Photo Credit: Kristi Burnison
Louisville, KY. Home of the best bourbon known to man. Louisville switched that homage around in favor of becoming home to one of the largest rock festivals around. Louder Than Life came to town boasting gourmet man food, delicious bourbon and two days’ worth of rock to go down in history. It didn’t fail to deliver.
Day one of the festival, I hopped an Uber ride to Champions Park and then waited in the fairly quick line to grab my media band. The strains of Bishop Gunn’s music reached my starving ears. Bishop Gunn has a way of encompassing the masses. Travis McCready’s throaty wail and the twang of the guitar gave me a blues feeling so strong that I could feel it in my soul. Travis sounds no different live than he does on their self-titled EP (a trait that few accomplish). There are benefits to an early set in a large festival like this. Bishop Gunn gave me an eager anticipation as I headed through the gates and into what would become an insane weekend.
Straight in the gates were life size letters that spelled out “Louder Than Life.” Many people gathered in front of the letters for pictures, proving they were at the festival to be at this year. I moved along the concrete path snaking between the three stages set up this year. Zorn stage sat alone to the south of the larger stages, Monster and Loudmouth. Between Zorn and the bigger stages were lines upon lines of food trucks. There was food ranging anywhere from fire roasted ribs to chocolate covered truffles. The other side ran the merchandise tables, filled with commemorative shirts and band merchandise.
I shuffled along to the VIP tent, which sat cozily next to the Monster stage. Under the big top tent was a personal bar with quality premium Jack Daniels. There were plenty choices of different booze ranging from your standard beers to your high quality bourbon. Couches and chairs surrounded tables and TVs that showcased whoever’s set was currently on stage. Bleachers ran against a fence next to Monster stage to view the best acts from the comfort of the VIP tent.
Security dotted along the front and sides of the barriers on each stage, ready to catch the rambunctious crowd surfers. Twelve Foot Ninja was onstage at this moment and gigantic red flags billowed on each side of the stage. Loads of people filled the pit, horns were up everywhere, the energy was electrifying.
Hundreds upon thousands of people were there, and yet I had plenty of space to walk around without bumping into anyone. I didn’t feel like I was tripping over feet or knocking elbows with a passerby. The lines for the food trucks were quick. I stood in line for some smokin’ pulled pork sliders and gooey corn on the cob. It took a total of ten minutes to wait through the line, order my food and receive it hot and fresh.
While I was in the media tent for most of Saturday, I was able to clearly hear a few sets. Pierce the Veil gave me goosebumps with Vic Fuente’s clear, piercing vocals. I Prevail riled up the crowd the most. Their rebellious nature was so contagious, people moshed and crowd surfed their way to a good time. Being As An Ocean hypnotized the crowd. Joel Quartuccio was a fixation point for the fans who looked upon him adoringly.
Saturday night wrapped up with Avenged Sevenfold, who brought down the night as you would expect from the likes of A7X. The fans were wild despite the fact they just went through almost twelve hours straight of heavy hard rock.
Cue Sunday morning, the day I was most excited about. I had one interview to clear that morning and the rest of the day was mine to explore. We arrived at the tail end of Adelita’s Way, and just in time for a band I was most interested in hearing from. Smashing Satellites took over the Zorn Stage and blew me away. Lead singer Sal Costa gripped the crowd with his lulling voice, which was contradictory to his energy onstage. Their drummer had an infectious intensity. The guitarists fed off each other with effective tunes. I became an instant fan and I suggest you check them out if you can.
I rounded off my interview just in time to jump into the crowd of the Loudmouth stage to get ready for Pop Evil. The stages were set up so that while I was waiting for Pop Evil to come on I could watch Parkway Drive playing on the Monster stage. There were a few Deadpools crowd surfing and the people were excited. It was loud and Parkway Drive was proud
Pop Evil was on next. There’s something to be said about standing in a crowd of at least 30,000 people when they start shouting “USA!” Matt DiRito and Leigh Kakaty decided to share their 22 Push-Up Challenge with the likes of Louisville on stage between songs. With Hayley Cramer’s help on the drums, we counted 22 push-ups out for the men. This was to represent the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. Soon after they got to their feet, the fans went wild with American pride. It gave me goosebumps and reminded me what America is capable of.
Sevendust smashed Champions Park into the ground, as they always do. Skillet rose everyone up. Alter Bridge kept you high. Korn burned up the stage.
Slipknot, in true Slipknot fashion, rounded off the weekend with a bang. 50,000+ people left that park unable to sleep until well past 2am because of their excitement and because of their need to talk about the show and the weekend of a lifetime.
A weekend of a lifetime that you get to repeat. Every. Year. Isn’t that something?
Check out our weekend in photos below and next time, catch it live. You won’t regret it.
Photo Credits: Robin Ervolina – Click to view set