Mark Balogh's Recap of Rocklahoma…
Rocklahoma version 3.0… It certainly had its obstacles this year as the economy hit everyone hard… well accept maybe those people who bid thousands of dollars on signed guitars the last couple nights of the festival. But that’s a whole other story! Attendance certainly seemed smaller at overall (especially during the early day hours) but from the many bands we witnessed they did not let that (or the heat for that matter!) get in the way of putting on some great sets and that’s what it’s really all about when you come right down to it.
There were some repeat bands this year from previous years (RATT, GREAT WHITE, KIX, WARRANT (with their 3rd different singer!) and TWISTED SISTER) and of course some newcomers like STRYPER, NELSON and Germany’s own BONFIRE. There was some disappointment as THIN LIZZY broke up and cancelled their tour just a week before the festival but JACKYL (who I wont say I was a fan of before this year) filled in without the show missing a beat as they put on one of the more special shows of the weekend. Just ask emcee Eddie Trunk!
I think the side stages were much better this year as the tents and lower stages made for a much more intimate experience for the fans. Sam McCaslin of Retrospect Records needs to be given great props for his handling of the side stages and hopefully he will continue to make them bigger and even better next year!
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I really liked the addition of more international bands added to the mix this year on both the main and side stages (BONFIRE, MAD MAX, Herman Rarebell, BAI BANG, VOUGAN, etc.). I hope this is something that will continue to happen in the future. Can someone say GOTTHARD???
From the media standpoint some things were better and some not as good as last year. The moving of the media tent outside of the backstage area made for less visits from rockers and that seemed to make for a bit of a “dead atmosphere” at times in there. I mean we only had maybe 2 or 3 sightings of the GYPSY PISTOLEROS this year! Big thanks to Event Marketing for giving out media meal passes this time around as that made for a nice mid-day break this year. As Brian said, if anyone as a general admission ticket buyer of Rocklahoma had thoughts about getting the VIP package at anytime it is definitely well worth it. I think they are offering some special “early bird” specials so check out www.rocklahoma.com for more info.
From a personal standpoint, having this being Rockeyez’s second Rocklahoma, I think Brian and I learned to pace ourselves and plan things even better this time around. We knew a little more of what to expect and the layout of the huge festival grounds. Having said that, we were still only two people this year and try as we did, we simply couldn’t catch all the bands that played. We heard about some great shows that we missed like ICON, HELIX and METAL CHURCH (Rocklahoma was their final performance). So to all those we missed it was nothing personal and maybe we’ll catch you next time around!
To all the musicians, other press and photographers and security and working personal at Rocklahoma thanks again for another great year. It was great seeing some old friends and making some new ones. At times the heat got to everyone but overall I think everyone had fun and was safe in doing so and that’s the important thing.
Finally I have to add when Brian and I originally decided to write the massive review to go along with the photos we were going to each write two days but then he just ran with it and ended up writing all 4 days! I think he did a great job of recounting our time at the festival and hopefully the review coupled with our photos will give you a good idea of the Rocklahoma experience. I wish we had more access to certain parts of the festival so we could bring the full experience to the reader but maybe that will be for next year?
All in all, the people behind Rocklahoma came up with a great idea three years ago and with a little tinkering here and there this could continue to be the best party to celebrate hard rock and metal in the US each year.
Rocklahoma 2009 over assessment by Brian Rademacher
First off I would like to congratulate the people of Pryor Oklahoma and the security that took care of Rocklahoma. I did not see anything nearly compared what I see in my home state of New Jersey. The security at Rocklahoma was perfect, I didn’t see any problems, they were respectful and well mannered. If you had a problem they helped you out not through you out. I commend those guys and ladies who stood out there in the heat and made sure everything was done properly. (Applause). The people who took care of us with credentials were also excellent and Lindsay at event marketing group we thank you for the meal passes which came in very handy, hopefully next year we can do it again.
A couple things were different this year than last year. No Ray Button to walk us to the front of the stage to photograph. Ray was great last year but this year was even better because the media knew when we could go down to photograph our songs. When the proper time for us to stop after our three songs we all left no pushing from security all we heard was thank you. Excellent job!
The media tent was hot but they made sure we had enough fluids from spring water, soda, power drinks and beer. But after the second day when a certain lead singer of one of the bands stole the cooler with all the beer the next day the cooler was replaced minus the beer.
The meals at Rocklahoma were excellent and well worth getting VIP tickets that include all the beer and food you can eat ranging from steak, shrimps, fish, beef burgundy, mac and cheese, salads, rice, deserts and much more. Rocklahoma were selling advance tickets for next year at ONLY $250.00 for the VIP ticket that includes all 4 day and meals (you can’t beat that deal) so if they still have that offer order NOW!
Main stage bands I enjoyed the different styles with a metal day which I feel was a good idea. These had once again some great bands but I think after a band played Rocklahoma once or twice they should be deleted from the festival, adding JACKYL was a great idea they really pumped the crowd up. I think next year they should get a big headliner for at least one day maybe ALICE COOPER, KISS, MOTLEY CRUE, JUDAS PRIEST something on that style. I heard rumors that they wanted a lot of these artists this year but once bands hear the name Rocklahoma they jack theIR prices up. These bands could be making a lot of money just selling their merchandise instead of gouging.
The side stages were phenomenal, Sam Cassin did a great job. Next year I think instead of bringing in some headliners that are asking for huge money bring in more European bands that might ask less because of flight money. Band for main stage such as GOTTHARD, EUROPE, and U.S. bands STYX, CHEAP TRICK, Rick Springfield and side stages CRASHDIET, SISTER, CRAZY LIXX, BLACKRAIN, NEGATIVE, GEMINI FIVE, THE ARK, WIG WAM, SHOTGUN MESSIAH, STEEVI JAIMZ, JADED HEART, the list can go on and on. I’m sure you will come up with some goodies like you did this year with BONFIRE, MADMAX and BAI BANGOR PEEP SHOW.
The time slots this year was much better giving the media and fans time to get to different stages. Every year you are going to have people commenting on the festival good or bad. The merchandise for the festival was a little light this year but the over view of the entire event was very good, you named the first MISS Rocklahoma Erin, you had great side stage bands and I asked many do you think there will be a Rocklahoma 2010 and everyone of them said yes. Now it’s up to the fans of music to make suggestion now, way ahead of time so the promoters of the event can work there deals. Rob Miller the guy who runs the show did a great job and the turnout was just as good as last year. I think next year will be a year of make or break Rocklahoma. People are going to be looking this time and see who will be playing and with so many festivals popping up people have a lot of options. This is the second time around RockEyez were at Rocklahoma the first time we submitting for credentials this year we were invited back. So we are doing our part to promote, next year we would like VIP all access to cover more of the event, the goings on of backstage, more candid photos that a lot of people like, anyway Congratulations once again to Event Marketing Group and the people at Rocklahoma for putting on a fine festivals, thanks for inviting us. We got to see many favorites like MADMAX, GYSPY PISTOLEROS, BATON ROUGE, VOUGAN, WILDSTREET, SILENT RAGE, BONFIRE, LIZZY BORDEN and many others.
I would also have a special thanks to Steve Blaze of LILLIAN AXE because during the LILLIAN AXE press conference I had a chance to ask a question and once Mr. Blaze noticed who we were (Brian from RockEyez.com) he came right off the stage shook my hand and thanked me for what we do. That means a lot to us at RockEyez because we hard and that kind of appreciation is special, Thanks Steve. I also would like to thank my good friend MADMAX and GYPSY PISTOLEROS both bands mean a lot to us at RockEyez as special friends, Lee you Rock!!! And most of all I would like to thank my partner in crime Mark Balogh senior writer, photographer and editor. If it wasn’t for him there would be no RockEyez he does more than you can ever imagine. Thanks man Brian…
One last thing I want everyone to know how hard my wife works on our site as webmaster, she rocks love ya!!!