Dirt Fest 2016 took place, for the first time ever, at the Crofoot Festival Grounds in downtown Pontiac, MI on August 13. Dirt Fest 2016 – Pontiac, MI – 8/13/16Featuring three outdoor stages and a stage inside the Crofoot Ballroom, it definitely gave that true festival feel. With merch tents and food vendors interwoven between the stages, it was easy to navigate and get to any band you wanted to see.
The main stage was stacked all day and rounded out the night with Hatebreed, Asking Alexandria, and Killswitch Engage. We also got to see a very cool set from a newly reunited Bury Your Dead playing their Beauty and the Breakdown album for its 10th anniversary. Atilla smashed the main stage with their heavy set that had everyone on their feet. As most festivals go, there was never a lull in the excitement.
The festival is run annually by Matt Dalton. A musician and producer himself, he sure knows how to put on a show. One thing that was very evident about Dirt Fest was that it was not just a festival for the fans, but one for the bands. A strong sense of community was felt throughout. At any given point by the main stage you could see bands out in the crowd enjoying the shows as well. Band or fan, everyone seemed to be having a ball. Rain threatened to ruin the fun a few times, but that’s when the Crofoot Ballroom stage came in handy.
Asking Alexandria played a great set with a lot of new tunes off The Black. Guitarist Ben Bruce was noticeably missing, but we came to find out he was home in the UK awaiting the birth of a child. I guess we can let that one slide. Immediately following AA’s set, the band we had all been waiting for, Killswitch Engage, hit the stage. They played all the hits and some newer stuff and came with more energy than you can imagine. Per his usual antics, guitarist Adam D was playing guitar while running through the crowd.
After the Killswitch set, we migrated inside the Crofoot Ballroom for the after party. Live music by Ironsnake was incredibly entertaining. They may be the best 80’s cover band I’ve seen. It was a time for drinks, dancing, laughs and all the fun with friends new and old.
Overall, it was an amazing day and Dirt Fest 2016 was a hit. Next year will be the 20th year of the festival, and certain to be the best yet.
Photo Credit: Kurt Kryszak
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