Scion Rock Fest took place on June 1st across 5 venues along Beale St. in Memphis, TN. The full festival lineup included a myriad of bands from different metal subgenres, giving fans a diverse lineup to check out all day long. To make things even better, tickets were 100% free. The day itself was supposed to be rainy, and early-on it was rather wet outside, but luckily the weather cleared just as the festival kicked off around 3 p.m.
There was no way I was going to be able to catch all of the bands on the lineup as the stages were running simultaneously, so I did my best to ask around ahead of time about whom I should check out and was able to catch 14 of the 32 bands playing. During my day I was able to catch (in order from early in the day to late in the day): A Life Once Lost, Gigan, Call of the Void, Vektor, Rotting Out, Code Orange Kids, Corrosion of conformity, Vision of Disorder, Touché Amore, Municipal Waste, Gates of Slumber, Six Feet Under, Whitechapel, and Testament!
Because I ran around from stage to stage so much, I’m just going to focus on the festival experience itself instead of talking about individual bands’ sets. Most of the venues were all ages, with 2/5 being 21+, so the crowd was a weird mix of teenagers and older metal heads. While all the stages were different, they all offered intimate experiences for fans, with no barriers at any of the stages (this offered many complications for me, trying to take photos of these bands without getting killed). Out of the different venue offerings, the scariest to me was the Hard Rock Cafe in Memphis. The bands playing there that day were mostly hardcore bands or old school punk bands, with the types of fans that like to stage dive and mosh like theyr’e fighting invisible ninjas. The issue at this venue was that the Hard Rock had clearly not realized that their clientele that day would be moshing in such a manner, and several waitresses nearly got taken out by stage-divers. Otherwise this venue was a blast, with Code Orange Kids, Call of the Void, and Touché Amore being the most fun bands there.
Over at the New Daisy Theater, Municipal Waste put on a set that was easily one of the funniest I’ve ever seen, and had one of the rowdiest crowds of any non-headlining band. I made it over to catch part of Gates of Slumber’s set, and was impressed, but couldn’t stay for long. The other big highlights for me that day were Whitechapel and Testament, both of which I had the privilege to see from side-stage and then back-stage during their sets. Whitechapel put on one of the longest sets I’ve ever seen them play, playing for more than an hour to their audience in what amounted to almost a home-town show (Whitechapel are from Knoxville, TN).
When Testament went on at 10:30 that night to play until 12-midnight, the New Daisy Theater was packed! Led by frontman Chuck Billy, the band wowed the audience and certainly eclipsed everyone else who had played earlier. They were the perfect choice to end one of truly, the most metal of any show I’ve ever been to!
Check out photos from the bands I saw during the festival in the gallery below.