By Shuvam DasGupta, Rock At Night Philadelphia
Blue Ridge Rock Fest, Virginia International Speedway, Alton, Virginia- Day 2 (9/9) and 3 (9/10)
The Biggest rock venue in America, the Second largest rock fest in the US, and most importantly the festival consisting of a lineup that was voted by the fans – Blue Ridge Rock Fest is one of a kind fest in North America. This year they are back with a lineup that is almost unbelievable – Slipknot, Disturbed, Ghost, Mudvayne, Alice Cooper, A Day to remember, Gojira, Halestorm, Ice Cube, Lamb of God, and the list goes on and on. Rock at Night was present on day 2 (9/9/2022) and Day 3 (9/10/2022) of the festival and it was an absolutely unbelievable experience.
The 6th annual Blue Ridge Rock Festival was at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) on September 8th-11th. It was a grand venue with 5 stages to host the biggest names in Rock and Metal universe. The 2 biggest stages were side by side – the ZYN and Monster Energy stages. There were consecutive shows without any overlap between them. A bit far from these stages are URW and Fan Driven stages. though these are not really side by side, but close by. Between these stages, there is another stage called – The heart Support stage that hosted some exciting shows as well though-out the day almost one after another. The whole venue had multiple foods and drinks shops, water dispensers, and restrooms. Safety was a big priority with well-managed security staff, first aid spots, etc. Overall logistically it was well managed to give the audience a good experience.
Now let’s talk about the main component of the festival – the bands and other performers. It is impossible to put down the whole experience we had at the festival. Seeing the biggest names of the music industry perform one after another – is a lifetime experience for anyone. It was not humanely possible to see all the performances in a single day so I will only mention the ones I have witnessed. The Friday started with Blacktop Mojo at the ZYN stage- it almost worked as a strong coffee to kickstart the day. For the rest of the day, we witnessed major bands like – Buckcherry, Sevendust, All That Remains, Theory of a Deadman, etc. I just do not need to mention how good they are – their name suggests what they are capable of. It was amazing to see some non-American bands like – Orbit Culture, Slaughter to Prevail, In Flames, and Gojira. We also watched our friends of Van Go Go perform – a shoutout to them from Rock at Night. As it became darker Halestorm gave a mind-blowing performance to remind everyone that the night had just begun. Friday night has some legends of Metal – a special performance of the supergroup Down, The legendary Alice Cooper, and bizarrely awesome Mudvayne. Also a special mention of the insane performance of Insane Clown Posse.
The next day the biggest issue was the rain and everyone (especially the photographers) was concerned about that. Yes, it rained almost the whole day – but it was not enough to diminish the energy of the audience. The day started with the legendary supergroup the Dead Daisies. Though there were two canceled performances of SION and Lacuna Coil, the performances of Butcher Babies, Municipal Waste, Powerman 5000, and Mushroomhead have made up for what we missed. Apocalyptica put out a show that was completely out of the world by blending classical music with Metal. The absolute cinematic performances of Ice Nine Kills, the horror metal of Motionless in White, and the powerful show of Skillet – are some of the shows that took the festival to heights. Special mention to Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Glass are two true performers to put a smile on the fan’s faces while they head-bang. Finally, it was Slipknot – it is something that one has to just experience. The whole field was filled with people and as the music started it felt like the field was shaking.
Overall the 2 days we experienced were absolutely out of the world. Kudos to the organizers and management. We will surely look forward to the next year.
**Look for Rock At Night’s upcoming fall issue (~September 25th) for more photos of Blue Ridge Rock Fest
In Summary: 1. Favorite band to photograph-Slaughter to Prevail 2. Biggest bucket list to see-Alice Cooper 3. Loudest band-Mudvayne 4. Highlight of the fest-the lineup 5. Biggest disappointment about the festival–the rain and not being able to shoot photos of Slipknot 6. What surprised you the most? Nothing was too surprising.
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