Rock USA fires up in Oshkosh

With the success of one of the most attractive music festivals in the midwest, the organizers and sponsors of Country USA set out to attract an even more diverse fan-base with the introduction of Rock USA. The first, presumably annual, Rock USA featured an extremely sought after line up and attracted crowds that could quite possibly rival Country USA in future years.

With the plan already in place from Country USA, Rock USA was a breeze to organize. The usual activities like camping, drinking, and eating deep fried Wisconsin anything made Rock USA feel like home to any attendee from the surrounding areas.

The first year’s lineup tended to attract more of a middle aged crowed as many of the headliners are known for their music and performances in the 70’s and 80’s. There were, though, a handful of modern rock bands like Hollywood Undead, Korn, Buckcherry, and Daughtry.

The attendance looked great for a first year festival. Usually inaugural festivals don’t gain enough publicity in time for a huge attraction, but Rock USA somehow got their numbers up. It could be the result of their $129 weekend pass ticket deal, or just the attraction to the superstar headliners Daughtry, Journey, and KISS.

If you were in VIP, you stole a great show for such a low cost. Literally, the VIP section stole the entire show, for every act, all weekend. In other words the VIP section ruined the entire festival. No band should have to get binoculars to see their most loyal fans, but that’s exactly what Johnny 3 Tears of Hollywood Undead had to do to get up close to his most energetic fans.

The reason the VIPs stole the show was the fact that the entire VIP section was the entire first 100 yards in front of the stage. Beyond that, general admission. But there was nothing general about the genuine fans and energy that existed beyond the second barrier. And to add to the annoyingly large VIP catastrophe, the VIP area wasn’t near 3/4 of the way full.

“We’ve never played for so many chairs,” claimed Hollywood Undead.

Having to lift their own spirits, Hollywood Undead still played for their greatest fans even though they were some 75 yards away.

Shouldn’t a rock concert be full of energetic fans jumping, screaming, and chanting to their favorite songs without be ushered away by an unnecessary amount of security? Rock USA security wouldn’t even let fans go up to the barriers of the stage for more than a few minutes, and that by the way was only for the VIP fans. Sorry general admission, your $129 ticket is only good for 75 yards back. And to add to the chaos, even “photographers” with disposable cameras were credentialed for photos in front of the barrier.

Besides performing for an amazing crowd that was mostly 75 yards away Rock USA was a huge success especially with KISS as the closing headliner.

KISS, being as experienced as they are, easily put on the best show featuring their signature pyrotechnics and world recognized costumes. Confetti filled the air for the closing song “I Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll All Night” and sent Rock USA off til next year with a whirlwind of onstage fireworks and flames. Gene Simmons especially enjoyed the photographers and struck up a few poses from time to time that I was lucky enough to capture.

Next year will only get better with the need to compete with other rock festivals putting the organizers and sponsors to work and making us guess what will come next.

Hope to see you all next year at Rock USA!






Hollywood Undead

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