Rocklahoma established May in Oklahoma as a significant world center of rock music five years ago. Each year grows that reputation of a high quality unique music festival as thousands descending this year upon the tiny town of Pryor, just up the road from Tulsa. Cars, trucks and RV’s packed the campgrounds days before the show, some came as early as May 22 when the grounds opened to camping passes. Local hotels filled. Many camped with the general admission crew. Some lived it up in style in the VIP area. Events on stage and off are something no rock fan should miss.
Rocklahoma photo gallery.
Eddie Trunk served as the host and master of ceremonies. Yes, none other than Sirius XM Boneyard DJ, VH1 Star (That Metal Show), and published author Eddie Trunk. Appearing on the main stage before every major act, Trunk connects with the audience in a way only an experienced metal head can. Whether it be crowning Miss Rocklahoma 2011, putting on his auctioneer hat to sell a fully signed guitar from Whitesnake or just providing the spark to ignite the crowd for an upcoming act, Eddie was perfect hosting this festival.
Taddy Porter photo gallery.
ROK as it came to be known is outside the town, five miles from Pryor. The festival grounds were laid out like an outdoor fair with concessions offering corndogs, hotdogs, and other fried food on each side of the sprawling outdoor site. Vendors scattered throughout also offered everything from t-shirts to bandana’s. This year three different stages presented music from over fifty bands to whet any musical palate. Many a favorite song was sung on the way back to camp.
Drowning Pool photo gallery.
While it didn’t it lessen the basic experience, those who opted for the VIP tickets were spared no expense. This year’s VIP ticket-holders were granted unparalleled access to the shows main stage via reserved seating, a private elevated viewing deck, catered food, and all you could drink alcohol, water, and carbonated beverages. The other enticing bonus was air conditioning as the heat index soared to well over a hundred degrees.
Sebastian Bach photo gallery.
One of the main sponsors, Hard Rock Cafe, partnered with Rocklahoma to offer a new VIP package dubbed the “Rockstar” package which sold-out the first day it went on sale. The package allowed guests to party the day away and get shuttled back to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at night along with various other perks such as access to the bands that stayed at the resort over the weekend. Headliner’s Vince Neil of Motley Crue and Sebastian Bach were just some of the many artists that chose Hard Rock as their home away from home.
Staind photo gallery.
Overall the festival was a success for young and old to see up-and-coming artists and long legendary bands. The camping experience was also something everyone seemed to enjoy. People met people and friendships were founded on musical appreciation. It was simple welcome walk from campsite to campsite – good people having fun and all had stories.
While Rocklahoma is no longer an upstart, but a proven festival that draws such large crowds, scoring major artists year after year. Yes if you rock them, they will come.
All photos by: Kevin Pyle