Friday, June 6, 2003
The summer lull of chirping crickets is not likely to be audible this Saturday.
A pack of bands will unleash its fury on rock lovers' ears at an event that is part carnival and one part commotion.
For the past 11 years, radio station 98.9 The Rock has developed its version of the ultimate concert experience: Rockfest. Throughout the decade, the event has transformed into much more than just bands and beer.
The equation now includes ladies, lions and lawn seats.
This year the 11-plus hour festival at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on June 7 features headliner Godsmack, Saliva, hed (pe), Seether, Cold and others.
The setup has come a long way from the first year at Smithville Lake.
"It was a one-lane road to and from Smithville Lake," said Jim Bone, 98.9's nightly DJ. "After a few hours of still not getting anywhere, my buddy and I turned around and left."
The current location at the Verizon has the space for not only two stages, but for a cast of characters that are now an integral part of the Rockfest experience.
- Saturday, June 7, 2003, 12:30 p.m.
- Capitol Federal Park @ Sandstone, 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs, KS
- All ages / $19 - $35
The Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and Foundation, an organization based in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas that rescues neglected and unwanted animals, will bring along its "Big Cats" -- think Cougar, not Calico.
The felines won't be alone in the zoo.
The women of Lawrence's own gentlemen's club The Outhouse, 1837 N. 1500 St., are featured this year at the station's annual Heavy Petting Zoo.
Cory Van Pelt, promoter 98.9, said the Heavy Petting Zoo had an uncanny way of luring people into its realm.
"At first, people walk by and think it's kind of stupid, but then they see what's actually inside," Van Pelt said. "Then they say, 'Hey, that's kind of cool.'"
Fans of the Heavy Petting Zoo have another reason to head out to Rockfest this year - morning disc jockey Johnny Dare's Team of Flashers.
Dare will also display his Dragster and 1953 Chevy Pickup at the event.
Despite the numerous vendors and sideshows, the creators of Rockfest have always focused on the music first and foremost, evening deejay Bone said.
"On a personal level, the music is the best part for me," said Bone, who recalled the 1998 Rockfest in particular. "I love percussion, so I couldn't believe I was lucky enough a few years back to stand next to Charlie (Benante) from Anthrax while he was playing drums on stage. I'm still a fan of these musicians."
The bands will sign autographs in a designated booth throughout the day.
And for Bone's fellow music aficionados, Rockfest promises exposure to artists who may not yet have steady play on the radio.
A second stage is devoted to up-and-comers like Tallahassee, Flor., band Presence.
For rap-metal band Presence, appearing with acts that have differing styles of rock could be an iffy situation. But bassist D.J. Stange has been able to gauge audience's reactions from touring with many of the Rockfest bands in the past.
"I don't know if about people's different musical tastes these days, but I'll tell you this -- Audiences have responded well to all of these bands," Stange said.