MAY IS GONNA ROCK!
Did you hear the screaming with absolute joy around 1 p.m. EST last Wednesday? No? My Boss did. On Wednesday, December 13th, two days late due to circumstances is fans can only speculate on, Rocklahoma announced their lineup for 2018. I know I am not the only person to say this in the last week, but I can’t wait for May. There are so many festivals coming this Spring, but because I need to pay bills, I can’t go to all of them. I sure would like to, but that pesky adult responsibility gets the better of me. In my previous post, I highlighted other AEG Production line ups. They definitely gave us strong hints for who they were going to get for Rocklahoma. Most of the festival lineups are the same with tweaks here and there. For example, ROK is not getting Stone Sour. I’m a little sad, since last year, Stone Sour was canceled because of bad weather. However, after some research, I discovered that Stone Sour needs to be in Germany on June 1st for the Rock IM Park/Rock AM Ring (depending on how it’s listed on their site www.stonesour.com). No worries. I will get my Corey Taylor fix sometime this year. I’m determined.
Unless you’re on some internet ban because you’re trying to steer clear of The Last Jedi spoilers or just don’t like to be plugged in this time of year, the lineup for ROK 2018 includes, Poison, A Perfect Circle, Ghost, Cheap Trick, Halestorm, Vince Neil, 10 Days, Adelitas Way, Stone Temple Pilots, and my personal favorite, Godsmack. Godsmack I knew was a given for this festival, but it still made me happy to see their picture on the list. I’ve NEVER seen Maynard in any of his bands so I’m quite excited to see A Perfect Circle. I do find it very interesting that Cheap Trick has been included this year. I’ve seen Cheap Trick live twice now and I am stoked to see them a third time. There are plenty of lesser known bands playing the stages. An example is a different kind of band expected at a rock festival like ROK, is a little-known band out of New York, Wild Planes (http://www.wildplanesband.com/). I have a personal connection to this band. Their guitar player is friends with my son. I was very excited to be 2100 miles from home last year and surprise WP’s own, Sean Mac, by screaming up at the stage at him. It was a lot of fun. I’ll get to go out and support them again this year, except that I’ve already told Sean I’ll be there.
Some other bands, local to Tulsa, are Firstryke and Down for Five. I LOVE these bands. Janna Jordan, the guitar goddess from Down For Five is one of my most favorite musicians. She shreds. She growls. She’s just fucking amazing and if you go to ROK this year and never saw DFF, go see them. Seriously. You will not be disappointed. The other band is Firstryke, who I just love because their drummer Mike D. has been someone I’ve supported musically for a long time. About 12 years ago, I went to New Orleans to meet up with some friends. This included Mike D and his lovely wife. Mike was in a band called Lock N Load then. They were showcasing at the Hard Rock. We (my BFF and I along with others) did our very best to make sure the folks watching at the Hard Rock knew who LnL was and hoped they would book them for gigs. Well, it was a fun trip to New Orleans in any case. It was also where The Drummer and I became lifelong friends.
Speaking of The Drummer. He is on the production side of things. He works with the crews on the Axis Stage. Some acts have been announced for Axis. They are White Noise Owl, who from what I understand from a post in one of the Rocklahoma FB groups I’m in, is comprised of members of BLS, Evanescence, Lopro, and Snot. Full disclosure, I only know BLS and Evanescence. Clueless about the other two, but I trust my fellow ROK fans. Other Axis stage bands announced are Silent Theory, Ryder (another band from NY!), Kevlar and Dead Horse Trauma. Again, haven’t heard of these bands, but that’s okay! Once I go to ROK this year, I’ll know them. Many of the folks in the FB groups I’m in are praising Dead Horse Trauma.
Prepping For the Big Weekend
My plan from now until May is to go through the entire lineup and create a playlist. I may do a separate one for the Axis stage bands. My BFF and I are also gathering items we may need. We have chairs. BFF just bought us a cool portable table. We’re not camping but having the table with us will be handy to keep drinks on (I’m a klutz and spill things) and food.
I’m definitely going to review the “rules” quite closely this year. I had an incident with two delightful security guards. One particular young lady showed off her amazing customer service skills to me and several others. Not only did she, in her own unique way, tell me to lose my purse, but she later commented on some gentlemen who were having a great time and not hurting anyone by calling them “fucking stupid”. What a delight she was. (The previous statements should be read with extreme sarcasm). Then there was another young man who asked me to remove my shirt as I was walking in. That young man was almost stomped by an angry middle-aged drummer until he quickly apologized. Apparently, fat rolls are quite often mistaken for concealed weapons or something. But to avoid these delightful interactions with authority, I will review the rules. I do honestly, take the rules seriously. Especially after all the incidents in public venues this past year. Most notably the shooting in Vegas at a country music concert. But I also want to be able to have my personal belongings safely stored with me. Hopefully, both fans and security will have an agreement that benefits the safety of us all and makes the guards jobs a lot easier.
Another handy tip given to me, was using the Rocklahoma App. Especially the 2nd day when the weather was turning for the worst. The Drummer had to leave us and head to Axis to help out there. I kept checking the app for any information and as soon as the flags were changing color, the messages popped up on our phones saying “Sorry folks, rest of the day canceled.” I have to say, the weather matched my mood. The 2nd day was the day Soundgarden was supposed to play. Many of us were hurting over the loss of Chris Cornell. That morning, I learned Gregg Allman died and I was one extremely sad music fan. Plus, I didn’t get to see much of Zakk Wylde (thank you Drummer for that one) or Stone Sour. The app was very useful during our time there and I will be utilizing it when I go again in May 2018.
I think what I am most looking forward is not just spending time with two of my closest friends, but being exposed to so much music. Some bands I know. Some I love (Godsmack and Cheap Trick). Some I’m not a particularly huge fan of (Andrew WK). Some I’ve never heard of before (too many to list). It’s only my 2nd year going to ROK. I’ve tried to learn from seasoned ROK go-ers what to do, bring and see. The most common advice from everyone in the FB groups has been “just go and have fun”. A lot of the folks that attend ROK make this their vacation. I’m showing up early Thursday after a 21-hour road trip from NY, most of the folks I’ll be hanging out with on Thursday night will have been there since Monday morning. They make it their vacation. It’s kind of my vacation too. I plan on having a great time. Some of the rookie things I’ve learned from last year, put your bracelet on as soon as you get into your car to go to the festival. I had that thing on from the moment I pulled out of BFF’s driveway that Tuesday night and didn’t’ take it off until I came home. I took it off reluctantly because I was sad it was over. Get a great parking spot if you’re not camping. It’s only my 2nd year. Everyone says “camping is where the party is at” and I believe them. I camped during my days of following the Grateful Dead around. I’m 20 years older now and I like to have a bed and a working shower. Someone else cooking me breakfast and cleaning up after is also something I enjoy. Besides, since I don’t get to Tulsa/Pryor often, I try to have some quick visits with friends before going to the show.
Eyes toward May
I think the best part about going to Rocklahoma, besides my friends is that it’s a small festival. I’ve been to Ozzfest. I’ve been to larger festivals involving the Grateful Dead. I like that Rocklahoma is small. There’s definitely a circus, yet a family feel to the whole event. People look out for each other. People try to help one another and I think that’s just what the world needs these days. Be decent human beings. I find that there are a lot of decent humans at ROK. The party animals, music lovers and some of the most creative types I know. I loved people watching. From “Assless Chaps Boy” (the nickname my BFF gave him) to the guy dressed as Paul Stanley to the couple dressed in purple tiger stripes, to all the crazy, fun folk at Camps Jager, Mardi Gras, and Darkside, they make this festival what it is. I’ve heard some negativity toward ROK because we don’t get the major lineups. So what? We get great bands. There’s music on FOUR STAGES! That’s not counting the individual camp stages. As of this writing, the notice went out on two of the Rocklahoma groups I’m in that Camp Darkside is indeed coming back this Spring. I may actually wander over this year. Especially if they convince Deathgrip to play again.
It’s a cold day here in NY today and I’m already dreaming of an early spring in Oklahoma. I’m excited to see my friends. I’m excited to make some new friends. I can’t wait to see bands I love and find new bands to love. It’s going to be a great time at Rocklahoma 2018. Let the countdown begin!
For the full line up and ticket information go to www.Rocklahoma.com for all the info you need to get your party on Memorial Day Weekend 2018.
What about you? Who are you looking forward to seeing? Any fun traditions you and friends do for ROK? Let me know in the comments.