Grand Rapids, MI – A week ago, correspondents Kim Zahnow and Pix Meyers packed up their gear and descended on Belknap Park in Grand Rapids to attend UPHEAVAL FESTIVAL – two full days with some of the hottest metal bands in the industry. For the 2nd year in a row, MiEntertainment Group and WGA Entertainment worked really hard to bring a great mix of metal (including some terrific local talent) along with tasty food vendors to create a memorable weekend for fans of all ages. There were some noticable changes from the inaugural event in 2021 (thank you for offering rides up THAT hill!!) but all in all, a very successful festival and something Grand Rapids should be proud of!
Day 1 – The clouds were in for the day and a light rain had started to fall by the time the gates opened. Thankfully that did not keep fans from showing up with their lawn chairs, rain parkas and/or umbrellas to catch the killer line-up scheduled for the day. Upon entering the venue, you could see the merch line was long and winding around the open field. There was a hint of “teriyaki” in the air (Shout out to Island Noodles) as the food vendors prepped for the masses. We scoped out our favorite spot from last year and set up camp at front of house (FOH) to capture some great crowd moments throughout the day once we came out of the photo pit. As the day progressed, the rain really started to come down before finally clearing off early evening leaving us with a nice breeze and no humidity.
Friday night brought headlining sets from Breaking Benjamin, Mudvayne, Theory of A Deadman, Starset, All Good Things, and Black Heart Saints to the Main Stage with Avatar, Ayron Jones, Fire From the Gods, The Warning, and Dark Heavens holding court up the hill at the Lookout Stage.
Day 2 – Mother Nature smiled upon the festival for Day 2 and gave the crowd full sun for the day. It was hot! I won’t lie but not as hot or humid as it could have been for the middle of July. Luckily, the festival was prepared for the day and was making sure fans & staff stayed hydrated and safe – often reminding the crowd from the stage of the (free) water stations throughout the venue, not to mention security was throwing water bottles out to the fans from the pit. The energy in the park was off the charts and the crowd was having a great time. That is probably my favorite thing about UPHEAVAL…the crowd, a.k.a. UPRISERS! Both years, everyone I have met (from staff to fans) have just been happy to be there: enjoying the music, talking about their favorite bands, making memories. It doesn’t get any better than that! I hope Grand Rapids realizes this great little gem of a festival they’ve created. It’s definitely a keeper.
Saturday Night’s Main stage hosted headliners Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Hatebreed, Escape the Fate, Diamante, and Heartsick with Nothing More, Butcher Babies, DED, Oxymorrons, City Awake, and Katharsys Theory tearing up the Lookout stage up the hill.
Be sure to stop by the festival website to grab some merch if you missed out last weekend due to the high demand! While there, make sure to check out the early bird tickets now available for 2023. We hope to see you there again next year. We can’t wait!