Get ready to rock, Ohio! For four days (May 25 – 28), Columbus’ Historic Crew Stadium will once again host one of the country’s premier rock festivals, Sonic Temple, for the first time since 2019, after the 2020 gathering (and beyond) were scratched due to the pandemic. This year’s edition is four days long, beginning on Thursday (May 25) with headliners Tool and Godsmack, before closing out with the recently reunited Foo Fighters (currently the band’s third scheduled appearance since the tragic death of former drummer, Taylor Hawkins) on Sunday evening.
Depending on where one is traveling back to, it might be possible to make it home in time for the obligatory annual Memorial Day backyard barbaque!
First and foremost, everyone should agree not to take the opportunity to gather in masses once again and rock out in unison with some of the best bands (and best fans) in the biz. Let’s not forget that a few short years ago, venues were empty and it was a matter of if, not when, massive festivals would return.
In a recent ZOOM interview with CleveRock.com, promoter Danny Wimmer Presents’ Director of Marketing, Holly Doscher explains, “It’s been a long time in the making, bringing Sonic Temple Festival back to our portfolio. We had our first four events come in 2021 with Welcome to Rockville, Aftershock, Louder Than Life, and Inkcarceration. It was a very different world coming out of COVID, where everyone was still wearing masks and we were six feet apart. Our protocol was entirely different. We had sanitation measures for all of our fans. Extra hand sanitizer stands were all around the festivals. It was a very different world. Now, we’re getting a little bit more back to normal. Not necessarily on the artists’ side. I think everyone still is in their bubble a little bit. We pride ourselves in ensuring our artists feel safe on our sites. But as it is, we’re getting more and more back to normal. It’s great to be back. Having Sonic Temple added back to our portfolio is amazing.”
“We still recommend everyone have their own personal safety plan and what they’re comfortable with,” she cautions. “If a fan wants to wear a mask, they can, but we don’t require it or we don’t require a test either.”
There is an old adage that “Cleveland Rocks!” (And, it does!) Don’t sleep on Columbus, though. It’s a vibrant city and centrally located to several major metropolitan areas, making it easily drivable for so many. Historic Crew Stadium is central to a plethora of hotels and even a campground!
“Columbus feels like home. That’s part of what our marketing has said this year, that we’re coming home,” Doscher said. “We’ve been dormant since COVID in, which 2019 was our inaugural year for Sonic Temple. But so many festival attendees are familiar with a rock festival taking place at Historic Crew Stadium in Columbus and they identify with it. It’s their Memorial Day weekend plans every year. They really can’t wait to be back and see their family and friends that they’ve made year after year. It doesn’t have to be their family by blood in the rock and metal community. The friends you make when you’re attending those festivals become your family and you look forward to seeing them every year and uniting with each other and the music you love. For us, as festival promoters, it’s the pinnacle of rock festivals in the United States. To come in as Sonic Temple for its second year is amazing. Standing in the field, and having so many fans surrounding you in that stadium is just a really magical feeling“
As for Karen and her legion of social media warriors that don’t like this year’s lineup? The promoters know they have put together something awesome and that, “Ultimately, you can’t make everyone happy. That is one thing that you learn, no matter any lineup announcement,” Doscher said. “I’m very close with our talent team and we get very, very passionate about our lineups and almost take it personally because we’re so excited about this baby that we’ve worked on. It takes so much work. You start securing headliners a year before the festival happens. We’re already booking headliners for next year and the festival even hasn’t even happened yet! I think there’s just so much work that people don’t know that goes into booking it and when you unveil it, there’s no matter what going to be someone that doesn’t like something about it because everybody is different.”
One act NOBODY is complaining about is the return of Foo Fighters, which is arguably the festival’s biggest draw in 2023! Let’s Face it, Dave Grohl and company would have been welcomed on ANY stage in the world that he pleased now that the band is resuming live shows. The fact that the band CHOSE Sonic Temple speaks volumes about the festival’s prominence.
“We are absolutely honored,” Doscher notes. “We had them at Sonic Temple in 2019 so it’s great to have them back. We’re kind of coming back together and they are still coming out of a big tragedy. I think everyone’s going to feel some emotions during that set because it is one of their first performances after the unfortunate passing of Taylor Hawkins. But we, as a company, have a long history with Foo Fighters and we love them so much, and so we are absolutely honored to have them come back.“
DO NOT (REPEAT: DO NOT) sleep on the opportunity to buy passes. Rock-hungry fans have already snatched up a high percentage of the tickets and waiting to make a game decision will likely result in disappointment or being gouged by the resale market. With COVID in the not-so-distant past, fans are ready to reunite and rock out!
“We’re over 90% sold out on our field passes,” Doscher cautions. “If you want to get a field pass, get it now, because it is going to be sold out before the festival takes place. We have about 10 or so camping spots left, so anyone that does want to have an RV on-site, they should do that ASAP as well. And then. stadium VIP passes are also almost 90% sold out, and GA passes for the stadium are moving quite quickly. I do like to push that the GA has kind of the best of all worlds because when you get stadium GA, you get to kick up your feet after moshing and rocking out on our second and third stages. And then, when you want to watch the headliner, you can kind of relax and get a great view. So I think that that’s a great ticket option as well if you’re looking for a more affordable price.”
Author’s advice: When considering ticket options, those 29 years of age or younger should splurge for field passes while your body can still handle four days of standing. Over 30 years old? Go Stadium GA, as Doscher mentioned, it’s still possible to relive one’s younger days at the second and third stages while resting sore joints and taking a seat in the stands at the main stage. Over 40? Go VIP! Your wallet might be upset with you, but your body and mind will be happy as a clam.
No matter what plan one decides to purchase, there are several options available for patrons to spread out the payments!
“We do offer a ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ plan. So, to make it more affordable for our fans that may need it, fans can go to the festival’s website and sign up for our Shop Pay program, which allows them to make payments after the festival has even taken place,” Doscher explains.
Before disconnecting on ZOOM and letting Holly get back to marketing the impressive DWP festival portfolio, there was one last simple question:
Why is Sonic Temple the best investment for one’s entertainment dollars?
“The number of bands that you get for the price! Ultimately, if you divide it by the number of bands, it is about $5 per artist that you get to see. And, you can’t really say that you can see an artist anywhere else for $5, can you? It’s under $5, actually, but you can see 70 bands at Sonic Temple. It’s your Memorial Day weekend vacation,” Doscher replied. “Some people like to go to the Bahamas and spend their money traveling there. If you love Rock and Roll, you get to be united in music with everyone around you who feels the same way and is as passionate about rock and metal as you are. It’s a completely different experience than going to the Bahamas, but some people might feel that’s what they need because they get that sense of community that they’re looking for that they might not get anywhere else.”