Grand Rapids, MI – Live music is back! After having to cancel the inaugural festival in July 2020 due to Covid concerns, Metal fans descended onto Belknap Park on July 16-17 to experience two days of some of the best bands metal has to offer.
Day One – It may have started out a little wet but despite the rain, rockers brought out umbrellas and lawn chairs to claim their spots for their favorite acts. Having been over a year since fans could gather in masses, it was time to bang their heads and experience what only live music can bring. You could feel the energy and anticipation as that first note rang out. The crowd began to roar.
Friday night brought headlining sets by Korn, Chevelle, Pop Evil, Joyous Wolf and Deadlight Holiday to the Main Stage, with Gemini Syndrome, Royal Bliss, The Legal Immigrants and Assume Nothing to Lookout Stage up the hill.
“Honestly, my goal is never to document a show. It is ALWAYS to capture the FEELING I felt at the exact moment I press the button on my camera. My only aim is to serve as a conduit that allows you to feel what I felt. No more. No less. If you weren’t there, I want you to understand what it was like.The return of live music performances, to me, represents much more than a good time. It represents a return to ‘normalcy’ – at least as much normalcy as can be offered at present and after life was put on hold – especially for the majority of musicians who rely on the steady income that touring brings.”“And this was no different for Elias Soriano, front man for the band Nonpoint. In this moment, he had walked down the stage’s extended runway jutting out into the middle of a sun-pelted crowd to pause and inhale the sights and sounds of being human once again. ‘It feels great to be back,’ he said as he tilted his head back to absorb the sun’s relentlessness. ‘And you all are making it SMELL great,’ he joked as his nostrils filled with the haze of the crowd’s excitement referencing the heavy stench of recently legalized cannabis in Michigan. And as he tilted his head back to take it in, I couldn’t help but to feel the same. It definitely feels good to be back to some sense of normalcy.Don’t you all agree?” ~ Mark Brown (a.k.a. Murder Basement) DBM Photographer
Day Two – An afternoon that brought full sun and wild anticipation for the evening headliners. Metal fans of all ages roamed from the Main Stage to Lookout Stage up the hill hoping to catch their favorite performer or discover a local Michigan favorite. The crowd was inviting and we made friends around us both nights. It was a pleasure to meet one dad and his son, who were making memories by sharing the son’s first concert/festival. Another couple we met the first evening had driven all the way from Tampa, Florida to catch the festival; while another local couple, who sat near us on both days, shared their stories of concert moments and life experiences.
It felt so good to be back among friends, even if they started out as strangers. Live music has that effect on people. A common thread that brings us all together to share something we love. We heard it repeated from band to band…GOOD TO BE BACK!!
Saturday night delivered headlining sets by Rob Zombie, Staind, Skillet, Nonpoint and Blue Felix on the Main Stage with Blacktop Mojo, Stitched Up Heart, Heartsick, and Vestigial on the Lookout Stage up the hill.
Festival Dates: JULY 16 – 17, 2021