COLUMBUS — No matter what you do, happiness is the ultimate goal. Were the two neck-bearded gentlemen in the medical tent at Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival having fun? It was hard to tell.

The nurse asked them what was wrong. 

“I was in the mosh pit and got kicked in the head. Wondering if I can have a few Tylenol?” the man asked.

The nurse said sure and then turned to the man next to him.

“Same,” he said.

One of the largest rock n’ roll festivals in America was in north central Ohio’s backyard on Saturday, at Historic Crew Stadium. It’s the same site where Madison won a girls’ soccer championship and where the first ever soccer-specific stadium was constructed. 

When you think of festivals, like Cochella or Bonnaroo, you may picture a giant sea of people crushed together as dirty dreadlocks smack you in the face when the dancing starts.

It’s the opposite at Crew Stadium, where the three stages were spread across a massive concrete stadium infrastructure, built on fairground land so space was never an issue. 

Oh and there was amazing music covering all tastes on niches of rock n roll, including Foo Fighters, Kiss, Tool, Avenged Sevenfold, Jawbreaker, Sublime with Rome and Rob Zombie, to name a few. Classic rock to death core – you could easily find a stage that aligned with your musical tastes. 

As the day and heat and alcohol progressed, more people needed naps. You’d catch their collapsed souls on different shade spots, belly down, hair scraped over their faces to block out the humanity. 

But the majority of the thousands of fans had no issues–there were countless porter pots, plus built-in stadium bathrooms (second floor of the stadium has pretty much empty bathrooms, pro tip), free water hydration stations and massive cooling fans were set up below the stages to pelt people with wind refreshment. 

Some level of movement is required at an outdoor festival, so keep that in mind. 

“I hate walking, but other than that this fest is awesome,” Columbus resident and Ashland native Andrew Kerr said. 

Remember, it’s a four-day fest; and there are so many influential and amazing bands on Sunday. 


A coincidental theme of Friday’s lineup was the progression of women in rock. It’s no longer one-off novelty acts like Joan Jett, but bands blasting ballads backed by smart songwriting and monster female vocals.

Let your ears decide; don’t take my word for it, check out: War by Brutus or Choose Me by BAND-MAID (over 60 million total views on YouTube for the Japanese all-female band that wear maid outfits on stage) or Raise Hell by Dorothy, just to name a few that played Friday. 

Great to see metal thrashcore Converge was still playing after a couple decades of the scar-causing and wrinkle-forming rock life. Most of the fans were flocking to Chevelle as a pocket of punks moshed to Converge at the Soundwave Stage. 

If you like people watching, Sonic Temple beats any airport, county fair or a deep south Alabama Wal-mart. Listen, I don’t know a lot about certain things, but there’s no way walking around all day in a thong can be comfortable. Just sayin. 

crowd shot outdoor

Some of the best shirt one-liners aren’t fit for print, but the “I liked that band in high school” really hit home for an old rocker like me and I questioned the pretentious nature of my musical tastes. The first album is usually the best, it’s not my fault! 

Beyond the music, Sonic Temple is also an art fest. Vendors were set up along the perimeter of the border fences, selling art as well as adding to the atmosphere. Vendor booths, full of all the skull finger rings you could want. 

The rows of food vendors were a solid mix of ethnic varieties and the lines moved quickly. 

Night was falling as Queens of the Stone Age played their first show in five years on the main stage and someone in a Pickle Rick costume was crowd surfing as beach balls were batted back and forth. 

If you’re curious about Sunday’s, it’s outlined on the Sonic Temple site. 

All the best crowd shots, outfits and costumes will be on display when the Sonic Temple photo gallery runs in a couple of days! 

Sonic Temple


The Life & Culture section is powered by University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center.

Digital Marketing Director for Source Brand Solutions / Source Media. Also I write and climb mountains. Wine is cool.

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