Now that the live music sector is spinning back up to full force and shaking off its COVID-19 blues, CelebrityAccess has been getting some festival reviews from our field agents.
Case in point, Laurie Bedell Creamer recently attended Danny Wimmer Presents’ Inkcareration Festival in Mansfield, Ohio, and filed this dispatch:
For my first show back, I got to travel to Mansfield Ohio for the 2021 Inkcareration Festival. I was excited to see the new face on the music scene post-global pandemic and how precautions were implemented to combat the spread of the covid cooties.
I was also excited to see several bands that were newcomers to the scene since the halt of life as we all knew it. I was also looking forward to the long-awaited return of Mudvayne, which of course, was highly anticipated by most attendees. Lastly, I was excited to check out the cool venue that Inkacarceration was held at.
Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival on the historic grounds of The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio was attended by 75,000 music fans who have all been cooped up for the past 2 years and all more than eager to let loose and let their freak flags fly. Danny Wimmer and his team did not fail to pull this one off and produce a show for the record books as usual. I imagine this to be a challenge as so many lineup changes due to covid and covid related bullshit. Even with some of the original bands on the lineup dropping out, the deck was stacked for an exciting weekend.
As I arrived at the venue, COVID-19 vaccine card in hand and ready rock, I found traffic to the venue to be moving smoothly and was able to easily park as well.
The lines to show vaccine card or negative covid test were short and they then placed a health wrist band on so that you didn’t have to carry your card around with you or go thru lines to be checked each day, I found it to be a great strategy. Those not prepared for health screen were not turned away but were provided with rapid result testing before being admitted to the festival.
After being cleared and passing through the gates, the reality set in that live music and metal fellowship are back. As someone who lives for festivals, this brought tears to my eyes as I was concerned, we would never be back to this. So, in my opinion a few extra precautions and patience are not even a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things for those who want to attend a show. As far as the extra hand sanitizing stations, they did exist but still ran out quickly, that’s an easy fix though because travel-size hand sanitizers were allowed through gates. Kudos DWP, you all did a marvelous with safely pulling off one of the first post-pandemic festivals.
The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio has to be one of the best venues I have ever seen a show at, and I was stoked to explore it. Not only is this venue said to be haunted but was also the set of the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Free tours were available, and you were able to walk through and go into cells and take photos and get a little reprieve from the glaring afternoon sun.
The venue although it was great, did not compare to the moment I felt the bass from the giant speaker stacks hit my body and soul again. The first set of the day for me was New Year’s Day where Ash Costello, the powerful female frontwoman, also shared in this emotional moment and teared up, stating that she told herself she was not going to cry. For them, it had been 2 years since they performed to a live audience.
Once all the tears were dried up it was time to rock, and that is just what we did. “Come for me” followed by a Pantera cover “Fucking Hostel” got everyone going as Ash encouraged the chaos.
Next, for me, was Badflower. This was bittersweet for me because I was looking forward to hearing some of the tracks from their second album “This Is How the World Ends” ahead of its Sept 24th release. Unfortunately, singer/guitarist Josh Katz was unable to sing due to a bout of laryngitis. The band however did not disappoint their fans with their show must go on attitude and performed anyway. It was a unique experience as the band played an exaggerated instrumental set and Josh signed to fans and used wonderfully goofy expressions to tease the crowd and encourage them to sing the words for him. I can’t wait to see them back in all their glory and plan to catch them later this month at Aftershock Festival.
Ice Nine Kills opened with the live debut of Hip To Be Scared. Horror-themed antics and well-produced video imagery added to the Ice nine experience. If you’re going to catch them, I suggest making sure you get in close so you can experience the whole stage show experience they bring as it is well worth getting a little smooshed in front.
Steel Panther hit the main stage next with their parody of 80s hair metal bands. I was amused because I was standing near some very young teenage girls to whom the 80s might as well have been the time when dinosaurs roamed, who were all very confused by the band and not sure if they should be offended. The seasoned crowd already knew what was up, and they sang along to every line of Community Property accordingly. A good time was had by most and as per usual the eyeliner game was strong with the spandex ones.
Killswitch Engage did not disappoint in turning up the volume on things even though they were missing their Bass Player Mike D’Antonio due to Covid. The pits kicked up a notch, creating little dust tornados in the crowd, and security upfront got their first real taste of what was yet to come in this epic weekend of music.
I was hoping to catch The Hu over on the Inked Magazine stage next, but unfortunately, I missed it because I needed to chill for a few after all of Killswitch’s energy and found a seat on some nearby grassy knolls for a breather.
People watching was, of course, at its finest. I have missed all of the wonderful concert outfits and costumes and seeing this, being a freak myself; made me feel at home with all my freak metal family. After a quick trip to buy water and visit the port-a-potty which neither surprisingly had lines. The Potty was cleanish aka I didn’t feel like shooting up with antibiotics post piss. Kudos to DWP for having enough Water vendors and fill stations.
It was good that I was well rested because After Mastadon broke out of the prison and crawled through the sewer to bring it. They indeed brought it, and we bounced… and we moshed.
It was finally time for my favorite part of the day…that’s right it was SLIPKNOT time!!! Corey, who just recovered from covid in the weeks before the festival, still sounded amazing. I can’t help but sing along to every song and dance with excited rage for the entire set. They rounded out the evening with Surfacing. I left for the evening with the intense raw energy of a natural metal high that being at a festival family reunion brings.
For day two of Inkcarceration there were more clouds and a breeze, so the weather was almost perfect as I strolled around the perimeter of the festival, checking out the merch and vendors as September Mourning played on in the background.
I was excited to see Saul for the first time as they have been the new kids on the block since the whole end of the world as we knew it. They brought an even harder sound live than I could have ever have anticipated. Being the first festival in 2 years and the first non-school day, this was the set where the crowd surfing torch was passed on to the festival beginners. Kid after kid went up and learned the ropes it seemed by the end of Saul’s set, the training wheels were off and these kids had their first taste of true festival adrenaline. If you get the opportunity to catch Saul live ..don’t mess around, just do it.
Crown the Empire hit the Space Zebra stage during the hottest part of the day, beer and water vendors walking around to ensure everyone stayed hydrated and bad decisions would be made. Everyone around the park seemed to be just enjoying themselves, including me. Pop Evil had a treat for the crowd when they did Trenches with help from friends Blake Allison of Devour the Day and Zero 9:36. They completed their set with Waking the Lions.
Chevelle, a festival staple, took the stage next and performed as the well-oiled machine they have come to be, playing several of their hits ending out on Mars Simula they all seemed happy to be back at it and doing what they love as they performed with smiles and were more playful on stage then I have seen then be in past.
A Day to Remember was next. I was excited to see these guys since they are homegrown Florida boys and I have seen them grow up from the small local stages to upstaging the Headliners at major festivals like Incarceration. The insane energy-fueled mosh pits and crowd surfers of all ages. The brave that remained upfront were put to work with the steady surf flow. Plan to catch them later again on the tour as they are currently touring with Asking Alexandria who couldn’t make it festival due to a bus breakdown.
Mudvayne was the long-awaited headliner of the evening. several festivalgoers left early as they were too young to understand the hype and let’s face it, it was probably past some of their bedtimes. Mudvayne had a bit of a rocky start, most likely due to technical issues, but it was soon resolved, and they let loose on the sleepy Ohio town and tried to bring down the walls of the prison with pure fucking metal. “Dig” was the highlight of the set for me. Chad Grey brought his usual theatrical style with several costume changes. I look forward to seeing more from Mudvayne now that they have reunited. What a solid end to day two on Inkcarceration, every bone in my body tired and unable to talk from singing and dancing so hard all day. It was a good day indeed.
Day three, got a late start and enjoyed some breakfast at one of the many cute little family-owned restaurants near the venue and then headed to the prison for more amazing music and fun.
The first Band I checked out for the day was Fever 333, which I had caught briefly in the past on a smaller stage at another DWP festival, so I knew the energy they had.
Next up is a personal favorite of mine, Motionless in White. I wished they could have played another hour because I could not get enough but they did play some great ones. Not only did they play all top hits they also had perfect make-up and I would love to get some tips from them.
Beartooth’s Caleb, looking super fit and so full of energy they could have ignited the place. During Bad Listener they were joined by Briton Bond of Wage War. The dust tornados once again came up through the crowd as pit after pit opened up, it was a spectacular sight to see.
Halestorm took the stage as the sunset on the last day of this wonderful festival and Lizzy came to earn her crown as queen of the festival. Lizzy’s vocals were on point and of course, we could not have a set by Halestorm without an Epic drum solo from Arejay. long live the queen!
Rob Zombie taking the stage was almost emotional as I realized that would be the end of the weekend and I would have to go back to the mundane Monday thru Friday life. Zombie came out with all his macabre pageantry and metal glamor. I have always thought Rob Zombie has had the best stage outfits, but I am easily distracted by shiny things. The best moment for me brought me back in time to cruising the strip wearing out my white Zombie CD circa 1993 when they played “Thunder Kiss ’65” with a brief interlude of “Blitzkrieg Bop”. John 5 threw down on this as well with a crazy guitar solo. they ended the festival with “Dragula” and left me with the best music high ever.
Don’t miss out on your chance to get in on Inkcarceration next year as tickets are on sale now and this event sells out quickly. Until next time music lovers.