Best of 2016
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Rock USA 2016 – Winds of Change

by on August 2, 2016

If you love modern rock this is the festival for you

There is now a low key place to go hangout and relax that doesn't include drinking, music, money, or sleeping. You can just go and enjoy some time with your friends playing some enjoyable games, like lifesize Beer Pong, Beach Volleyball, Giant hammocks and just relax after rocking hard all night long.

It was the most attended and highest grossing Rock USA in the history of the event.

There were a considerable amount of vendors present considering to the limited amount last year.

Many more variations of great products available just unfortunately way over priced.

Performances were amazing. I cannot recall one band not totally hitting it out of the park.

Dropping it down to 3 days was a great idea. 4 days is too long. I was wiped after 2 days.


Rock Fest also carries the saeme type of lineup being the same weekend as Rock USA they book many of the same bands.

Previously if you were a modern rock fan you weent to Rock Fest. If you were a 70-80s fan you went to Rock USA now you really don't have a place to enjoy your favorite 70-80s bands.
It is still really expensive. Food is expensive, drinks are expensive, merch is expensive.

The younger crowd is much rowdier than the older crowds from previous years but it seems as though Rock USA prepared for this with the increase in the visual police force.

The standing only pit still did not address the issue of the artists having better accessibility to the audience. To do so I am afraid Rock USA will need to build a catwalk. I also believe that this standing room pit will eventually cause a dip in the VIP ticket sales.

Poor communication between Rock USA employees. While trying to take pictures after the 3 song rule I was literally moved from spot to spot by different people being told that I was absolutely allowed to be in that area only to be reprimanded 10 minutes later by another individual telling me that I was absolutely not allowed there. There was no concert communication on where media could take pictures. Which was my whole purpose of the event. Last year Media was allowed to walk all through VIP in order to take pics. This year we were not allowed anywhere in VIP to take pics. However, in the information sent to me this was never addressed.

I do believe if they are going to try to cater to a modern rock clientele they are going to have to address their VIP ticket prices because most people into this genre do not have that type of cash. They are semi high for the younger crowd.

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Bottom Line

Over all the experience was wonderful. I enjoyed every second. However, this is an experience you have to plan for for an entire year in order to fully appreciate the experience. I suggest VIP camping, bringing you own food, drinks, and in the end you will enjoy yourself much more.

Tent camping is fine but you'll be sore and you won't sleep well. But by bringing your own food and drinks you will save hundreds of dollars.

Also, keep in mind that it is unrealistic to force yourself to make every single band. Last year we missed Lynyrd Skynyrd and Judas Priest because it started raining and we were so wiped that while changing we fell asleep. Don't fret over it.

If possible take one of your teenage kids and introduce them to a new type of music. We took out 15 year old and they loved Skynyrd. Never knowing Simple Man was originally their song. They thought it was Shinedown.


Prior to this year fans of Rock USA could count on rocking out to some of the best 70’s and 80’s music. Last year was awesome. Alice Cooper was amazing, Def Leppard rocked the whole place and Lynard Skynard was out of this world. However, it was tailored to a certain type of audience. They did have one day dedicated to modern rock and it was great.

This year they decided to up the ante and change their entire format, which was risky considering they had been doing the same thing for years. The dropped the festival down to 3 days from 4, got rid of the carnival rides except for one, added a place to chill out and have fun that didn’t cost money, put a pit area in front of the stage and most of all brought in all modern rock.

Let’s talk about the least biggest changes. Having Rock USA last 3 days instead of 4 was fine to me. I was beat after 2 days. Four seemed wwaaayyy too long, so 3 seems to be a nice number. Carnival rides. Glad to see them go. They only have the one they always have had. The one that spins all the way around. The Hang Out Zone was hugely cool. This was my favorite addition. It didn’t cost money and it was a nice way to just pass the time without having to sit on the grass,walk around vendors, buy food, buy merch or buy drinks. It gave you another options. Especially if you didn’t have a campsite. . There were hammocks, beach volleyball, and a giant version of beer pong. They also expanded their vendors lineup greatly. They had a greater variety of merch including smoking huts.

As for the pit.

Last year while talking to the staff they had said that some of the artists had complained that they were too far away from the audience. The audience last year was a good 50 feet away from the stage. The artists wanted to get out and interact with the audience more. Jacoby didn’t let the distance stop him last year he just jumped off the stage and went out into the audience. This year RUSA tried to remedy the situation by creating a standing only pit. This put the audience about 10 feet away from the stage and artists. However, the problem still exists that without a catwalk the talent cannot get out and interact with the audience. There is still a barrier. In addition,  Rock USA had decided to make a pit area that would be in front of the VIP area. This caused concern to the VIP patrons because they would now not have the prime view they used to.

Now, about the music. Leading up to the days of RUSA I had seen many ads for people selling their VIP packages citing that this year was just not in their wheelhouse of musical taste. So, I was wondering if this year was going to be a success compared to other years. That concern was put to rest when Cutter got up on the stage and announced that this year was the best one both financially and in attendance numbers. So, there you have it. Northeast Wisconsin wants their modern rock.

But now you are asking what about the bands??? How were they?

Well first, unlike last year I was not privy to a VIP pass, but I did have a photo pass. This allowed me to be in the space between the standing audience pit and the stage. So I was right up against the stage. It was awesome except I only got to be there for 3 songs.

The artists were amazing. I love modern rock so all the artists were top notch.

I also have to give a big shout out to all the Sheriffs, Police Officers and Security Guards that were there. They were very visible and made sure everyone was safe.

The cost of food, drinks and merch was the same as it was last year. Expensive.

Also to be honest. Last year if you read my article we won a whole package from The Razor and camped for four days. For some reason we were more tired this time around. It was exhausting. I don’t know why but by the third night I felt like I had been beat up, chewed up, spit out and ground up.

But if you love music there’s nothing better than hearing Corey Taylor live or Shinedown or seeing the theatrics of In This Moment.

Enjoy our pictures and we hope to see you out there next year.







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