Forget what your hip friends may have said, rock and roll is more alive today than it has been since the dawn of the new Millennium. I didn’t want to believe it myself at first, but after spending a weekend in rural Wisonsin attending a Monster Energy sponsored festival called Northern Invasion I can come to no other conclusion. Tens of thousands of people descended on the sleepy town of Somerset May 13-15, with many sleeping on the same grounds where the festival took place. The lineup included a diverse collection of rock’s biggest stars and hottest newcomers, including many groups you’ve probably seen right here on our site in recent months.
With photographer Ben Howell at my side, two whole days were spent under the sun amongst some of rock’s most devoted fans. The temperature never broke 70, but those in attendance didn’t seem to care. Black hoodies over black shirts was a common sighting, as were blue jeans and vape pens. I even saw several dozen cigarette smokers, which in my experience is as rare in a public space these days as a white peacock (and twice as disgusting). These attendees spanned from children to people well over fifty, but they were all united by a shared desire to rock, and that is exactly what they did.
What follows are highlights from our time at Northern Invasion. We were unable to capture every band that played the festival’s three stages, but we can attest to thoroughly enjoying every single act we were able to see. From A Day To Remember’s ability to make the main stage feel like an intimate club space, to the bone-crushing heaviness of Parkway Drive’s relentless onslaught of Australian metal, there was plenty to see and love at every turn. These photos probably won’t make you feel as if you were there, but we do hope they encourage you to get off your butt and attend some rock shows in the coming months. There are countless rock festivals taking place all over the country this summer, and we guarantee your life will be better if you make the trek to experience one or more for yourself.
A Day To Remember
Bring Me The Horizon
Want to see more shots from our time at Northern Invasion? Heard over to Ben Howell’s photography site to see full sets from each band