by Chris A.
– Senior Photojournalist —
May 17-19, 2013 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
ROCK ON THE RANGE 2013 AN AMAZING FESTIVAL OF EPIC PROPORTIONS
“Sold Out, All Three Days… Thank you Rangers” were the words scrawled on the white board in the media tent at Columbus Crew Stadium in the early afternoon on Friday, day one of the 2013 rendition of “Rock On The Range.” It was obvious just walking around the stadium that in excess of 30,000 people were roaming from stage to stage soaking in the rock n’ roll. By the end of three days, some 105,000 people would pass through the gates at Crew Stadium to participate in one of the biggest rock festivals in America.
Now an institution and firmly established as “the big festival in the Midwest,” Rock On The Range has been so successful and so well supported by the fans that its inspired several spinoff festivals including “Carolina Rebellion” and “Rocklahoma”.
For rock fans from the Buckeye state, Rock On The Range is special because it’s the original festival and it’s the big time for Ohio. The citizens of Columbus love the festival and its residents plan vacations and party time around the massive event. The countdown to Rock On The Range starts just after the new year when the promoters start announcing the bands. In the months leading up to the show, local radio and media promote, talk, pitch and extol the virtues of Rock On The Range. While all that’s happening, local bands like Mansfield Ohio-based Error 504 fought it out with 60 other Ohio rock bands for the chance to perform at Rock On The Range.
The 2013 Rock On The Range proved to be the most highly attended show in the franchise’s seven-year history. The concert has been so successful and so well attended that a third day was added to the event giving rock fans a solid weekend of big-time rock n’ roll.
Gates for Friday opened at 3 p.m. giving rock fans a reason to sneak out of work a bit early and get the weekend started. Unlike Saturday and Sunday which would feature three stages, Friday’s venue was slightly more compact, featuring the Jaegermeister Stage and the Monster Main Stage. Opening the show was Columbus favorite, X-Factor-1 who welcomed the crowd to the show and set the bar high for every act that would follow. Over the course of the next 11 hours, Rock on The Range fans were treated to incredible performances.
While the early bands got fans warmed up, crowd favorite and one of America’s best party bands Buckcherry lit it up on the Monster Main Stage as they got the Rock On The Range fans to their feet. It has to be mentioned that Cheap Trick was absolutely brilliant and demonstrated exactly why they have been around for four decades. Rick Nielsen and crew were energetic and had the audience in the palm of their hands. It was an inspired and incredible performance. As darkness fell on the stadium headliners Korn took to the Monster Main stage, drummer Ray Luzier, illuminated by a single spotlight tapped out the opening to “Blind“ on the cymbals as the crowd roared and welcomed the return of Brian “Head” Welch on guitar. Day One of Rock On The Range was in the can.
As the day dawned on the second day of Rock On The Range, a light rain was falling and ominous clouds converged over the gigantic Crew Stadium. Thankfully, the threat of rain passed and the storm clouds diminished as the day progressed. Day two introduced the Pabst Blue Ribbon Stage into the mix joining the Monster Main Stage and the Jager Stage as the showcase for the artists.
While all the bands seemed to be performing at a high level, day two standout performances were given by Michigan based Pop Evil, Grammy winners Halestorm, Welsh heavy metal band Bullet For My Valentine, a pyro-filled Three Days Grace and Iowa’s favorite sons Stone Sour. Stone Sour’s Cory Taylor is one of rock’s most magnetic frontmen in rock as Stone Sour dominated the stage during their dynamic performance as the fans went berserk. Headliners Smashing Pumpkins performed on the main stage closing the show as Rock On The Range day two passed into history.
Before everyone knew it, day three had arrived, the final day of ROTR and like the first two days, the weather Gods smiled down upon the masses and graced the show with ideal weather. Thrilled to have earned the privilege to perform at Rock On The Range was Mansfield, Ohio’s own Error 504. Fresh off their Battle Of The Bands victory, they gave a spirited rousing performance as they welcomed the Sunday crowd to the event.
Just like Friday and Saturday the Rock On The Range crowd was massive, over 30,000 people worked their way from stage to stage to check out the bands. When it came to standout performances it was hard not to have a great time watching the bombastic pomposity of ’80s rock n posers Steel Panther. Over on the PBR stage, blond vixen Maria Brink and her very visual band In This Moment turn up the heat on the fans. A few hours later, drawing a gigantic crowd to the PBR stage was one of heavy metal’s favorite sons Randy Blythe and Lamb of God.
As Alice In Chains wrapped up their set on the Monster Main stage the sun was setting on the Buckeye State and the stadium became shrouded in an orange and gold glow as dusk fell. Soon it was the final band, Soundgarden. Chris Cornell and company sounded amazing as they performed their catalog of great songs for the masses at Rock On The Range.
Then as suddenly as it started, Columbus Ohio’s biggest concert of 2013 was over. The strains of rock n’ roll faded into the dark Ohio night as thousands of people made their way home after a rousing weekend of rock n’ roll.
Rock on the Range Photo Gallery
Rock on the Range Day 1 Photo Gallery
Korn, Cheap Trick, Buckcherry, Hollywood Undead, In Flames, Oleander, Mindset Evolution, XFACTOR1, Love and Death, American Fangs
Rock on the Range Day 2 Photo Gallery
Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Sour, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, A Day To Remember, Bullet for My Valentine, Halestorm, Asking Alexandria, All That Remains, Black Veil Brides, Pop Evil, Clutch, The Sword, Motionless In White, Otherwise, Young Guns, Red Line Chemistry, Gemini Syndrome, Heaven’s Basement, Scorpion Child
Rock on the Range Day 3 Photo Gallery
Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Bush, Volbeat, Skillet, Lamb Of God, Steel Panther, Device, In This Moment, Sevendust, Sick Puppies, Ghost B.C., Red, Big Wreck, Deuce, Middle Class Rut, Thousand Foot Krutch, Beware Of Darkness, O’Brother
The consensus of the folks who attended Rock On The Range 2013 was almost universal praise. A few fan comments include:
“At Rock On The Range, ROTR brings in people from all across America to be united by music. How amazing is that? I loved every minute of it!” -Tina M.
“My first show ever! It was an amazing array of music, people and rock all in one! -”Pam V
“First time Ranger here and I enjoyed it so much that I may make it a tradition now. I was most impressed with the other Rangers in attendance. Standing in line we got the most helpful advice for dealing with crowd surfers, which side of the stadium to sit on to avoid the sun during various times of day etc. Everyone was so nice and it was obvious that we were now part of one big rock family.” -Cheri D.
From the bands to the overall production and organization of the festival, for the seventh time, Rock On The Range lived up to all its hype and delivered the goods. An amazing festival for anyone who loves to rock.
Here’s to a great time and let’s all hook up and do it again next year! You can see hundreds of photos of Rock On The Range right here at www.hardrockhaven.net
For more information on Rock On The Range visit www.rockontherange.com and interact with them on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rockontherange
[Photos by www.chrisaphotography.com]