Sixth annual Rocklahoma brings the heavy metal to Memorial Day weekend

It's a metal Memorial Day weekend in Oklahoma with the sixth annual Rocklahoma festival in Pryor.
BY GENE TRIPLETT etriplett@opubco.com Published: May 25, 2012
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A Memorial Day weekend of merrily menacing heavy metal madness awaits all headbanging fans descending on the “Catch the Fever” festival grounds north of Pryor for the sixth annual three-day blowout/campout known as Rocklahoma.

Not all acts are strictly metal this year, what with mainstream band Creed topping Friday's roster. But with Rob Zombie, Megadeth and Theory of a Deadman leading Saturday's charge, and Chickenfoot, Queensryche and Jackyl dominating Sunday's schedule, the package is definitely top-heavy with bands that can bruise.

And that must be a good thing, since organizers are expecting attendance to top 35,000 a day, which was the total 2011 crowd count.

“One of the things I really admire about Rocklahoma is that we here in America finally have a premiere rock festival again,” said David Ellefson, bassist, backing vocalist and co-founder of Los Angeles thrash-metal veterans Megadeth.

“When I was growing up in Minnesota in a rural area, and I remember there were all these festivals — Iowa Jam, Texxas Jam, California Jam. America had real rock 'n' roll festivals, you know, multiple days, big events, and all the biggest bands would go play 'em. And then by the time we got into the '80s, and certainly by the '90s, those were gone.”

Ellefson, who returned to the studio in 2011 to record “Th1rt3en,” his first album with Megadeth in a decade, said European countries have always known how to stage great rock festivals.

“Every festival they did, the one in Switzerland is different from Germany, and that one's different from Belgium and the one they do in England,” he said. “It really became their namesakes, and it was really a statement about their cultures ... something unique to themselves.

“So it's nice now with Rocklahoma in a large way, because now there are other ones like Rock on the Range and Rock on the Bayou. But really, Rocklahoma was the original one that stirred the waters and created this iconic festival again here in America. So I'm really proud that Megadeth is gonna be part of that this year.”

Ellefson's previous experience with Rocklahoma was as a counselor at the festival's 2008 “Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp,” in which aspiring young musicians got coached by pros and then performed in front of the festival audience.

“I remember we had done our thing, went back to the hotel and one of the stages collapsed,” Ellefson said. “I think there was a microburst that came through. Fortunately, no one was on the stage, no one got hurt, but yeah, it was pretty tricky.”

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IF YOU GO

Rocklahoma

Starring: More than 70 acts including Rob Zombie, Chickenfoot, Creed, Megadeth, Slash, Queensryche, Chevelle, Jackyl, Theory of a Deadman, Hellyeah and Puddle of Mudd.

When: From noon to after midnight Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Where: Catch the Fever Festival and Campgrounds, 1421 W 450 Road, Pryor.

Tickets: Full weekend general admission $185 plus service fees; VIP reserved tickets $400 plus fees; single-day tickets $70 Friday, $80 Saturday, $70 Sunday.

Camping tickets: (866) 310-2288 or email info@feverfest.com.

Schedules and band lists: www.rocklahoma.com.

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