Forget your ‘lits’ and ‘fams’ and ‘PLURs’ and your EDM culture; this one’s for all the metalheads.
Festival season has finally set in across all genres, and there is no dearth of metal and rock festivals around the globe. These events are of varying magnitudes but the attitude remains the same: full metal mayhem!
The Sherp has picked 9 of the best rock and metal festivals that you must definitely check out if your rock knowledge is still a little limited, and drool over if you’re a proper metalhead.
1. Ozzfest Meets Knotfest
What happens when you mash two of the biggest names in the metal scene? That’s right; Ozzfest Meets Knotfest has never happened before as a single entity, and now that it is, all your wet dreams are going to come true. Apart from the absolutely mental lineup that features Slipknot and Black Sabbath (duh), Opeth, Megadeth, Anthrax and many more, OMK will have attractions like massive fire displays, a Ring Of Fire and even a Slipknot museum! When does this happen, you ask? September 24 and 25. Get ready to have your brains blown out.
2. Wacken Open Air
What started as a small event in the tiny town of Wacken in 1990, has now grown into one of the biggest metal gatherings in the world, bringing in crowds upwards of 85,000. The lineups have been packed every year, and this year they’re bringing in Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Ministry, Steel Panther, Eluveitie, DragonForce, Callejon and many more. Tickets for this year got sold out in no less than 23 hours, so you know it’s going to be big. Wacken Open Air will happen in August.
3. Heavy Montreal
Heavy Montreal is a Canadian metal festival that happens in the month of August, and this year will feature Five Finger Death Punch and Disturbed as headliners, apart from a plethora of phenomenal acts. The lineup will be spread across 4 stages. It’s as big as the other festivals on the list, and attracts large crowds every year; the numbers just swell up every time.
4. Monster Energy AFTERSHOCK
The fifth edition of Aftershock will happen this year. California’s biggest rock festival will feature over 35 bands on three stages at Discovery Park, conveniently located near downtown Sacramento, where the American and Sacramento Rivers meet. In 2015, a sold-out crowd of 45,000 was in attendance at Aftershock to experience the best hard rock, metal and alternative artists, along with gourmet food trucks and extensive onsite experiences. This year should be no different, with acts like Slayer, Anthrax, Tool and more featured on their giant lineup.
5. Chicago Open Air
Rammstein, Slipknot and Disturbed are the headliners for each of the three days that COA will run for. Chicago Open Air will feature performances by over 40 bands, and will also include Gourmet Man Food selections incorporating local and regional cuisine, a craft beer village highlighting top brews from the region, other entertainment and fan experiences. Chicago Open Air will happen from July 15-17.
6. Obscene Extreme
From July 13-17, the Czech Republic will witness one of the craziest metal festivals on this list. With bands like Sodom, Rotten Sound and Insect Warfare among the others, OEF is going to be one huge main event. They brand themselves as a ‘freak-friendly open air music festival’ which, in our opinion, is a really cute way to say giant mosh pit.
7. Riot Fest
Riot Fest is a multi-day music festival specializing in punk, rock, alternative, metal, and hip-hop. Founded in 2005 in Chicago, it has now expanded to include Denver and Toronto. Carnival rides, amazing food vendors, sideshow performers, and more add to the atmosphere of this independent music fest. It’s happening in Denver on September 2, and will happen in Chicago and Toronto on September 16 and 17 respectively.
8. Rock Allegiance
Avenged Sevenfold, Alice In Chains, Slayer, The Offspring, Breaking Benjamin and many more are a part of this brilliant lineup curated by Rock Allegiance this year. It has been expanded to a 2-day affair this year, owing to last year’s attendance. Rock Allegiance will happen from Seprember 17-18 at Talen Energy Stadium. It may have started in 2012 but its growth is almost exponential.
9. Summer Breeze
To wrap up this list, we have a festival from Germany, called Summer Breeze. The lineup consists of Slayer, Sabaton, Steel Panther, Mastodon, Arch Enemy and many more. Its after movie from last year is enough to give you goosebumps. It was founded in 1997, making it one of the oldest and biggest metal festivals on this list, and in Europe.
Made your travel plans already? Good! Go get your dose of headbanging now!