ROCKLAHOMA GETTING LIFE SUPPORT FROM AEG
Rocklahoma, the three day hair metal festival that’s taken place in – doy-hickey – Oklahoma the past few years, was really successful in its first two incarnations – so successful that there were rumors of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest headlining the 2008 edition of the fest. But this past summer’s third running of the show was an epic failure, with embarrassingly low attendance, despite a line-up that included Anthrax, the “they’re so hot right now!” Anvil, Overkill, Twisted Sister, Ratt, and Skid Row.
Now our pal Allyson at Bring Back Glam has posted a press release announcing that AEG live, “the world’s largest producer of music festivals,” has been put in charge of “revamping” the fest for the 2010 version.
I’m not going to re-post the entire press release here because most of it is pretty typical PR bullshit, but you can read it all here. In the meantime, here are some key excerpts:
As part of the multi-faceted deal, AEG Live will focus specialized attention on reworking and further developing ROCKLAHOMA in several key areas including talent booking, marketing, sponsorship, ticketing and festival operations. The entertainment company will work hand-in-hand with the current ROCKLAHOMA management team to grow and expand the festival to new levels of attendance and acclaim in the coming years.
The first major changes come with this announcement that ROCKLAHOMA will be a three-day festival in 2010, and it is moving from its past mid-summer dates to May 28-30, 2010, Memorial Day Weekend.
This last bit, about moving the show to May, strikes me as good idea, as apparently the stifling heat was a major factor in the 2009 fest’s failure. (I’ve never been to Oklahoma, but I’m assuming it’s cooler in May – someone correct me if I’m wrong.) But the first part is so non-specific that you almost wonder what the fucking point of the release is.
Does the festival really need help with booking? It seems like plenty of bands were willing to participate, and I wonder if that’s not code for “no more hair metal bands.” (One comment on BBG bemoans that this will be “the end of Rocklahoma.”) And I don’t know if that’s a good idea or a bad idea; maybe more modern acts will ensure a bigger crowd, or maybe they’ll alienate the demographic that made previous incarnations of Rocklahoma so successful. But having a bunch of thrash bands play one day this year didn’t seem to do much for ticket sales – then again, maybe no one cares about Saxon any more in 2009 than they care about whatever version of L.A. Guns showed up.
I guess there really isn’t much to do here but wait and see what happens. Even if you hate the kinds of bands that traditionally play Rocklahoma, I’d argue that this festival’s ongoing success would be a positive thing, in terms of getting America to catch up with Europe for multi-day mega metal gigs.