reedy for Got Image.