The festival names ‘Ozzfest’ and ‘Knotfest’ can only spark one thought … a solid day of non-stop metal. But this year, the unthinkable became reality the weekend of September 24th. The two-day festival combined the summer’s most iconic metal attraction of Ozzfest with the third ever present installation of Knotfest at the San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino, California. It was the rise of Ozzfest Meets Knotfest. Each day, over 85,000 fans took on the blistering sun for hours as they occupied themselves in front of four stages, witnessing pure metal in its rawest form. Mosh pits scorched kicked up the dust throughout the weekend and crowd surfers traversed the sea of people basking in what quickly became an unforgettable experience.
After a huge six-year hiatus, Ozzfest returned to Southern California taking on Saturday with relentless force. Headlined by Black Sabbath, the godfathers of heavy metal, making what appeared to be one of their final performances as they continued their world tour ‘The End.’ Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler performed alongside drummer Tommy Clufetos, delivering a near two-hour set list. Osbourne revealed early on about feeling slightly under the weather, but that didn’t seem to stop the 67 year old all that much, as he traveled across the stage throughout the night’s set. Fans participated during each song as Osbourne screeched “I Can’t Fucking Hear You,” which ignited a frenzy of loud screams from the over packed venue. Preceding the pioneers of metal was a stellar performance by Disturbed. Megadeth made their American Ozzfest debut while Swedish rockers Opeth added their progressive death metal to the festival. Celebrating twenty years of success, Saturday’s one-day collaboration featured seventeen acts including Suicidal Tendencies, Hatebreed, Devil Driver, Municipal Waste, Goatwhore, Allegaeon, Huntress, Brujeria, Kataklysm, The Shrine, and Still Rebel. The main stage was named ‘The Lemmy Stage’ in honor of Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. Black Label Society made their seventh Ozzfest appearance, tying the record for most appearances outside of Ozzy Osbourne. Opening the Lemmy Stage was Rival Sons who have been taking a warming slot for Sabbath on their final tour.
Knotfest continued the mayhem on Sunday, with 19 bands battling in triple digit weather across three stages. Headlined by Slipknot, the nine-piece group performed their sophomore album ‘Iowa’ in its entirety for the first time. Celebrating the fifteenth year release of their multi platinum-winning album, they took the stage wearing red jumpsuits, honoring the costumes worn during that period. Corey Taylor informed the audience they were part of history, making Ozzfest and Knotfest the biggest metal festival in North American history. Taylor thanked everyone present for supporting the genre and giving bands an opportunity to exist and be heard on a massive scale. Their set list featured the live debut of ‘The Shape’ and ‘Iowa’ performed fully. Although experiencing technical difficulties early on, The Lemmy Stage began with the metal core group Motionless in White. Trivium continued the onslaught of aggression while Anthrax continued its thrash attack as the sun went down. Swedish melodic death metal group Amon Amarth played an aggressive set list while Slayer incorporated fire and pyrotechnics throughout their show. Sabaton, Overkill, Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, Emmure, Combichrist, Butcher Babies, Man With A Mission, Canifex, Loathe, Sim, ONI, and Westfield Massacre hammered the second, third, and fourth stages for the first five hours of the day.
With over twenty-four hours of unforgiving live music, Ozzfest Meets Knotfest proved to be the heaviest festivals that North America had to offer 2016. People from all over the world attended to witness history in the making. Experiencing Black Sabbath’s final appearance in California with Slipknot’s ‘Iowa’ album performance as closing acts made each night a unique experience. Culminating fan bases through multiple genres definitely solidify the need for large metal festivals as attendances continue to grow annually with no sign of fatigue. Rock on \m/ !
Ozzfest – Saturday, September 24
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY
Monster Energy Drink Stage1
Monster Energy Drink Stage2
Nuclear Blast Stage
Knotfest – Sunday, September 25
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE
Rockstar Energy Drink Stage1
Rockstar Energy Drink Stage2
MAN WITH A MISSION
Nuclear Blast Stage