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The Problem with Rocklahoma...

More on Rocklahoma today. The festival this year was basically a let down – I was very vocal from the start about the weak lineup. I knew attendance would be light – still it was weird actually experiencing a half empty rock fest.

Did I have fun? Yes.

Did I enjoy seeing my friends? You betcha.

Do I feel like an abused consumer? Yes.

I spent $450 on my VIP ticket (including fees). This isn’t counting money on airfare, a car, a hotel and extras. Rocklahoma started giving away buy one, get one reserved seats a few weeks ago – then promoters allowed upgrades at the gate. These upgrades were cheaper than my ticket – and often the people got better seats!

Last night on Eddie Trunk Live, Eddie Trunk broke down all of Rocklahoma’s problems. He didn’t say anything I haven’t said over the past 10 months – but now maybe someone in control will listen.

The attendance issue, according to Eddie, is because of billing. No kidding. Eddie and I both agree Stryper does not a Saturday headliner make. In the same vein, Anthrax isn’t a headliner either.

Eddie kept using the number 5,000 to describe attendance. I would imagine he has access to the true attendance figures, so if 5,000 is the official tally, that’s really sad.

Like me – and ANYONE that attended Rocklahoma over the weekend – Eddie thinks the fest needs moved from July. It’s simply too damn hot. It’s miserable, the bands get sick and no one wants to sit on a hard bench when it is 115 degrees at 2 in the afternoon. I don’t know if moving the festival to May or September would work, but at this point, I’d say it’s worth a shot.

Midway through the weekend, Eddie announced a VIP renewal special for $250. This is obviously a major discount. There are conflicting reports that the event will be four days next year – some people say they heard three. The people working in the VIP tent said people could only get the $250 rate on-site, but the Rocklahoma Twitter is advertising the special now – so what is the motivation in giving the festival money so far in advance? There is none.

I’m pleased Eddie was so brutally honest on his show. He talked about agents taking advantage of the Rocklahoma promoters, overcharging and grandstanding about the quality of bands. Someone apparently gave the person with the pocket book some bad information. Eddie implied he offered advice on the lineup for this year, but no one seemed to pay attention.  Maybe someone with the checkbook will listen to Eddie for 2010. At least he understands the difference between a headline act and a main stage opener.

Finally – there was no official program book this year. Instead, volunteers were passing out a newspaper type program. The thing was filled with errors, including saying Jani Lane is the current lead singer of Warrant and this Rocklahoma performance would be their first time together in a long time. Problem is, Robert Mason is the lead singer of Warrant – and Warrant with Jani Lane played Rocklahoma last year! There were plenty of snide comments mocking the Glam bands, calling Helix old, using a picture of RATT with Robbin Crosby and mentioning the addition of John Corabi “...from Motley Crue.”

As a Glam supporter, I don't want Rocklahoma to die. I also don't want to be ripped off and watch a bunch of bar bands play for 200 people when they were promised 10,000. I can't imagine what it feels like to be on stage and look into an empty crowd. I assume it's one of the worst feelings in the world.

I promised more photos and they are coming - life is chaos - but thank you for reading as always. Hopefully I'll have the snaps up ASAP!

Reader Comments (29)

At $250 for next year - Rocklahoma LISTENED. The bitching needs to stop. And putting the same bands on year after year is NOT the answer. Rocklahoma is still the best rock fest in the USA. I do think it should be moved to another month.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersomeone
Hey Glam Mistress, you're right on. Myself, I have almost 30 years experience in rock -- mostly as a columnist/editor but also as a manager, promoter, producer, etc. -- and I said from the beginning there was no way Stryper could headline a festival without it being a financial disaster (or something to that effect), and a Stryper fan or two tried to bite my head off on this very forum. Well, we saw what happened. I'm not proud of it -- it's just common sense. An act that can barely headline House of Blues can't draw 10,000 people even for free -- that's just the way it is. This festival needed an Alice Cooper, a Motley Crue, a Def Leppard, even a Cinderella.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergerry g
my god. everyone is so miserable.
who cares if a band is "headliner material"?
if you go there planning to have a bad time, guess what you have?

this page is ridiculous. i am tired of listening to everyone's dramatic opinions about how everything is horrible.

i saw bands i thought i would never see, and they played great. sorry you don't appreciate all but 3 bands the whole weekend. wahh motley and poison didn't play. dig deeper into this genre before you open your mouth.

you knew the lineup, you saw the weather forecast, you have been there before. you had a chance to pull out. so suck it up and appreciate what happened the past 4 days. and don't go next year.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbreniisexxshock
I totally agree with you, the days need to be lowered and a different time of the year would be amazing, the heat was beyond ridiculous!! btw good seeing you there Allyson
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlajustice77
Thank you Allyson.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDamnp78
I assume the people who think we should accept ANY band and not bitch, didn't spent thousands to be there, or just have money to burn. 5000 is WAY generous, I would not say they hit 3500 at any point over the weekend. VIP was definitely never more than half full.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
You people saying you are tired of hearing people complaining about ROK need a reality check! Allyson, Christian and the other 3,000 people that were there mostly bought tickets prior to the lineup being announced and were once again sold on "Bigger and Better"...well they got neither and the weather IS an issue...last year horrible storms and this year excessive heat...move the damn thing to May and you at least get rid of the excessive heat factor. As for the lineup, whoever is booking bands is doing a terrible job because they are either getting ripped off by the bands or they have no idea how to negotiate contracts...regardless the problem the past two years has been lack of true Headliners. As someone posted earlier you need bands like Leppard, Crue, Poison, Priest, Whitesnake, Cinderella...not Stryper, Queensryche, Anthrax, Warrant, Ratt...We had a group of five coming all the way from Baltimore for the first two years of ROK...each spent well over a Grand each year and decided enough was enough this year when the lineup was announced. Not worth the money, especially when one day festivals like M3 are right in our back yard!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
Well, Sam, they seem to be making $250 permanent, which is something. But, given that VIP was about half full, filling it for $250 is more money than $450 for half sold. And we don't even know how many of those people got in free.

I agree that the same bands is not the answer. More and more obscure bands to make sure they are not the same, is also not the answer. Some repeats are inevitable. So long as the headliner changes and gets better each year, the rest of the lineup would not greatly affect sales IMO and would leave room for you to bring in your pet bands like Bonfire.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
Bands like Stryper & Anthrax were barely headliners when they were at their most popular 20+ years ago. Why anyone thought they could draw a headliner-type crowd in 2009 is beyond me.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
Rocklahoma definitely needs a change. Especially with competition now (RE: Rock Gone Wild), fans are going to be very selective about which festivals they choose to attend. That may have been part of the reason for the poor turnout at ROK09, but we won't know until August.

I for one thought the price was too high for the bands that were playing.

July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRyoVie
Great review, loved the tweets by the way, we followed them all week. They are going to have to do something next year because with those attendance numbers there is no way it can survive.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJB
"It's all about the party!" Lets look into that for a second. Feverfest uses that phrase so much they should trademark it. I see it as a cop-out so when they produce the crappy lineups they can always say... yep, you guessed it, "It's all about the party!" Who cares if you actually like music and have a preference of who you want to watch!! Just get drunk and have a good time! I went to the first Rocklahoma to see the bands. The past 2 years I went because I like to get silly drunk, admire chicks, or make fun of people. Wrong reasons for going to a music fest?? You betcha. However, if they won't provide the good music I have to improvise.
Anyway, this year the party was not that great either. The crowds were slim, it was incredibly hot and I was not easily entertained. I am thinking they need to come up with something else rather than "It's all about the party!" because it isnt. The first time I heard the number 5000 attendance was as a pre-ROK prediction and I thought surely that would be way off. Now that it's over and I was there I seriously think that number would be a reach for any given day. And get this-anytime the promoters/management inflate the numbers it just looks bad on their part because we know they have no qualms about telling flat-out lies.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIrv
I agree that the line up was a joke (Saturday), out of all of the acts I saw only one produced a show worth sitting in that heat and it was the band that always brings it to the table where ever we play, and still we upstage any act no matter what position in the flow of the festival, I think we all know who I'm talking about, if you want to put bodies in the seats give them something for their dollar, not some lame ass over the hill bunch of "take the money and run" bands, who by the way can't even fill a dank ass night club. I love doing these festivals espically if a good headliner is on our day, makes it better to stick around and appreciate the buisness that I'm in, or go back to the hotel and watch the wash-ups belly up to the bar on the money they took from your pockets.
The line up at M3 was a perfect example of how a festival works for everone, all the way from the techs to the paying costomers.
We have done three festivals so far this year and I was hopping that Rocklahoma was going to knock my socks off, NOT, so far M3 has been the best by far, RGW is in Aug, we will have to wait and see....
These are my opions and in any way reflect any disrespect to others.
I will say I did see some acts on the side stages (tents) that should have been on the main stage.There were some really good tallent out there, sorry I couldnt produce any names for you all, I guess that part of my brain got boiled.
NOTE to the promoters....listen to the paying costomers and not the greedy agents, take chances, get a headliner that is a headliner and will act and produce as a headliner should.......J!!!!!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJRCPRO
Well we all know that band is KIX and it sucks they played on day with Stryper as the headliner...KIX should have closed Saturday if the bands after them were Jackyl and Stryper...Makes no freaking sense to put them out there before those two bands!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKixRules
Especially Jackyl, given that he spent the extra 30 min on shtick and not music, and that they were a late add.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
I didn't attend Rocklahoma, but I think that having the day of heavier bands was also a bad idea. Although I absolutely love Overkill, Metal Church, Anthrax and Saxon, they don't belong on a bill with glam bands. It sounds like rocklahoma was trying to cast its net too wide instead of focusing on the one thing they had done well in previous years.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob
I think sales were so low they hoped to get more from a different demographic, because they have burned too many people in the glam market.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterChristian
....Nobody sneaks by Christian.
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
I came all the way from PA and I was really disappointed. Stryper is not a headlining band. Kix should've headlined Saturday. I usually didn't leave my hotel til 4ish. It was too hot and basically not worth my time to go see a band I don't like. With gas, tickets, hotel, tolls and whatever else. I spent way over 2 grand. That is outrageous for a festival that should've rocked my ass off. I like about 10 bands that were there, the rest of the time i was in my section talking to the security guards. They need to move it somewhere cooler or to a different month. Oklahoma fucking sucks!
July 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRev.Sweetchops
Its tough to say what all of the problems are at ROK, when I didn't go, but I listened to Eddie Trunk as well, and I didn't disagree with anything that he said.

It may be time for Rocklahoma to lose the hair metal format....maybe not completely, but have one big day for the hair metal acts, one day for heavy metal, and through a current rock day in there as well.

Look at what the Download festival is doing as an example. I bet their attendance was 10 x Rocklahoma's and it was a three day festival.

I really liked the way M3 was put together except for the overlapping schedules (which is pretty much unavoidable).

I wonder how many tickets Rocklahoma would have sold if everyone knew the headliners were Anthrax, Ratt & Stryper. I like all of these bands, but all 3 are club acts at best these days. You need an arena act for a headliner, and ROK didn't have one (except Twisted Sister).

If this festival could have brought in say, Judas Priest, Whitesnake & Heaven & Hell, their attendance numbers would have been a lot greater. Megadeth would have been the perfect headliner for heavy metal day. Not sure what the payout is for those bands, but I would guess it would have doubled, maybe even tripled there attendance for each day.
July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob Rockitt

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