Finally, The U.S. Gets a True Open Air Metal Festival: Full Terror Assault


Full Terror AssaultA true, open air metal festival has become something of a holy grail in the U.S. metal scene. While the grand, European festivals are the stuff of legends — Wacken, Hellfest, Download, and dozens of smaller festivals all over the continent all summer long — the U.S. has nothing of the sort. Sure, we have Mayhem (and we had Ozzfest), but a one-day festival in some exurban parking lot / band shed is a completely different experience than living and breathing the festival experience for 3 straight days, with tens of thousands of your metal brethren all camped out together in the sprawling landscape of the countryside. New England Metal and Hardcore Fest and Maryland Deathfest are both great, but again, completely different experiences. Same for Heavy Montreal which, despite being the closest — and always having an incredible lineup — is not an open air fest.

The biggest reason we don’t have open air festivals in the U.S., in my opinion, is infrastructure. While European train systems go friggin’ everywhere and country-to-country jet travel is very affordable via budget regional airlines, the U.S. has neither of those things. In most of this country, a site suitable for such a festival is just too damn difficult to get to for anyone who lives more than a few hours away by car.

But someone’s finally giving it a go, and they’ve taken a cue from the most unlikely of people: the Juggalos.

Full Terror Assault will take place on September 10th, 11th and 12th at Cave-in-Rock, Illinois, which hosted The Gathering of Juggalos from 2007 through 2013. The fest promises 75 bands on 3 stages spread across 3 days, with on-site camping, amenities and vendors. In other words, a true open air festival.

Cave-in-Rock is perfectly placed to exploit an infrastructure loophole, too: it’s within a 4-hour drive of Cincinnati, Dayton, Lexington, Louisville, Evansville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Nashville and Memphis. Anyone wanting to fly in from the coasts will probably have to pony up between $300 and $400 for a round-trip airline ticket plus a couple hundred bucks on a car rental (no trains go to Cave-in-Rock), but even without anyone traveling a long distance Full Terror Assault casts a fairly wide regional net. I’ve always thought New York’s Hudson Valley would be a fantastic locale for an open air fest (think: Woodstock), but the Midwest has its appeal too.

The lineup is shaping up nicely so far: Fear Factory, Terrorizer, Misery Index, Broken Hope, Fulgora and Murder Construct head up the top of the bill with plenty of other names both known and unknown below them and the promise of more to be announced soon. Is this a lineup that’s going to attract tens of thousands? No, but it’s a helluva start, especially for a festival’s very first year. If the inaugural edition does well, I’m sure next year’s lineup will boast even bigger bands.

Tickets for the entire weekend are just $99, which is already an incredible deal ($33 per day!! or $1.33 per band!!), but if you team up with three friends you can get that price down to $75 per ticket with a $200 combo pack. Plus the event is BYOB, meaning you won’t be spending money on insanely overpriced drinks. You can even bring a trailer or RV if you want instead of roughing it in a tent. How badass is that???

Tickets are on sale now here. Get on it and help make Full Terror Assault’s first year a success so we can have more of these in the future. The demand is there, I know it.

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