Founded in 2007, Columbus, Ohio's Rock on the Range has become one of heavy metal's largest events, and every year, it just gets bigger and better. As Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach said in an interview: "As far as rock festivals in America go, Rock on the Range in No. 1 in my book. Straight f****n epic!"
I attended in 2012, but this year's event (May 17-19) had some significant changes, and sold out -- for the first time -- to ticket-buyers that had traveled from 49 states and three countries.
This year, ROTR expanded to live music all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as opposed to last year's Saturday and Sunday, and the headliners were more focused on bringing then nostalgia for powerhouse '90s rock -- Soundgarden, Bush, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn and Alice and Chains, with the side stages bringing more of the metal. Last year, headliners included Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Megadeth and Mastodon, and the side stages were more radio rock. So this year, it seemed the stages were switched: The majority of the metal acts were on the side stages, providing a plethora of opportunities to check out the best up-and-coming metallers around -- even if it did force me to hightail it to stages spread across Columbus Crew Stadium for a straight 10 hours a day. But who wouldn't want to try and catch more than 50 bands in one weekend? Especially at a festival that's actually great to watch from the bleachers, even with the pollen floating through the air as thick as snow at times.