Is it possible for Kanrockas to make it past their first year and possibly even last longer in Kansas than Walkarusa did?
Just looking at the line up it’s obvious that promoters wanted a diverse mix of acts that could please anyone, with Eminem and Muse headlining a cast of artist such as STS9, Girl Talk, Primus, The Flaming Lips, Bassnectar and Ween just to name a few it wouldn’t be hard. With such a big line up and a huge venue this festival had a lot of potential for blowing up! So arriving at Kansas City Speed way in the early hours of the morning I expected to see the usual line of cars camped for the night waiting to get in. Surprisingly we were among the first twenty cars in line. Something that was great for us but I felt set a tone that this festival wasn’t going to meet promoters expectations for crowd size. I had also found out that they decided not to raise ticket prices the weekend of the festival like advertised, which I took as another sign of poor ticket sales. Though the line did start to take shape a couple hours before the gates opened to let everyone in, which gave some life and promise to what was to come for the rest of the weekend. Once inside the gates and parked in our camping spot it became apparent how large the Kansas City Speedway really is. It was something awesome to look at and I was in a bit of awe, but in the end it did make the experience a little bit harder.
The hike from the closer camping spots to the festival grounds was the usual trek made at any festival, but once inside it was another hike down a few flights of stairs and the angled race track before you reached the festival grounds. Now with the prices for food and alcohol set were they are at festivals these days being able to return to the campgrounds is essential and with the stairs and race track it became a long weekend. Once inside and staring out over the festival grounds it was easy to see how much room there was to work with and how well executed the set up of the stages was. The three stages and Critical Mass tent surrounded the rest of the festival grounds; this made all the music the same distance from all the food tucks and vendors. A really great set up for fans to easily experience all the music possible and with multiple mist tents and free water spots across the festival grounds the promoters really tried to make hydration easy for everyone.
There where a couple lacking points that caught me by surprise. First I’ll never understand how a backpack is any different than a large camel pack, humongous purse, or side pack. A back pack is an essential part of festival gear, and all the ban on back packs this year did was sell me on a large camel pack, which is the smart choice anyways! Second the festivals schedule was set up great there was always something to listen to, but not everyone wants to hear every band at the festival. Kanrockas could have used a lot more attractions out side the music. The Ferris wheel looked cool but wasn’t worth the price and the water slide just didn’t cut it. There where many great artist creating amazing live work as well as displaying it in an art gallery by the Critical Mass tent. Sadly though the only thing to do for free, which made me cringe a bit cause I don’t smoke was hang in the Marlboro truck. Offering air conditioning, a place to hang with couches, a free photo booth, music downloads and non alcoholic drinks to any one 21 w/id and an email, the Marlboro truck beat the heat and Kanrokas for things to do during down time. Which I have to say again to a festival that sports an angled race track and flights of stairs as the path to and from the camp sites, the more attractions inside the better! Over all Kanrockas had a stellar line up, setup and schedule that made me happy to be part of the first year. Hopefully what seemed like a low attendance won’t stop the promoters from trying again next year.
Will it out last the Wakarusa run in Kansas, only time will tell?