Since its initial run in 2007, Rock on the Range has become one of the premier festivals in the World’s Loudest Month.

Located in Columbus, OH, Rock on the Range has become one of the must-go-to U.S. festivals. This year the festival went from May 15th thru May 17th. The iconic festival housed three different stages at Mapfre Stadium (Monster Energy, Ernie Ball, and Jägermeister) and hosted sixty bands over those locations.

Friday kicked off with Shaman’s Harvest on the Ernie Ball stage, while Xfactor1 took control of the Jagermeister stage. The venue started filling early and quickly, and fans were treated to some great music from both stages. This was Shaman’s Harvest second Rock on the Range (ROTR) appearance, since they played the second stage back in 2010. Islander and Highly Suspect were next up, and kept the party rolling on the Ernie Ball and Jagermeister stages respectively. We Are Harlot was the first main stage act of the day, and returned this year after playing their first show ever last year at ROTR. They showed that they are going to be a force to be reckoned with, and it can be a guarantee that we’ll be seeing them here again.

One thing that is very impressive with the ROTR set up, was the ease in which the crowd can move around to whichever stage they wanted to be at. A majority of the crowd headed outside to see Vamps and Dorothy pound through their sets on the outer stages. Plenty of food and vendor stalls were set up on either side of the stadium, so staying fed and hydrated were not really a problem. Apocalyptic tore through a killer set on the main stage, showing off their unique brand of music featuring rock n’ roll cellos. It was something to behold, and they were also second timers, after appearing back in 2010. The Ernie Ball stage featured Young Guns up next, while Dangerkids took over the Jagermeister stage.

Artist: Otherwise on the Ernie Ball stage

Photo credit: Andy Howe

A huge crowd shift ensued, back into the main stadium, for ROTR first timers, Live, to take to the Monster Energy stage. An energetic set featuring several big hits and fans favorites showed that they haven’t lost a beat. It was really cool to hear such a large crowd singing along practically word by word. As Live wound down a fabulous set, fans flocked back outside to see Dillinger Escape Plan and Beartooth working their magic on the Ernie Ball and Jagermeister stages. Up next, making a return to the main stage after being the very first main stage band way back in 2007 at the first ROTR was Breaking Benjamin. They led the near capacity crowd through a fantastic set of new and old songs, while also taking time to throw water to the crowd, and also got up close with fans in the security aisle up the middle of the stadium. Yelawolf and Hatebreed were up next on the outer stages and played to big crowds at both stages, keeping the crowd energized for what was yet to come.

Slash and Myles Kennedy brought their killer combo of guitars and vocals to the main stage to the delight of everyone in attendance. It was unbelievable to hear Myles unleash song after song, with seemingly no effort at all, while Slash was just… well.. Slash. Enough said. Slash was no stranger to ROTR, after appearing a few times either with Velvet Revolver in 2007, or with his solo projects in 2010 and 2012. Myles also has appeared with Alter Bridge in 2008 and 2011. Closing things down on the Ernie Ball stage was Falling in Reverse.

To wrap up day one, the first of the main headliners, Marilyn Manson exploded out onto the main stage. He tore through a set heavy with crowd favorites, and also pulled no punches while playing it up for the cameras, so that everyone could see him at his shock rocking best. Whether marching to the beat of his own drum, cutting himself and bleeding for the remainder of his set, or posing and smiling to show off his metallic teeth, Marilyn Manson gave this show his all. This would be a hard act to follow, so it was a good thing that Slipknot was up to the challenge. Corey Taylor and his entire cast of bandmates took over the mainstage like the seasoned, polished pros that they are. The entire crowd was consumed by this performance, singing along, moshing and crowd surfing for the entire set. Day one was now complete, and was a resounding success.

The rain that threatened Saturday’s show did not stop the faithful fans from venturing out and taking their chances while seeing their favorite bands. The first round of showers with any force happened mid set of Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts on the main stage. This did not stop the fascination many fans had of the metal import, Babymetal. While being on the Ernie Ball stage, the viewing area was completely packed to see this act. Formed in 2010, the band is a mixture of choreographed dance with clean and dirty lyrics in a metalish genre. Even not singing English, the female fronted group was able to grab and hold the attention of a packed sold out show while playing opposite of Nonpoint.

Back on the main stage, the crowd truly started to make a push on the floor of Mapfre stadium in anticipation of In This Moment. Maria Brink (Vocals), Chris Howorth (Lead Guitar), Travis Johnson (Bass), Randy Weitzel (Guitar), and Tom Hane (Drums) put on a show that did not disappoint fans. Lots of smoke from the machines set the tone for the show that was about to follow. Maria managed to do costume changes after each song to the delight of many. “Sick Like Me” and “Whore” were part of the set. With the help of large screens to either side of the stage, all of the visuals components of the show were seen by all who cared to watch.

Papa Roach was then next on the main stage schedule. Getting the crowd going wasn’t hard for Jacoby Shaddix, Jerry Horton, Tobin Esperance, and Tony Palermo. Playing a mixture of hits from previous albums got the floor jumping and moving. At least one song was played off of their latest release, F.E.A.R. The sound from all of the bands was spectacular but the live presence of Papa Roach made it easy to see why they have been as popular as they have for as long as they have been. To see the guys play live with excitement and hearing “Last Resort,” the amount of bodies surfing did little to take away from the experience.

1000 horsepower is incredibly fast. The way Godsmack started out their set could be the only thing faster on Saturday. Seeing Sully Erna (Vocals), Tony Rombola (Guitar), Robbie Merrill (Bass), and Shannon Larkin (Drums) go full throttle was no surprise. From challenging the crowd to beat a record held by another city to playing new songs off the new album, 1000HP, Sully barely allowed anyone to catch their breath. Sneaking in a tribute of sorts with snippets of Aerosmith, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, all in one shot was a nice way to change up the routine. Not to be forgotten was the drum off between Sully and Shannon. Dueling drum kits and equal skill on the skins completed with twirling sticks and bongo made quite the sight. Not being new to having one of their songs being connected to the military, the guys played “What’s Next?” dedicated to the US military service men and women and to an overwhelming positive response from the fans.

And in the clean up role of the night, the Godfathers of metal sent the show out on a fiery ride of over forty-three years worth of music. With the only real set back of the night having been before Judas Priest went on stage. A large curtain with the band’s logo fell from the rigging surprising not only the stage workers but also anyone in the photo pit area not looking up. But the show must go on, and it certainly did. Playing songs off of their latest album, Redeemer of Souls, along with “Breaking the Law,” “Turbo Lover,” and “Painkiller” among others was a stunning tour of force from the metal legends. With Rob coming out with a godfather worthy cane, to his riding in on two wheeled fury, to still being able to hit high notes mere mortal can’t even begin to attempt, they left nothing to be missed out on. New and old fans both enjoyed the music that helped to etch Judas Priest into rock and roll immortality.

Day three began with rain, and some very ominous looking storm clouds. The crowd wasn’t having any of it, and the festival grounds filled up rapidly. Unlocking The Truth and Santa Cruz took to the outer stages, while rain continued to come and go and threaten to wash things away. Fans were treated to a great set on both stages, and weathered the potential storm to see Art of Dying return to the Ernie Ball stage after playing on the Jagermeister stage in 2011. A set full of old favorites was rounded out by a selection of new songs from their upcoming release, Rise Up. Playing on the Jagermeister stage was September Mourning, a powerhouse alternative metal band fronted by September (Emily Lazar).

First up on the Monster Energy stage, Hollywood Undead made their Rock on the Range return, after playing the second stage in 2011. Rain still showed up sporadically, but fans were resilient and didn’t let it ruin their good time. Starset and Marmozets were up next on the outer stages while the main stage prepared for Taylor Momsen and The Pretty Reckless.

A severe weather system moved into the area, and a short delay was enforced for the safety of everyone. After a few strong gusts of wind, and thankfully only a short break, the go ahead was given for the festivities to resume. The Pretty Reckless hit the stage running, and put on a great show filled with all their hits. A year of hard work has certainly paid off, as they debuted on the second stage only last year. A large portion of the almost capacity crowd made the move outside to witness Otherwise and Crobot tore apart the outer stages.

Both bands were coming off of successful touring runs, and large crowds were rewarded with great sets as a result. A return to the main stadium, just in time for Scott Ian and Anthrax to deliver their high energy, and high flying act to an overflowing and excited crowd. A successful debut performance left everyone who witnessed it wanting more.

Rival Sons brought their killer vocals up next on the Ernie Ball stage. A crowd favorite for sure, Rival Sons are a force to be reckoned with, and have shown that by graduating from the Jagermeister stage in 2012. I can only assume that they will grace the mainstage eventually, and deservedly so. Upon A Burning Body played opposite on the Jagermeister stage, to the delight of all in attendance.

In reference to bands graduating up from stage to stage, nobody has done it better than Halestorm. This band was on fire, and, after debuting on the Jagermeister stage in 2009, returning to the second stage in 2010, headlining on the main stage for the third time, Halestorm has shown that they were more than comfortable here on the Range. After a crushing set, and powerhouse performance, we took in the final performances on the outer stages. Motionless in White took the Ernie Ball stage while Periphery strutted their stuff to an enthusiastic crowd at the Jager stage.

As day three entered the latter stages, Volbeat hit the Monster Energy stage to the delight of a packed out stadium. This was their third appearance on the main stage, appearing in 2012 and 2013. High energy, crowd surfing, and hit after hit were delivered to a very enthusiastic crowd. Volbeat is a well tuned machine, after spending most of the last few years criss-crossing North America and the world with tour after tour. They also debuted a new song off an upcoming new album.

TechN9NE closed things down on the Ernie Ball stage, to an overflowing crowd. Not exactly the same genre as the rest of the bill, but the people seemed to be eating it up and having a blast. Rise Against hit the mainstage again, returning after a 2010 ROTR debut. They performed a great set, getting the crowd prepared for the last headliner of the festival, Linkin Park.

Love them, or hate them, there is no denying that Linkin Park, and vocalist Chester Bennington especially, are no strangers to hard work and giving it your all. Whether delivering a soft, mellow ballad, or screaming in tune like a banshee, Chester got it done. What an incredible performer, for what was to be a terrific ROTR debut for Linkin Park. An exhausted, and well satisfied crowd made their way to the parking lot, and back to reality. With next year being the 10 year anniversary we can only assume that it will be an event that you won’t want to miss. National Rock Review will definitely be there to see it all and report it back to you.

If anyone was there for any of the three days, please share your photos, experiences, and opinions of the festival with us.

Rock on the Range
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In This Moment
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Papa Roach
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Judas Priest
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Rise Against
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Linkin Park
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Marilyn Manson
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