This was the first Rock Fest that I attended. Normally, I'd go to RockUSA in Oshkosh. This year, my friends thought Rock Fest would be better. To be honest, I came to like the venue much better.
I had actually driven from Bluesfest in Thunder Bay. I decided to do some early camping and camp out before everything started. I got there on Monday July 9th. I can tell you that camping out in the hot Wisconsin sun in a tent definitely sucks the energy out of you!
After doing my walk around of the festival grounds, I went and got a gatorade. It's better to stay hydrated in the hot weather. I knew I'd be drinking plenty of alcohol soon enough when my friends arrived. I went on to see Hammer Down Hard during the bonus show for three day ticket holders.
I did eventually get a book of drink tickets. This is the first thing Rock Fest does way better than RockUSA. Not only did I not have to pay $3 for a 21+ wristband, but the drinks were cheap. $5 for a tall boy of beer or $4.67 each if you bought a $42 book of 9. That's cheaper than drinking in Austin!
I eventually got a taco salad and then went on to see Skid Row, Autograph, and Ace Frehley. They all put on good shows but the sound seemed off. They cranked it way too loud and it was most evident during Skid Row. There was popping like gun shots going off.
I went a ways away from the stage to enjoy the show and not feel like I was at the gun range. During Ace Frehley, I did find my way right behind the sound guy. I figured that would be the best for listening.
Later that night I met up with my friends who had just got there. That's where we really started to party and then hung around the campfire.
On day two, a huge storm came in. There was supposedly 60mph (100kmh) mainline winds coming. I ended up waiting it out in a tent and it wasn't too bad. There was a lot of roads flooded and some awning damage. This is where Rock Fest comes in way stronger over RockUSA. They had legitimate roads that didn't turn into rutted up mud puddles.
I think the best band I saw that night was GWAR. They put on a crazy stage show with fake blood and all. It was cool seeing Incubus, but it was raining a bit.
Friday was the day I partied the hardest. We did plenty of shots and things were a bit of a blur. I did start the morning off with a shower. The lines were much longer than on Wednesday night. I made a trip to the general store to get some ice and then it was party time. My buddy Kevin had made gyros, which went good with what I was drinking.
We popped in and out of the festival. One cool thing about Rock Fest is the picture taking line where you can get up close and take pictures of the bands. We saw a few of the bands, but the one I remember the best was Godsmack. They were my middle school soundtrack, especially pushing myself training for wrestling.
Saturday was the last day. I was hungover like crazy and decided to stay sober. I hydrated as much as I could and then decided after 5 nights of sleeping in a tent, I'd just go back to my parents' house. I was pretty much spent! The only band I saw was Black Label Society. They put on a great show and I was soon on the windy back roads to my parents' house.
Rock Fest was just a big party for me. I probably should have saw more bands, but it was fun just hanging out with my friends in the campground. I guess my style of music is more classic rock so a lot of the harder rock bands didn't quite appeal as much. I also ran into a bunch of people I knew from high school. I guess it's a small state!
I did like the Rock Fest venue much better than RockUSA. The fact that showers were free and not $6-15 depending on if you wanted a hot or cold one was great. Alcohol prices were much cheaper and you didn't have to pay for a 21+ wristband. There were legit roads to every campsite. This was good because there would have been mud pits with ruts otherwise. This has happened multiple times at RockUSA.
I do like this venue and it's way better than RockUSA. I have a feeling next time I might try to bring a camper or figure out a way to sleep a little more comfortably. I can tell you after going to Bluesfest in Canada and then driving back, I was spent. I was even more spent sleeping on the ground for 5 nights in a row. All in all, the experience was fun and kind of enlightening in a lot of ways.