Blue Ridge Rock Festival (BRRF), known for its fan-driven rock experience, delivered in its 5th year with an incredible lineup of 172 bands across 5 stages in 4 days spread across a massive new venue in southern Virginia. VIRginia International Raceway, a 1,3000-acre property with rolling hills in the town of Alton. Check out the incredible lineup for Day 3 below. (Sion and Lacuna Coil did not perform.)
Rain invaded Day 3 greatly impacting the photographers’ ability to cover bands without risking their gear. However, the crowd had fewer problems withstanding the elements to witness some of the most popular bands in the rock and metal world, and even a fan in a wheelchair had fun crowd surfing.
Ice Nine Kills (INK), an American heavy metal band from Boston, Massachusetts brought their reign of terror to BRRF. Their horror-inspired set complete with chainsaws, knives, axes, and lifelike severed body parts, drenched the already wet stage from the first song, “Hip to Be Scared.” The theatrical carnage continued through spine-chilling finale “The American Nightmare.”
Ice Nine Kills Band Members:
Spencer Charnas – Lead Vocalist
Ricky Armellino – Co-Lead Vocalist, Rhythm Guitarist
Joe Occhiuti – Co-Lead Vocalist, Bassist
Dan Sugarman – Co-Lead Vocalist, Lead Guitarist
Patrick Galante – Drummer
Motionless in White, a cyber gothic meltalcore band who accompanied Ice Nine Kills on the Trinity of Terror Tour, provided plenty of moshing, head-banging, and crowd-surfing fodder surely providing thousands a “bangover” the next morning. Fans rocked so hard, the performance of “Slaughterhouse” was halted due to multiple injuries in the crowd. Besides their intense energy on stage, Motionless in White’s production blasted pyro that would rival any major EDM concert.
Motionless in White Band Members:
Chris “Motionless” Cerulli – Lead vocals
Ricky “Horror” Olson – Rhythm guitar
Justin Morrow – Bass
Ryan Sitkowski Lead guitar
Vinny Mauro – Drums
Skillet, with their 5x platinum hit “Monster,” one of the most streamed rock songs in history, naturally unleashed on the Monster Energy stage with one of the best performances of the night. Frontman and bass beast John Cooper first brought the fury with “Whispers in the Dark” and “Rise,” then brandished “cryo guns” with “Surviving the Game” inciting the fans into a jumping frensy. Multi-talented drummer, Jen Ledger, killed it on drums while also singing background vocals, then came out from behind the kit for “Hero.” Guitarists Korey Cooper and Seth Morrison covered every inch of the stage like rock maniacs, and Seth delivered masterful guitar solos throughout. Skillet has a rabid fanbase across the world selling out arenas in 26 countries and four continents, and there was definitely a huge contingent on hand at BRRF because I could hear all the lyrics that I know so well shouted from the crowd. This was the 22nd Skillet show that I have photographed.
Skillet Band Members:
John Cooper – Lead Singer, Bass Guitar
Seth Morrison – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Korey Cooper – Guitar, Keys
Jen Ledger – Drums, Vocals
I Prevail on ZVN stage delivered a heavy but diverse set reflecting an unbelievable versatility displayed on their new album, True Power. The combination of Brian Burkheiser and Eric Vanlerberghe brings a unique sound to the rock/metal world, and the production at the festival was nothing short of incredible.
I Prevail Band Members:
Brian Burkheiser – Clean vocals
Eric Vanlerberghe – Unclean vocals
Steve Menoian – Lead guitar
Dylan Bowman – Rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Gabe Helguera – Drums
Metal icons, Slipknot, the most anticipated and the most popular headliner of the festival, took the Monster Energy stage at 10:30pm, but banned all press from the pit and audience. Anyone wanting to view coverage of their set will have to settle for fan cell phone videos and pictures.
Overall, the festival ended with fans and photographers alike soaked to the bone, but excited about the day. Even a few sound problems crept in on occasion, but didn’t seem to bother the wet masses who took over singing the lyrics. While other logistic hiccups were ironed out by Day 3, it’s obvious that the bands and the music is what this fan-driven festival is all about. After all of the incredible talent so far, the anticipation was high for Day 4.
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Annette Holloway is a music, promo, portrait, and event photographer. Live concert photography and band/artist photoshoots occupy much of her time. Her work has been published on numerous media outlets including Billboard, Pollstar, NBC News, Getty Images, Forbes, HM Magazine, ICON Sportswire, Loudwire, CCM Magazine, and many more. Before diving into photography full time, she was a NASA software engineer, webmaster, church youth leader, and robotics mentor. For more information about her photography, visit AnnetteHolloway.com.