The Heavy Metal Ethos Gives Ozzfest Meets Knotfest Life REVIEW+PHOTOS: OZZFEST MEETS KNOTFEST 11/4/17-11/5/17
San Bernardino, CA- Every musical genre has its own subculture, but heavy metal- a style of music that emerged in the late 1960s that was distinctive for its huge amplified distortion and extended guitar solos- has a culture that has endured and resonated strongly for decades.
When heavy metal emerged, it was bashed by critics as being loud noise. Yet while the critics may have expressed disdain towards the new genre, fans flocked en mass to concerts and to purchase records of bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. This new music was clearly, at the time, outlier of the norm, and this rejection by the “mainstream” seemed to only draw more people to it whose commonality was based on, first and foremost, a love for the music and also an anti-establishment sentiments (Heavy metal is often regarded as protest music) with a focus on individuality.
Though heavy metal has spawned numerous other sub-genres, the culture endures and it was proudly on display at Ozzfest Meets Knotfest.
For the second year in a row, Ozzfest (a music festival founded by Ozzy Osbourne) and Knotfest (created by the band Slipknot) joined forces and gave metal heads a full weekend of glorified amplified distortion and extended guitar solos at the Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino. The Festival delivered a handful of the most revolutionary performances in the history of its festivities. Topping this year’s Ozzfest roster of carefully curated artists were acts such as Prophets of Rage, Deftones, Children of Bodom, Kreator, with Ozzy Osbourne closing out the night as primary headliner, respectively. On Sunday, those in attendance were indulged in much heavier sounds as names such as Prayers, Stone Sour (fronted by Slipknot’s Corey Taylor), Marilyn Manson, and headliner Rob Zombie and his crew ignited the amphitheater festival grounds.
But the music aside (some of which we’ll cover with individual performance posts embedded below), being a part of the crowd was an experience in and of itself. It was visual eye candy for me, as I got to admire patrons wearing all black, adorned with chains, ominous masks (taking a cue from Slipnot), spikes and chokers. Numerous attendees wore t-shirts with the band they were most excited to see perform (or not scheduled to appear like Slipnot) emblazoned on their chest with a striking graphic. Some guests even took it a step further wearing intricate “dark” costumes, one of which sparkled with black stones and devil’s horns. My personal favorites were leather and jean jackets with band or political patches stitched all over them them.
Even more enjoyable than observing the fashions present at the festival was watching the masses lose their collective minds when their favorite bands took the stage, especially earlier in the day. For the headlining evening acts of each of the respective days, special pit passes needed to be purchased in order to get near the stage. While the mosh pits and crowd surfing in the evening was admirable, the good stuff happened between 11:15pm – 5:40pm at the Second Stages A & B. As music blared from the speakers, swirling masses engaged in intensely satisfying circle pits, and fans crowd walked/surfed up to the front of the stage, kicking up dust and letting off some steam.
But even amidst the seemingly reckless craziness of the action, I noted the respect that everyone seemed to have for each other. Men and women alike participated, and all I could see were smiles and excitement on everyone’s faces. Children were present at festival too, some of whom were up front at the railing, but I could tell that those near or close to those children- some even in their inebriated state- respected those children’s space and made sure errant feet or bodies didn’t smack their little bodies. It was controlled chaos; a timed release of pent up aggression aimed to let loose your inhibitions within the safety of numbers as long as you watched your brother’s back.
And that’s what I took away most from the weekend’s festivities. In a time of some serious political and social back-assedness, Ozzfest Meets Knotsfest served as an outlet, not only to have fun and rock on with some of your favorite musicians, but also to scream along at the top of your lungs to get some of the worldly burden and weight off your shoulders. Sure, some bands may have openly expressed their concerns on stage (like Prophets of Rage- bluntly- and Marilyn Manson-subtly), but it was in there with the masses, amongst the metal heads, where a true respite could be found.
Both days were a plethora of moshing, headbanging, and ultimately singing and dancing that re-enforced the vision and mission of both commemorations — music fans coming together to just have a great time to let off some steam. Despite the tremendously rough environment that materializes over the course of many performances, every single person treated each other like family and it was truly remarkable to witness.
Visit www.ozzfest.com for the latest up-to-date information and everything future Ozzfest Meets Knotfest.
For Ozzfest on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/ozzfestofficial.
For Knotfest on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/KNOTFEST.
BELOW ARE LINKS TO PHOTO GALLERIES OF THE MUSICAL ACTS THAT BLURRED CULTURE WAS ABLE TO CATCH AT THE OZZFEST MEETS KNOTFEST.
OZZFEST: NOVEMBER 4, 2017
KNOTTFEST: NOVEMBER 5, 2017
Derrick K. Lee is a music attorney, blogger, concert photographer and co-owner of Blurred Culture. He goes to a lot of shows and sometimes he writes good. Music is his boo.
All photos are edited with iPhoto. Lightroom edits can be made upon request. For prints and/or approvals for special uses of any photo taken by Derrick, please contact him directly.