Review by Marie-Christine Quirion
Photography Credit Sean Matthews
After a record-breaking weekend, the week before in Florida at Welcome to Rockville, Danny Wimmer and his team headed to Columbus, Ohio for a second memorable 4-day weekend. Thursday May 25th launched the second edition of Sonic Temple – Art & Music Festival. We must remember that while this was the 2nd edition of Sonic Temple, being born from Rock on the Range (2007 to 2018) and, in 2019 after Danny Wimmer Presents rebrand the famous festival to what it is today. No need to say that with headliners such as Tool, Avenged Sevenfold, KISS and Foo Fighters, the success of the 2023 edition was assured. In fact, 130,000 fans took over the Historic Crew Stadium to enjoy the 70+ bands on 3 different stages over the 4-day weekend.
On top of the long time expected headliners, the line up was also loaded with talented artists and musicians like the famous Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Falling in Reverse, Deftones, Sublime, Bullet For My Valentine, Bad Omens, I Prevail, Sleeping With Sirens and so many more.
Beartooth was at home on Thursday and almost lit the stage on fire with their performance and pyro for their long time fans who packed the stadium to show their love and support to the band. Bloodywood from New Delhi (India) won a few more fans with their amazing performance mixing metal music with a touch of Bollywood. Including the typical guitar, bass and drum, the band also added to their sound dhol, flute, some death growl, Indian and rap verses. A must see live performance. Godsmack also surprised fans on Thursday night, inviting their friend Brad Whitford from Aerosmith to join him on stage for the cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On‘ and The Beatles ‘Come Together.’
On the second night Queens Of The Stone Age jumped on stage for their first time live since 2020 to warm up the crowd for Avenged Sevenfold who we also walk back on stage for the first time in 5 years. Foo Fighters is the band who had the honour of closing the 2023 edition with their new touring drummer Josh Freese. As part of his introduction, performing a medley of some of the many songs Freese has performed in his career with bands he’s previously worked with.
Even if Welcome To Rockville was a record breaker in the Sunshine State, Sonic Temple had nothing to envy compared to any other festival. The stage layout, side by side – one inside and one outside the stadium, with a third stage not too far, the travel/walking distance between the stages as well as the site entertainment was much easier & enjoyable than bigger venues (like WTR). Allowing the crowd to enjoy more activities, more music, more food and helped to encourage more charity booths at the venue. Most fans had the chance to see more bands, get a better view (or a little rest!) in the stadium seating area and with better weather.
A few more years, and I am convinced that Sonic Temple will return to its previous glory, as the next Danny Wimmer Presents record breaker music festival.