By Belinda Reedy
In just one month, fans will be pouring in by the thousands to Rocklahoma. The question is why? The answer is if you have to ask you just wouldn’t understand. Coming up on it’s 12th year, this festival has seen it’s ups, like the record setting crowd in 2016, to some pretty big downs, such as the “Mudlahoma of 2015” and the death of Chris Cornell juts two weeks prior to the 2017 show. Yet, fans still come and the ever faithful treat this campground in Pryor, Oklahoma as a rock and roll mecca.
Fans on various sites Facebook, such as “Rocklafreakinhoma”. “People of Rocklahoma”, and “Rocklahoma Bitches” challenge each other to be the first camper to park, lining up days before the event gates even open. There is something that sets this camp out festival apart from others and not just because it is such a long running festival. People there are like a family, inviting each other from one campsite to another of the 900+ campsites creating one giant block party.
Possibly one of the saddest notes is campground staple Jerry Wilmam passed away and this will be the first Rocklahoma without him. A long sufferer of Neurofibromatosis, a disease which forms multiple small tumors both inside and on the body, Jerry was know for his vibrant personality, and use of flash paper to introduce himself in a big way. Jerry made sure to spread awareness of the disease and participated in the undie run benefit each year. Last year Jerry was featured in the “Road to Rocklahoma” video series created for the Retrospect Stage. I had the privilege of creating the series and am thankful I invited Jerry.
You can watch his video here:
This year will feature the return of Godsmack, and a real delight Poison with their full original line up. Yella Wolf and Machine Gun Kelly will be among the artists which was an interesting, and somewhat controversial couple of choices. Cheap Trick, A Perfect Circle, and The Cult round out the line up. The preview video is below:
The quiets hours in the campground runs from 4AM to 8AM which should be a clear indication of how big this party really is. Clothing from Tutus to leather to some things so small and shocking they defy description. Making bringing young children a very questionable decision. There are plans for multiple weddings in the campground this year with people who met or have attended throughout the years celebrating with their best friends and their ROK family.
If you haven’t chosen a particular destination festival, I strongly recommend Rocklahoma as a bucket list trip!