What do you get when you combine tattoos, hard rock & metal and a prison where a very well known movie (along with numerous music videos) were filmed? You get Inkcarceration festival. Formerly known as Ink In The Clink, people from near and far make the annual pilgrimage to the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio come the 2nd or 3rd weekend in July to get their faces melted, skin pricked, and enjoy a piece of history.
This year had some very welcome changes that included a better stage setup, free water and cooling stations (which were a blessing in that scorching sun), and some of the biggest headliners to set foot on the grounds.
Friday marked the festival’s opening day which started at 3pm. Performers that day included Broken Hands, Awake At Last, The Everyday Losers, The Funeral Portrait, Fozzy (go see them if you haven’t yet. Chris Jericho is a modern day Elvis Presley), The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Skillet, Taking Back Sunday, and closing out the night was Shinedown, who are also a very family-friendly, heavy, pyro-filled, crowd-pleasing act. They, too, are not ones to miss and give you every penny’s worth at their shows.
Saturday was the first of two sold out days. The temps, along with the energy, were high. Saturday hosted Impending Lies, Titans In Time, Monster Dolls, Raven Black, and Eyes Set To Kill. As the day went on, so did the party thanks to Buckcherry, Andrew W.K., and Motionless In White. Homegrown heroes Red Sun Rising, 90’s Alt-Rock greats Stabbing Westward and +Live+ kept the crowd alive for headliner, Godsmack, who not only killed it with an amazing and flame-heavy stage production, but also dropped some trivia on the crowd – did you know that the video for “Awake” was filmed on site at the prison? It’s true!
Finally, Sunday brought another sold-out crowd. Sets from Rivals, Scattered Hamlet, an encore performance from Monster Dolls, Smile Empty Soul, Beyond Unbroken, Issues, and Kerbera warmed up the crowd and got everyone ready for the rest of the day. Keeping it close to home was Starset, starting the halfway point of the day with a revamped, but still stellar, production. Tour circuit and Octane favorites From Ashes To New and I Prevail made appearances, right before heavyweights P.O.D. and Seether took to their stages. Closing the festival was Five Finger Death Punch. If you’ve never been to a FFDP show, do yourself a favor and go. Bring the kids, too. For a band that brings the blast beats, they create memorable moments as well. Ivan will invite the young fans up on the stage so that they can feel like little rock stars while the crowd goes wild.
All in all, it was a solid weekend. If you’ve never been, you should make the journey next year. It is worth it!
Photos and Review: John Sorrentino