PRYOR, Okla. – Northeastern Oklahoma’s Memorial day weekend party is finally underway. The sixth annual edition of Rocklahoma kicked off Friday evening before a sea of rock-n-roll fans on the Catch The Fever festival grounds. Yes, 28 bands took the stage on opening day and blasted serious quality rock music into the early morning hours. This is the best fest for music of this genre anywhere in the world – Rocklahoma; there is no substitute.
Sunset Riot opened up the Retrospect Records Stage, while Ragdoll, S.E.X. Department, Down N Dirty, Hessler, Pretty Little Suicide, Wildstreet, Lynam and Fist of Rage followed. Absence of Ink, For The Broken, Echo Fuzz and Shotgun Rebels played early afternoon sets at the Axis Camp Ground Stage for the fans staying in tents and RV’s.
The heart of the evening began when Beneath took to the Hard Rock Stage at 4:00 pm with Adelita’s Way following at 4:25 on the main stage. Janus, Cavo and Redlight King kept things rolling along as fans bounced between the Hard Rock and main stages for abbreviated sets.
As fans made the short walk back to the main stage, host Eddie Trunk introduced the final five contestants for Miss Rocklahoma 2012, which went to Miami, Oklahoma’s Sara.
Chevelle then took over the stage, rocking hard and loud, drawing the approval of the fans as the crowd continued to grow in size. The trio from Chicago worked the stage well, solidifying their placement on the main stage. Taking a break after the second song, singer Pete Loeffler greeted the crowd, simply saying “thank you, you’re too kind.” He then abruptly grabbed a water bottle and showered fans in the pit before continuing.
As the festival continued to run like clock work, Nashville’s Red took over the Hard Rock Stage and powered through their set. Front-man Michael Barnes was a presence to be seen as he worked the crowd throughout their performance.
A quick walk back to the main stage and fans were greeted by ex Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash. Fronted by Alter Bridge singer Myles Kennedy, Slash’s group shredded into the night. Slash did not disappoint as he flawlessly bent the strings while Kennedy displayed the range necessary to blow through old GNR favorites, Velvet Revolver tunes and some material from Slash’s solo album. As their set drew to a close mid-way through “Paradise City,” giant cannons placed at each side of the stage covered the audience in confetti.
San Diego Christian Metal band P.O.D. followed with a fantastic show on the Hard Rock Stage. Opening with their hit “Boom,” lead singer Sonny Sandoval got the crowd into the act. Mid-way through their opening number, Sandoval made his way from the stage and onto the barricade to get up close and personal with the fans. Later on he invited about a half dozen kids onto the stage, letting them get some mic time during “Youth of a Nation.”
Closing out the night on the main stage was Florida’s Creed. The group took several by surprise, jumping out early with some heavy numbers. Opening with “Are You Ready?” front-man Scott Stapp immediately worked up a sweat, belting out solid vocals to match the tight guitar playing of Mark Tremonti. They followed with “What If” and “Bullets” as they ran through their set, to the delight of the sea of faces in the crowd.
Rocklahoma Day 1 Photo Slide Show!
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Day two of Rocklahoma promises to be one of the best nights of the festival. Rob Zombie will headline while Megadeth, Theory of a Deadman, 10 Years and Pop Evil will provide support on the main stage. Anti-Mortem, New Medicine, Trivium, The Darkness, Volbeat and Otherwise will play the Hard Rock Stage. Set times and tickets are still available at www.rocklahoma.com.