R.I.P. Rock on the Range


Danny Wimmer Presents, the company behind several of the large rock and metal festivals that have cropped up all over the U.S. in recent years, has announced that Rock on the Range, their flagship festival held in Columbus, OH each May, will cease to exist in 2019 after twelve years running. In its place will be the newly minted Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival held the same weekend, May 17-19, at the same location (MAPFRE Stadium).

The re-branding is the result of a split with the former event’s co-producer, AEG Live, and as such two other Wimmer festivals will also get a re-branding: Carolina Rebellion (new name TBD, May 3-5 in North Carolina), and Chicago Open Air, now called A Day In The Park (May 18-19 in Toyota Park).

Wimmer has cited a desire to expand each festival’s offerings to include better art installations and food and drink options as one motivating factor behind the changes. He also expressed a dedication to rock music, but fans are (rightly) questioning whether these festivals will remain devoted to heavy music or whether they’ll branch out in other directions.

Danny Wimmer commented in an interview at Loudwire:

“I feel like Rock on the Range has fallen short on delivering better art installations and better food and drink options. Rock on the Range is the biggest rock festival in America that has no bells and whistles. This show deserves to have better offerings.

“We’ve built this to 45,000 fans a day, they deserve to get the art and the secondary entertainment. They deserve the best food options. They deserve to have the stadium look different than it does for normal events. They deserve for this to not be just another stadium parking lot show.”

A bit more about those expanded offerings:

“You’ll see a press release on the hot restaurants in a 300-mile radius that we’re going to bring in. There will be better places to sit down and eat, we’re thinking about the whole experience, even the bathrooms. We’re cleaning the whole experience up.

“When Metallica play Lollapalooza, and then they come back and play Columbus, I don’t want them to think about all the other experiences they saw at the other festival. I want them to go, ‘Oh my god, this is the best experience, this is the best rock festival in America.’ And that’s my mission. And that is why I’m changing the name, and repositioning this.”

On the musical focus of the new festivals:

“Rock and roll has to grow. And the moves that we’re going to make are the moves that will move the genre forward. That’s why it is time now to reposition what this show is, for the future.

“I’m investing in every one of our festivals. Our shows have been growing year after year.”

The biggest question on the minds of ROTR attendees is the future musical direction, of which details so far are sparse — delicious food and craft beer are great, but for metal it all comes down to the bands — so we’ll all just need to wait and see how those lineups shape up. We’ll update you when we know more.

[via Ghost Cult Mag]

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