Story and Photos: Audrey Wright
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I’m not one usually one for festivals but 89.7 The River's Rockfest was pretty awesome! On Saturday afternoon (8/20) Westfair Amphitheater in Council Bluffs, IA welcomed some of the biggest bands on the active rock radio scene. I had originally planned on taking my brother but I ended up attending with my aunt who is a huge fan of the band Bush.
The weather wasn’t too bad to start, it did rain a couple times but nothing concerning. This venue is out in the middle of a cornfield so the weather is always a factor and can be quite unpredictable. I started to feel the excitement as we pulled into the parking lot and could already hear the blaring rock guitars.
We were able to catch the last part of Messer’s set while walking in, but unfortunately we weren't early enough to shoot the local openers. Messer sounded great though. My aunt actually knows their music producer so we got to meet them and hang for a little bit before Bush came on. I met some great people as well, including Will Corlett, a photographer and DJ based out of Kansas City, MO. We talked about shows we have done, camera gear, and life in general. Shout out to Will for being an awesome dude and cheering me on.
Bush was the first of the big three bands to start the evening. Before they went on I met up with Pam, from Go Venue magazine and Ryan who was shooting for Adam at Revenant Media. We were all super excited to go in. Bush’s set was fantastic. Gavin Rossdale was very interactive with the crowd. He jumped down into the pit and sang to people in the crowd. After the first three songs were done, I went back out and got some crowd shots. Gavin Rossdale whizzed past Ryan and I and ran all the way up around the venue singing to everyone in the crowd. I had to do a double take for a second because he ran past us so fast. I didn’t know who it was until I saw his security team take off after him. They played new songs and their older hits too. It was a really great performance.
Breaking Benjamin was next. I have to be honest, I’ve only heard a few of their songs here and there so I had no idea what to expect. They really brought the heat, literally! Their set was filled pyrotechnics that melted the first few front rows. Crazy stage lights were also a plus. Their performance went very well. A lot of people were crowd surfing during their set and were really hyped up for them. Breaking Benjamin’s lead singer, Benjamin Burnley, was very humble and thanked everyone for being there. He said that this was easily the best show they have played so far, and they took a photo with the crowd.
Alice In Chains was the last band to close out Rockfest, as they should. Alice In Chains is from my hometown, Seattle, WA. I grew up hearing their music everywhere. It was definitely an awesome moment for me to not only shoot for a band that is from my stomping grounds, but also it’s freaking Alice In Chains! Rest In Peace, Layne Staley. We did have to shoot from the soundboard for them but I had a great time. Everyone was super nice. The crowd went insane. Who wouldn’t? It was a great way to close out another year of Rockfest.
Thank you to the Alice In Chains team for having me out. I had a wonderful time. Also thank you to all the crew who worked tirelessly to put on a great show for all of us to watch. Your work never goes unnoticed. Another year at Rockfest has come to a close and I’m really grateful that I got to cover it. Until next time friends.
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Alice In Chains
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