Downtown Abbey: What I loved and loathed about Rock on the Range

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There are few things in Columbus as polarizing as Rock on the Range. The line in the sand is pretty clear: To some it’s the best reason to blow an entire month’s pay on over-priced beer and merch, and for others it’s the best reason to lock your doors and avoid North Campus at all costs. Admittedly, I was the latter; that is, until I actually went. Here is my assessment of the best and worst parts of the best worst festival in Columbus.


All the lady rockers! Historically Rock on the Range and metal in general has been a boys club, but this year’s lineup proved that’s changing. Women have always been in rock (I heard Joan Jett slayed at The Who concert), but they are still largely under represented. Not only were there a slew of great bands with female members at ROTR (In This Moment, Halestorm, Baby Metal, Dorothy, etc.), there were more women in the media tent conducting interviews and totally owning ROTR. As the Blitz’s J.H. Nuber put it: “In metal, if you can bring it, we’ll accept you.”

Glenn Tipton rocking a Judas Priest hat during their performance. It’s long been a faux pas to wear the shirt of the band you’re seeing to the show (this means you, Slipknot fans), but the rules don’t apply to Judas Priest; Rob Halford proved that when he trademarked the phrase “Metal God”.

Everyone still loves Ozzy.There is always one hype song right before a headliner that is louder than the other songs played during sound check — it’s normally Ozzy. Why? Because Ozzy is the Hot Chicken Takeover of metal.

Seeing people you know and exchanging silent vows never to mention you saw each other. We all have guilty pleasures, and taking the silent oath to never out each other for being in the pit at Godsmack is the greatest bond of all.

Crowd surfers in wheel chairs. You might have some assumptions about people who attend ROTR, and some of those assumptions might be right. However, it’s sincerely amazing how inclusive the metal scene can be. For concert-goers with disabilities, getting the full experience isn’t always an option, but ROTR says eff that. Several people in wheelchairs surfed the crowd all the way to the front, and the masses of people under them were happy to oblige. Inclusion is cool, y’all.


White Power tattoos. Rock on the Range promoters can’t help who buys a ticket, but going shirtless when you have an abnormally large Swastika tattoo sucks.

Gropingdudes. You’re sweaty and weird! Step the hell off, buddy.

Marilyn Manson. The antichrist superstar totally phoned it in at the Friday night performance, relying heavily on his bandmates to pick up the slack. Manson on a good night is hard to beat, but Manson on a bad night is borderline painful.


People banging on the Ferris Wheel. On one hand I am an advocate for safety, and I doubt the guy operating the Ferris Wheel gets paid enough to clean up body fluids. However, doing the nasty on an actively moving carnival ride deserves a nod for both creativity and logistics.

People in costumes. I don’t get the correlation between metal and creepily life-like horse masks. But I don’t hate it?

Photo credit: Amuse Inc.