In 2012, Five Finger Death Punch closed out their American Capitalist touring cycle by headlining their own tour. Trespass America had a pretty strong lineup, with Killswitch Engage playing their first tour with Jesse Leach back in the fold, Trivium, Emmure, God Forbid, Pop Evil and Battlecross also played. After taking the year off, presumably due to FFDP working on two albums and headlining the Mayhem Fest, it looks like the tour might be back on in 2014. “How about if we add some different stuff?” a post on the tour’s Facebook page said. “Something like Volbeat or The Prodigy or Tech N9ne? Yey – Ney?” With that in mind, Headbanger’s Brawl returns to discuss the merits of The Trespass America fest.
Bram: I think there are a few questions to ask at the outset of this. Mainly, a) is it a good idea to resurrect the festival? and b) how diverse should they go? It’s a little odd for a touring festival to go for just one year before taking off for another. It doesn’t exactly make it a franchise if they’re taking every other year off. It’s understandable why Five Finger Death Punch had to skip last year, but Ozzfest happened without Ozzy (granted, Black Sabbath played, so he was still kind of on board). It wouldn’t have been out of the realm of impossibility to have booked another Trespass Fest last year and have the band triumphantly return to their own fest next year. I guess getting asked to headline Mayhem Fest isn’t something you turn down, and when you consider the band has been with the Fest since the start, they obviously have loyalty.
As far as the diversity thing, the first tour was somewhat diverse. Pop Evil are still a relatively new band, but appearing on Tresspass definitely helped their profile, and they were squarely more on the active rock side than anyone else on the tour. Battlecross were definitely up and comers last year as well. It’s hard to say whether diversity would help the tour in 2014. That said, Volbeat isn’t “different” at all. Like FFDP, they’re one of the few extremely successful active rock bands (aka, are able to sell over 200,000 copies of an album). Tech N9ne, for all of his collaborations with heavy bands, isn’t particularly that well-known of an entity, and seemingly would exist mainly to pop out and cover “Mama Said Knock You Out” with the band. And The Prodigy? What year is this?
Zach: In regards to question A, I’m hesitant to say that resurrecting the festival is the best plan of action. Let’s be honest, as great of a lineup as its first incarnation was, the tour wasn’t exactly successful at packing arenas. So unless you got an even bigger lineup or added outdoor activities (which didn’t exist during the first one), the only way it could make an effective comeback with FFDP headlining is if it focused on theaters instead of arenas which isn’t exactly a thrilling option for any promoter.
But is it too late for Trespass to receive a makeover? That’s my biggest qualm given its one year absence. At the end of the day, the festival just couldn’t compete against Mayhem Fest in 2012, mainly cause it has pretty much established itself as Ozzfest’s replacement and a festival worth going to no matter what its lineup is. That kind of establishment takes time and consistency, something Trespass has neither of and is hard to gain back.
As for a diverse lineup, while having FFDP and Volbeat on the bill isn’t the wildest of notions, it’s definitely one that would spark interest. Two of active hard rock’s top rising stars who also appeal to slightly different demographics on the same touring package? This would definitely sell tickets. Would it sell out arenas? Doubtful. Maybe if they added a few more big names, or even a few rappers with clout (who are bigger then Tech N9ne) and you might have something. Probably the best example for Trespass to follow would be the Projekt Revolution 2004 tour. You had your headliner Linkin Park along with a fellow big name rock act Korn, but then you also had the rapper with clout Snoop Dogg along with a (then) up-and-coming The Used to appeal to a few younger fans. Was it the greatest tour in rock history? No, but it did offer fans a variety and reason to buy a $45 ticket the same year they already shelled out money for Ozzfest.