Knotfest was yesterday in Somerset, WI (just northwest of the middle of nowhere) and I must say that it was a blast. I don't know if writing about it could possibly do it any justice. The bands that played were top notch and they did not disappoint. On the main stage, Dillinger Escape Plan, Serj Tankian and the Deftones set the stage for the ultimate event of the evening. On the second stage, Gojira, Prong, Cannibal Corpse, Machine Head and Lamb of God tore it up. To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of Serj Tankian without System of a Down, but it was still enjoyable.
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All of the rest of the bands were amazing too, especially Lamb of God. I can't even describe the feeling in the crowd when we saw Randy Blythe walk onto the stage. Of course, he thanked everyone for their support and expressed how happy he was to be back in the United States after what he called a "slight delay in leaving Europe." The night ended with Slipknot taking the stage and putting on a great show. No matter my personal feelings about Corey Taylor, I will never try to say that he is untalented. In fact, it is the complete opposite. He is an incredibly talented vocalist and he and the rest of Slipknot always put on one hell of a show and I've yet to be disappointed at one of their concerts.
In addition to the pits, I love the feeling of camaraderie. Many bands said it yesterday in one way or another: the metal community is a big family who takes care of each other. People who don't identify as metalheads and don't usually go to metal shows probably don't quite understand what I'm talking about.
For the most part, everyone gets along with everyone else. Yes, we beat the shit out of each other in the mosh pit, but at the end there are always hugs and handshakes. If someone falls, we pick them up. If someone doesn't want to be in the pit but gets caught in it, we help them to the sides, we protect people who are smaller than us (even if they don't need it - many people try to protect me but I really don't need it), if someone gets hurt, we get them out of the crowd and to help quickly.
We care what happens to each other and to the bands. It is like one very big, very dysfunctional, very loud family reunion. Many of us know each other from other shows. Many of us have never met before. But it doesn't matter - we're metalheads, we're family. For example, on my way up to Somerset, I stopped at a rest area. At that rest area, I met a bunch of other people who were also going, so we started a little convoy and even made the next rest stop together. Later, I found out that most of the rooms booked at my hotel were booked by other Knotfest-goers, we had a little after-party in the parking lot. None of us knew each other, but it didn't matter. We're family.
Wow, I got off track there a little. Anyway, Knotfest. It was FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC (Excuse the language, but I can't think of a better way to say it). There were so many people and so many things to do. There were a lot of great vendor tents, people dressed like demons or zombies or something wandering around (who we later found out were fire breathers). They had people using the silks (the big curtain looking things that they do acrobatic stuff on) in the middle of an arena surrounded by pyrotechnics. There was a drum circle with an old stripped car and lots of other things to hit and hit with and there was the big carnival ride, the Circle of Fire. To top it off, there was the Slipknot museum. It had their jumpsuits, drums, masks, and tons of other stuff. It also had large pieces of wood painted white that they had markers and paint for people to sign or write whatever they wanted. I hope they have Knotfest again next year and every year after that. It will be hard to top this one, but I know that if anyone can do it, its Slipknot and the amazing metal community.