The Metal Insider crew couldn’t make it out to this past weekend’s inaugural Knotfest because we’re on the East Coast. That didn’t stop contributor and KSYM/San Antonio metal director Chelsea Ann Owen from making the 15 hour plus journey to Pacific Junction IA to see the first night of the Fest. Here’s her report:

I made the journey from San Antonio, Texas out to the Mid-America Motorplex (AKA a racetrack next to a cornfield) in Pacific Junction, Iowa just to see Knotfest & I can honestly say it’s the best money I’ve spent in a LONG time – possibly ever! I was fortunate enough to hit up the first day of the inaugural Knotfest – the rock and metal music fest hosted by none other than Iowa-natives themselves: Slipknot!

There were quite a few things to look forward to with Knotfest. I personally am a huge Deftones fan, but knew that missing the entire line-up would be a regret I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. I have had an immense love for Machine Head for quite some time now as well and couldn’t wait to hear “Halo” or “Be Still & Know” – actually, anything off The Blackening would be perfect! I was stoked that Randy Blythe would be back and in full force, hitting the stage again in what was his first performance with Lamb of God after being released on bail from jail in the Czech Republic.

I set some high expectations and Knotfest, and it met and exceeded them. I wish The Iowa date could have also seen the likes of Gojira, Dethklok, Dillinger Escape Plan & Cannibal Corpse – but it was an absolutely SICK line-up in Iowa too! I have tried to pick a favorite part, but found it quite impossible to do. This festival was nothing short of amazing and the tributes that these musicians made to the late Slipknot bassist Paul Gray, left me feeling like I knew the man myself.

Some of my favorite highlights from Knotfest include:

  • Machine Head bringing it so heavy that they knocked out power half-way through “Halo”. The power struck out pretty intensely – to the point that it delayed not only Lamb of God’s performance, but Slipknot’s as a result.
  • Randy Blythe’s short but sweet words of appreciation to be back home in the United States, which included one of my favorite quotes of the night where he talked about how he’d ‘never been happier to be in a cornfield in Iowa’. Video of Blythe speaking prior to his first performance with Lamb of God since his return to the United States after being released on bail from the Czech Republic pending manslaughter charges can be seen above.
  • Serj Tankian joining Deftones on-stage for “Root” (System Of A Down welcomed Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno to the stage for “Suite-Pee” two nights prior when they played together in Chicago, Illinois at the Allstate Arena)
  • Tributes and kind words for Paul Gray, the last bassist of Slipknot, whose family was also at Knotfest. Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor made sure to address Gray’s family and jam out in tribute to Paul. I don’t know about you, but a crowd of thousands of people head-banging and moshing in Slipknot’s home state at a music festival makes me pretty sure that Paul would have not been disappointed.
  • The twisted carnival theme was not overkill but was ever-present. The Carnival of Terror was a pretty good idea – bringing carnival rides to a rock/metal music fest? Yes, please. The scary-ass twisted carnival demons walking around throughout the festival alongside the fire throwing was also a nice touch.
  • The line-up itself was diverse enough to draw crowds from several different backgrounds: hell, it brought me all the way from San Antonio, Texas. The lineup for the Iowa date included Dirtfedd, The Urge, Prong, Machine Head, Deftones, Lamb of God, Serj Tankian and Slipknot.

With thousands coming out to Knotfest and showing their support for some of the today’s most recognized names in rock and metal, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Knotfest 2013 announcements coming soon!