On Friday, May 17, 2019, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival kicked off its Inaugural weekend at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus Ohio. This festival isn't completely new. You may remember at least hearing about Rock on the Range, or maybe you were one of the lucky ducks who attended in the past. Sonic Temple is the newly renovated offspring of Rock on the Range, both being products of Danny Wimmer Presents, who puts on numerous festivals all across America.
I had the tremendous pleasure of being a part of Sonic Temple’s pioneer show. Upon entering the festival common area, I was smacked in the face with the smells of the unique food that was offered from the many different vendors. Of course, there was the quintessential assortment of pizzas (gourmet also) and beer, but so much more! There were vendors peddling everything from the standard band merch, to vaping products, cigars, whiskey, and even some charitable vendors whose proceeds were going to cancer research and helping battered women and families locally in Ohio. As I walked deeper into the grounds, there was a small tent dedicated specifically to some very unique Ohio art. While wandering further, there were what resembled giant totems with graffiti, and some with more willful designs. From the little art that I did see, I was pleasantly surprised, and hope to see even more next year. Additionally, while I did not partake this year, for those interested there is onsite camping that can truly make this a non-stop weekend party.
To be its’ first year, Sonic Temple seemed to hit the ground running with musical acts. Friday gave us some greats, many of which I have not had the chance to see before like System of a Down, Ghost, Avatar, Bad Wolves, and Badflower. Saturday showed us just how much Fever 333, Gojira, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and In This Moment can really go hard before closing with a badass show from Disturbed. In particular I was enthralled with In This Moment. Even though I took the drive down to Louisville a few weeks earlier to catch them, their incredible theatrical set at Sonic Temple felt every bit as fresh yet every bit as good what they delivered in Kentucky.
By the end of Disturbed set Saturday night, I was so beaten down from the heat and sun all weekend, but I have never been one to give up, and I certainly wasn’t about to miss out on the goodness Sonic Temple still had to offer. Bring on Sunday! The Glorious Sons were quite surprising. The Struts put on a great show, and I was psyched to see one of my lifelong idols, Joan Jett play with The Blackhearts. While a few of the bands didn’t get to play due to issues caused by inclement weather, it did clear up just in time for the Foo Fighters to close with their incredible two hour set but for more on that, keep on reading.
Foo Fighters took to a windy stage at 9 pm as promised. They opened with “All My Life” and segued through many of the albums in no particular order. Pauly Shore was on stage for a small portion of the show, as he was a guest for the Spoken Word/Comedy portion of the festival. The band dedicated a slowed down version of “My Hero” to Shore, as his elderly father, Sammy Shore had passed away the day before. In the early darkness of the night, you could see the crowd swaying in empathy, as everyone sang along. Picking up the high energy again at the end of “My Hero”, the Foo Fighters show that they aren't just a bunch of rock dudes who play music, they also have a collectively huge heart, and are experts at engaging with their crowd and keeping the energy going.
After the band member introductions, the crowd was spoiled to have Luke Spiller from The Struts join the Foo’s drummer Taylor Hawkins to gift us all their unique and fun cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure”. As if that didn't get the stadium amped enough, they went right into “Monkey Wrench”, “Run”, “Best of You”, before closing the night with the classic “Everlong”. This band does not do half-assed. The entire set (sans the tribute for Pauly) was very high energy, and absolutely unforgettable! Foo Fighters rocked our faces off for two hours straight. It was nothing short of totally awesome!
Overall, Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival was a damn good time. I expect to see each and every one of you at Sonic Temple next year, and don’t be strangers! – Jen Lohman | Photos Sean McCloskey