The inaugural Full Terror Assault Open Air Festival makes a triumphant moshing debut with only a few bumps and bruises along the way.

If you build it, they will come and come they did in droves from around the world. Just under a thousand fellow heavy metal fans made their way from around the world to attend the first ever Full Terror Assault Open Air Festival held at Cave-In-Rock, Illinois. One man’s vision encapsulated the dreams of many and made it a reality, casting the dice and risking it all to achieve the goal of producing a true multi-day metal festival independent of corporate support or outside financial backing.

The event was held over three days at the Hogrock Campgrounds just north of Cave-In-Rock, IL, a 100-plus acre private property of sprawling, rolling hills nestled along the Ohio river. The ticket price included a variety of camping options on site and featured over seventy bands across three days and three stages located around the grounds. The addition of a BYOB policy was another amenity that made for the icing on the cake given the typical high prices of beverages at any festival venue. A great variety of metal was represented which was hand picked by organizer Shane Bottens. He has been involved in the music business for over twenty years as a promoter, booking agent and also headed up his own band Waco Jesus.

Wednesday was the first day people could arrive at the site with the first actual patrons arriving at 1:30 AM from Pennsylvania. The trickle of cars slowly increased over the next thirty-six hours as the metal brethren made  their way to ground zero. Some even braved the elements riding motorcycles from as far as Ontario, Canada while others flew in from Germany to show support. Campsites began to spring up across the hills each with its own unique flair. By the time morning of day one had broken the legions had swelled to a few hundred strong and ready to roll.

The festival was set up with three stages, each with its own sponsor. The main stage was sponsored by, who oddly had no presence at the festival at all, carried the majority of the action each day. The two side stages were sponsored by National Rock Review and with the latter also being the location of the Wednesday pre-party and nightly after parties that went on until three a.m. each night. A few food and merchandise vendors dotted the main stage midway providing a decent variety of food options and hard to find metal gear, CD, shirts and patches.

The weather was cooperative  for the most part each day. The first two days were mostly sunny and warm, which gave way early Saturday morning to cold, bone chilling rain. That didn’t stop the fans one bit, because, after all, mud and rain make for an even greater mosh pit where you have come to release steam and energy. Just when it seemed the day was going to be a wash the rain stopped and the clouds parted to reveal an epic double rainbow across from the main stage as Waco Jesus began to play. A cheer roared through the crowd at what was surely seen as a portent from the metal gods themselves smiling down their favor upon the meadow.

The schedule each day turned a bit dynamic throughout the week as bands failed to appear on the site for their given time slot or due to electrical issues on a side stage due to a faulty power line.  Those minor issues elicited no angry response from fans, many who realized that a first-year event of this magnitude was going to have a few bumps along the way. In fact, the majority of them didn’t even really care too much being that they were just grateful to be witness to the birth of something long overdue in this country.

With seventy something bands playing over the festival, it’s really unfair to try and give each band an individual review. As a whole, every band that played was in high spirits and excited to be playing here. Headliners Terrorizer, Obituary and Napalm Death each provided an impressive draw to the festival lineup each night. The support for each band was phenomenal with many of them being smaller local acts that have not toured extensively. Most of the bands arrived a day early themselves and stayed on throughout the event to celebrate with their fans and fellow musicians. The line between fans and bands often found at other festivals dissolved with several bands hanging out in the huge merchandise tent set up by the main stage to meet everyone.

The mosh pits in front of the stages flowed fast and furious for each set. It’s not often that you can say that a mosh pit is a peaceful, non-violent place to be, but the pits here were more welcoming and brotherly than normal. No flailing windmill arms, no crashing of bodies at full steam, no angry punches at blindside hits. The revelers were a communal pit of family, strangers at first, then united as one family by the end of the event.

Sunday came and the groggy masses of weary patrons broke camp, many gathering for one last breakfast together, exchanging contact information and wandering the grounds to assist in cleaning up the site. The people, the fans, those who believed and made an uncertain pilgrimage across the back roads of the country came together in unison, forging friendships and lasting bonds that would last beyond the fading electrified notes rolling across the valley. A hymn of brotherhood that still reverberates with a fire and passion to return next year in number, to go forth and spread the word that this thing of ours was very real.

Band list as originally scheduled in alphabetical order, not all artists made it to the festival.
6 Prong Paw, Instructor, Altered Existence, Apparition, Archspire, Asphyxiator, Black Fast, Blood Tribe, Cannabis Corpse, Cardiac Arrest, Carnivora, Coathanger Abortion, Condition Critical, Created To Kill, Dead Shore, Death Grip, Deathbed Confession, Disinter, Drogheda, Eyehategod, Final Drive, Framework, Frosthelm, Fulgora, Get Ignorant, Gruesome, Headcrusher, Hellbent, Helmsplitter, Images Of Violence, Impaler, In Defence, Infalling, Inferia(Fin), Internal Bleeding, Invidiosus, Iron Reagan, Kilbury Unit, Kill It Again, Legion Of Death, Lust Of Decay, Masticator, Micawber, Misery Index, Moistened Disciples, Murder Construct, Napalm Death, Nashville Pussy, Noisem, Obituary, Protest, Putrid Pile, Revocation, Sacrificial Slaughter, Scalafrea, Seize The Empire, Sexual Atrocities, Sikfuk, Skinned, Sog(Special Ops Group), Splitwig, Starkill, Superchief, Terrorizer, Testimony, The Dr. Orphyus Project, Thell Barrio(Mex), Ton, Tyranny Enthroned, Valient Thorr, Voltumna(It), Waco Jesus, Warbeast, Wrath, Wretchedpain(Can), Xaemora

The artists of Full Terror Assault - Jesse Savage

The people of Full Terror Assault – Mike Lansaw

Full Terror Assault
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About The Author

Hailing from Boston and now residing in the Metro Detroit area, Mick has spent several years photographing concerts and interviewing musicians in the music industry. After spending a few years shooting and writing for, he founded and started the National Rock Review in the fall of 2013. Recruiting staffers from around the world, he has led the National Rock Review team in to a respected and established publication in the online music news/press industry in a short period of time.

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