What: Mayhem Music Festival
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre – St. Louis, MO
When: July 19, 2011
For those unfamiliar with the weather in the Midwest let me just say that summers here are BRUTALLY hot!! July 19 was no exception, I think at one point the temperature hit 120 after factoring in humidity. My day of ‘Mayhem’ started at 7:45am when I arrived at Verizon Wireless, to start my first day as a ‘runner’. Now when I got a call asking if I ever wanted to be a ‘runner’ the first thing to pop in my head was “well I mean I used to run track in Elementary school and Junior High, but I mean the thought has crossed my mind I do need to get into shape.” Then it was explained to me that a ‘runner is someone that does, the dirty work if you will, for bands and or the venue during a bigger show such as Mayhem Fest, Warped Tour, etc. In this case I was being asked to be a runner for Mayhem Fest! Now I already was supposed to be getting a press pass for the show, but when the words “You will be paid for this” came out of my friends mouth, I couldn’t say no.
So I arrive at the venue and there is nothing set up, not even the two side stages, at least not yet they still had about six hours before the doors were to open and the first band took stage. I didn’t know what to expect from my day of running or whom I was even going to be running for, I was going to get one of the headlining acts (Godsmack, Disturbed, Megadeth), catering, or production. This being my first time doing anything like this I was hoping for the easiest possible, but also crossing my fingers that I got one of the bands, makes for a better story. The moment of truth came around 8:30 when one of the workers for Mayhem Fest came into the Verizon Production room and gave us our assigned duties, keep in mind I have never done this before and was also hoping to be put with someone that had a clue as to what to do, I got assigned to Godsmack; by myself.
I was actually pretty ecstatic when I was told this, I would have been regardless of which band I got, I was just happy I got a band and not one of the other duties. I met up with Godsmack’s Production Manager and was immediately put to work. I did all kinds of work for the band including (making signs, going grocery shopping, taking laundry to laundry mat, picking up a few of the members, running to Guitar Center, and picking up after performance meals) just to name a few things. I had my hopes set on at least seeing In Flames and Machine Head, if I got to see any of the bands. However I was running around nonstop except to eat lunch and much later dinner from about 9-9. It sucked, but was 100% worth it. I had such an awesome time doing these things that most people don’t get to say they did every day, was in an air conditioned car almost all day avoiding the heat that others had to suffer in (especially the bands), and on top of it all I got to hang out backstage and talk to some really cool people!
I did get to catch Godsmack and Disturbed’s sets. I watched Godsmack from the side of the stage; I had my camera on me so I got some pretty amazing shots. I only was able to catch like 3 songs of their set, I got to say it ROCKED they put on such an amazing show, if you haven’t caught them live yet and the Mayhem Fest is coming to your town I highly suggest watching them! Disturbed also put on a good show, I was getting my dinner during part of their set, but the few songs I caught were definitely awesome. I had seen them a few times before so I wasn’t too upset that I missed some of the set, though had I known at the time that this would be the last time they play in St. Louis for quite a while, I might have held off on the food or at least taken it with me out to the seats. So if you are debating going to the Mayhem Fest, maybe you think it will be too hot or some other lame excuse not to go, do yourself a favor and go. . it’s a badass lineup and I mean if you are a fan of Disturbed this is the last time you will get to see them in America! As of a few days ago the band has announced their indefinite hiatus/disbanding, they have pyro and an excellent light show along with many large screens with some video/psychedelic prints that show throughout their set.
At the end of the night I was exhausted, but it was a good exhausted. Not only did I get to work with a cool band, I got hit on by some extremely cute girls, and well got to party with some of the guys in Machine Head and Suicide Silence listening to ‘Ghost’. Also it was Rob Flynn of Machine Head’s Birthday so I got to share some of his Birthday Cake with him. Overall great experience, I know it won’t be the same experience if you attend the all day festival yourself, but with In Flames, Machine Head, Trivium, Suicide Silence, Straight Line Stitch and many more I can’t think of a better way to spend your money!