Friday, March 2, 2012

The Worst Metal Festivals

Metal Festivals can represent “too much of a good thing”. What begins as a party lasting all day, or several days depending on the fest, becomes test of endurance and the wallet, spending large sums of money drinking overpriced flat draft beer and eating greasy concession food while your ears are ringing because the hosting venue’s sound engineer doesn’t understand that turning all the knobs on the mixing board to their loudest setting doesn’t actually make the band sound better. By the end of the day, or weekend, you’re sick of standing everywhere, you're disgusted that you have to find a tree to urinate behind because the venue’s restrooms are that vile, you’re angry at the meathead jocks that pass for security randomly shoving drunk fans around because they’re bored with the generally well-mannered metal audience, and you’re sick of the overpowering odor that emits from the unwashed flock of crust-punks and degenerates who managed to sneak into the festival. Yes, the same crustpunks and degenerates that whatever local media shows up to cover the fest will interview instead of YOU, the well spoken person with a college degree and a proper job who showers every day and just happens to enjoy loud, ugly music. With the Maryland Deathfest coming up, and my annual deliberation about how many days that I actually want to attend, I thought it’d be fun to reflect upon the worst metal festivals in recent years. 

Ozzfest 2005
The infamous Iron Maiden incident. The lineup itself wasn’t really that spectacular, but certainly the opportunity to drop $30 bucks for a lawn seat and get to see Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden on the same stage would make for a fun afternoon, right? So you’re going to endure the miserable parking situation that arises with these sorts of festivals, you buy your 12 dollar watery plastic cup of Heiniken at the “Beers from Around the World” Tent, and you suffer though the countless bullshit bands like A Dozen Furies, Trivium, and Bury Your Dead with the hopes that Rob Zombie puts on an okay show, and fuck, it’s MAIDEN, right? Who cares that Maiden is a hit and miss band; they’re not gonna play “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”, or “Weekend Warrior” or anything from the Blaze Bailey era. It’s FUCKING MAIDEN, UP THE IRONS ACES HIGH MOTHERFUCKER. Right?
The fact that Black Sabbath, who had been on again, off again reunited since 1997, wasn’t the primary draw to this festival obviously bruised some delicate rockstar egos, none of the least of which was Sharon Osbourne. Throw in some snide stage banter about reality TV shows from Bruce Dickinson, and well, you get the “Iron Maiden incident at Ozzfest”.

The festival itself went on without a hitch at its other dates (even those with Velvet Revolver playing in Maiden’s slot), but imagine the scene of 20,000 people leaving BEFORE Black Sabbath following the egging of Maiden and cutting the power to their instruments. That’s just bad business, and frankly Ozzfest never recovered- it’s since been replaced by the equally mediocre Mayhem Festival in terms of large scale travelling festivals.