Upheaval Festival Day One Coverage HERE
Belknap Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan hosted The Upheaval Music Festival on July 15th and 16th, 2022. Belknap Park consists of two baseball fields, pickle ball and tennis courts, and an indoor hockey rink nestled in a residential area. The main stage for the festival was situated on a baseball field with the stage being located at the location of home plate. Upheaval had two stages for the 23 bands that were scheduled to perform over the two day event. The second stage, The Lookout Stage, was located at the top of a hill where the center and right field fence would be on a normal ball field. There was a hill that extended about 100 yards to the top at what appeared to be a 45 degree angle. That is where The Lookout Stage was located, atop of the small mountain. Since the festival rotated bands between the two stages, the thought of tackling that hill up and down after each band caused anxiety. Upon the start of the festival, the use of shuttles made the upward journey a non issue. Thank you to the shuttle driver that made this review possible!
It was Saturday, July 16, 2022, day two of the festival and the attendance had grown exponentially since the day before. My guess is the the weather had a bit to do with it, but also the fact that the weekend has more people off from work. As for the photographers, all the nuances of festival were discovered the day before as well as life long friends were made. The key to an enjoyable festival included transportation between stages, best smelling bathrooms, time and locations in the photo pit, and where to obtain the best food and water to maintain high energy were on the list to enjoy the day. Here we go with limited sleep.
Heartsick got day two off to a roaring start as Alfonso Civile proceeded to join the audience by crowd surfing as he held his mic and never missed a note as he sang. Just a remarkable way to get everyone involved to start off the day. He even came back out into the crowd riding an inflatable banana! They put on a really entertaining show which got the crowd fired up to start day two!
Heartsick, Main Stage 1:20pm:
Alfonso Civile – Vocals
Jerred Pruneau – Guitar
Waylon Fox – Bass
Jake Bryan – Drums
City Awake performed on the Lookout Stage in front of a large crowd that seemed to have found the stage high on the hill. The audience on day two was twice the size as the day before. It also seemed that fans were holding their spots and not commuting back and forth between stages. The festival attendance numbers were indeed growing.
City Awake is an alternative rock band that formed in 2018 in Kentucky. They have opened for Buckcherry, Bad Wolves, Red Sun Rising, Despite the Fallen, Heartsick, Kip Winger, Plush, and Jackyl. Check them out next time they are on the bill, and rock out!
City Awake, Lookout Stage 1:45pm:
Diamante was a late addition to the festival filling the spot vacated by The Hurricane, Nita Strauss as she cancelled all of her solo festival gigs after leaving Alice Cooper’s side. Initially, I felt this was a big blow to Upheaval, but Diamante was up to the challenge as she brought her “A Game” to the stage. Diamante had a stage presence that I had not witnessed in previous appearances. She showed confidence and stage presence that any headlining artist shows each and every day. I found her mesmerizing from the beginning to the end of her set. She is an upcoming superstar, and her show was one of the best of the day!
Diamante, Main Stage 2:15pm:
The Oxymorrons were a perfect change of pace as they are to Hip-Hop for Rock, and to Rock for Hip-Hop. Dual lead vocalists Dave “D” Bellevue and Ashmy “KI” Bellevue were a joy to listen to and watch as they carved up the stage. This might have been set in a Hip-Hop frame, but it was Rock ‘N Roll coming out of the sound system! Check them out, the show was fun and entertaining!
Oxymorrons, Lookout Stage 3:00pm:
Dave “D” Bellevue – Vocals
Ashmy “KI” Bellevue – Vocals
Matty Mayz – Drums
Jafe Paulino – Vocals/Bass/Guitar
Escape The Fate graced the main stage midway of day 2. The band has released seven studio albums and three EP’s since their inception in 2004. Currently, only drummer Robert Ortiz is an original member of the band. Craig Mabbitt, lead vocalist as well as a song writer joined the group in 2008 as their second longest member. Their set was hardcore metal in the vain of their influences, Metallica and Iron Maiden, fitting for the large Main Stage.
Escape The Fate, Main Stage 3:35pm:
Robert Ortiz – Drums, Percussion
Craig Mabbitt – Lead Vocals
Thomas “TJ” Bell – Rhythm and Gead Guitar, Backing Vocals, Bass Guitar
Kevin “Thrasher” Gruft – Lead and Rhythm Guitar, Keyboards, Backing Vocals, Bass Guitar
Current touring musicians
Erik Jensen – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Matti Hoffman –Lead Guitar
Next on the Main Stage the 5:00pm hour brought Hatebreed, a metalcore band from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Hatebreed was formed in 1994 and have released eight albums, the latest Weight of the False Self was released in 2020. By now crowd surfing was hitting a frenzy and our security friends were hard at work protecting those individuals dumped in the photo pit after their ride above the crowd. The bands were now being fueled by the crowd who were actually feeding off the energy coming from the stage. A truly symbiotic relationship and being in the photo pit, we were right in the middle of the energy generated. It was exhilarating to feel. Thanks Hatebreed for the rush!
Hatebreed, Main Stage 5:10pm:
Jamey Jasta – Lead Vocals
Chris Beattie – Bass
Matt Byrne – Drums
Frank Novinec – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Wayne Lozinak –Lead Guitar, Backing Vocal
At about 6:00pm it felt like the day’s the energy changed and people were everywhere. It was time for Butcher Babies. Heidi and Carla hit the stage like a whirlwind and brought the crowd to new heights. These two ladies were a pleasure to watch as they entertained a packed audience clambering to get closer. For twelve years they have been performing and the on-stage chemistry brings power to their show. This was on my list of must see acts of the festival as it was my first time experiencing the magnetism of a Butcher Babies performance. I can’t wait until the next opportunity!
Butcher Babies, Lookout Stage 6:05pm:
Carla Harvey – Vocals
Heidi Shepherd – Vocals
Henry Flury – Guitars
Chase Brickenden – Drums
Ricky Bonazza – Bass
Evening was settling in as Three Days Grace took the main stage. The band was formed in Ontario, Canada in 1997. They are a well polished rock band with record sales over 10 million world wide and have had 17 number one singles. This is a rock band, but lead singer Matt Walst wanted the crowd to bring the heavy metal energy to the stage and kept encouraging the mash pits to continue and get bigger. Three Days Grace is a rock band, you know, a band that plays songs that you can hear with clear vocals. My guess is that from somewhere back stage he felt the energy that Hatebreed had generated previously and wanted it to continue. But, the vibe in the photo pit just didn’t feel the same.
Three Days Grace, Main Stage 7:10pm:
Brad Walst – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Neil Sanderson – Drums, Backing Vocals Keyboards
Barry Stock – Lead Guitar/Rhythm Guitar
Matt Walst – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
As the Lookout Stage was winding down, the band Nothing More was the final act to perform on that stage for Upheaval 2022. There was a strange contraption at the back of the stage next to the drum kit. I was informed that it was called the scorpion. I was told singer Jonny Hawkins would ride it during the first song and I should stand center stage to get the full effect. This band had energy not expressed by any of the previous bands. It was a wild ride, and security escorted us out of the photo pit after just two of our allotted three songs. The audience was just erupting and crowd surfers were non stop therefore the large number of photographers were replaced by a large number of security. Like I said previously, the energy was over the top. It just wasn’t safe for us with our backs to the security barrier and not being able to see what was coming behind us out of the crowd. Oh it was adrenaline filled fun and very memorable.
Nothing More, Lookout Stage 8:30pm:
Jonny Hawkins –Lead Vocals, Drums
Mark Vollelunga – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Daniel Oliver – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ben Anderson – Drums, Percussion
The climax had finally come and the overall headliner, Disturbed, was set to take the stage. It was now dark and the venue was a waiting powder keg with anticipation. The stage now had stage lighting and a large scale performance was about to take place. The upper stage festival fans had descended down the mountain to the main stage adding to the crowd numbers. In my estimation the crowd had grown to almost 15,000 in attendance. Disturbed took the stage and David Draiman, dressed in a black sleeveless shirt and long sleeveless jacket, raised his fist into the air and the band opened with “Ten Thousand Fists” bringing the crowd to that powder keg explosion. I am sure there were a few sore necks Sunday morning.
With explosive lighting and pyrotechnics, this was indeed a full fledged rock show with everyone was singing and having a great time. The energy was at an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. Their 14 song set wasn’t enough as the crowd demanded more. Disturbed returned to the stage and played two more songs ending their set, and the festival with the most appropriate song in their catalog, “Down With the Sickness”
“Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah
Get up, come on get down with the sickness”
Disturbed, Main Stage 9:40pm:
Dan Donegan – Guitars, Programming, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Mike Wengren – Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals, Programming
David Draiman – Lead Vocals
John Moyer – Bass, Backing Vocals
1.) Ten Thousand Fists
2.) Inside the Fire
4.) Are You Ready
6.) The Vengeful One
9.) Land of Confusion (Genesis cover)
10.) Hey You
11.) The Game
12.) The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel cover)
13.) The Night
15.) The Light
16.) Down With the Sickness
The mood along with the energy of Upheaval continually built from the beginning to the end. Day one was a bit shaky with looming thunderstorms headed to Belknap Park. Luck was on our side as we only received steady light rain for about two and a half hours with only one heavy downpour and no wind or lightning. Day two was pretty much overcast keeping temperatures in the mid to upper 80’s which was actually perfect with medium humidity. Being from Florida it was welcome. I saw the crowd intensify throughout the day and reach a crescendo at the end just as it was suppose to. This was a great event and I would highly recommend attending next year and years after. Logistically, it seemed flawless. But, the location with the mountain was difficult for many to navigate up and down.
A big THANK YOU goes out to the shuttle cart drivers for aiding in our transportation. DO NOT REMOVE THEM!
Upheaval Festival Day One Coverage HERE
Follow Disturbed Online:
Follow Three Days Grace Online:
Follow Nothing More Online:
Follow Hatebreed Online:
Follow Escape The Fate Online:
Follow Butcher Babies Online:
Follow Diamante Online:
Follow DED Online:
Follow Oxymorrons Online:
Follow Heartsick Online:
Follow City Awake Online:
Follow Katharsys Theory Online:
Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.