The idea of the biggest metal band in the world curating a festival is great and as someone with a huge interest in the great variety of metal acts around, I couldn’t help but be drawn in and contemplate about what sorts of acts they’d put on. Would it focus on the absolute legends of the scene? Up and coming acts? Those modern heroes who have defined the last couple of decades? Or a mix of all three?
And what did we get? Well, we got a main stage filled with indie and rock acts, peppered with only a handful of respected metal acts, and the majority of the best bands tucked away on a side stage, which is great, if you like that sort of thing… Call me cynical, but after nearly 20 years of disappointing long time fans with terrible albums (Death Magnetic notwithstanding) and lacklustre live performances, you have to wonder whether Metallica really care about the metal world or their original fanbase anymore. It sounds like the standard ‘metal elitist’ opinion, but when you’re in a position to make the careers and fulfill some dreams of lot of younger bands, you’d think that they’d keeping an ear to the ground and letting metal and heavy rock take the majority share of time.
But enough moaning. Enter Knotfest — the ‘festival’ put together and headlined by, well… Slipknot, obviously. Comprised of two dates with two different line ups, featuring sets from Deftones, Lamb Of God, Dethklok, Prong, Cannibal Corpse, Gojira and The Dillinger Escape Plan amongst others. Reading through that list is like a ‘who’s who’ of the most important metal bands around today and, while I would love to see a few smaller acts on the bill, Slipknot definitely have the right idea. There’s no real reason why your average Slipknot fan, who may not be hugely into metal (or at least not enough to know those acts), wouldn’t enjoy a band like Gojira or DEP and this is a great chance to expose a large section of them to it.
As with a lot of packages of this kind, it’s being marketed as ‘more than a music festival’, with gimmicks including carnival rides, drum circles and even graffiti walls (there is going to be so many dongs drawn on that thing). But the real weight here lies in the line up, which, despite being far more compact, looks far superior to the Orion line up and which could cause a lot of internal conflict for anyone that loves to hate Slipknot but still loves metal. So if you can get to either Iowa (August 17th) or Minnesota (August 18th), this sounds like a great opportunity and, if it wasn’t for the ocean in the way, I’d go. Might just have to wait and see if this tweet comes to fruition…