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Let’s Get Rocked

With headliners Def Leppard, Soundgarden and The Offspring, Rocklahoma again promises heavy doses of nostalgia-drenched rock, party atmosphere, and the perfect soundtrack for friendship rekindling.

Hannah Gray Gordon
April 29, 2017

One of the most popular music events in the nation is located in the heart of Oklahoma. Rocklahoma dates back to 2007, when it began as an ‘80s hair band festival and catered to a very niche audience. As it grew, so did the demand for more variety. Now, the event boasts an abundance of bands from different styles of the rock genre as well as an attendance of more than 70,000.

Joe Litvag, senior vice president for AEG and executive producer for Rocklahoma, personally heads up organizing the festival to guarantee a safe and fun environment for all. With an impressive roster of musicians slated to perform, the process of booking talent for the festivals is an ongoing process. “I’m already looking at 2018,” he says. “Who will have an impact on the audience? What trends are we seeing on social media? Everything is a factor. It’s kind of a science.”

Litvag and the festival owners start with the headlining bands and work their way down from there. As it stands, the festival roster for 2017 is complete with headliners Def Leppard, Three Days Grace, Soundgarden, Stone Sour, The Offspring, and Seether.

Def Leppard is a band Litvag says they have wanted to appear for several years, but the timing never worked with their tour schedule. As bands adjust to the times and schedule their travels progressively further in advance, often the ability to attend festivals like this are just as much chance as effort. This year, Def Leppard managed to line up their tour dates with the festival to ensure their attendance, sealing the deal on yet another band on the Rocklahoma bucket list. “We started talks in early 2016 to be able to adjust the time frame of their tour for a better fit,” Litvag says.

‍With fans traveling from all over the country, it’s often an annual reunion for friends made during previous years.
‍With fans traveling from all over the country, it’s often an annual reunion for friends made during previous years.

The festival runs through Memorial Day Weekend with the unique feature of campgrounds to stay on. Instead of dispersing to hotel rooms and homes at the end of each night, many attendees camp out in tents and RVs to enjoy a bigger sense of community than most festivals offer, an experience almost as exciting as the festival itself.

“It’s one giant party from Thursday through Sunday,” Litvag says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

With fans traveling from all over the country, it’s often an annual reunion for friends made during previous years. Campgrounds open May 21 and close May 30 with a campground party being held May 25. Camping passes must be purchased with tickets. General camping passes are available, but the amazing VIP camping pass adds up-close access to the VIP concert entrance

Inclement weather is no stranger to Oklahoma, and May is no exception. With the potential for severe weather at its highest for the year, the outdoor festival takes steps to ensure the health and safety of everyone on its grounds. The National Weather Service has a meteorologist on-site to constantly monitor weather conditions and patterns to ensure action isn’t taken too late. “We take weather very seriously,” Litvag says. “We won’t hesitate to put our emergency protocols in place if the situation calls for it.”

In the case of severe weather, employees and fans will be evacuated until it’s safe to return and resume festivities. Part of the safety protocols include colored flags that represent the current situation, from white for “all clear” to red for “take cover immediately.”

In addition to the amazing campgrounds, multiple vendors set up throughout the area to provide a variety of food and drink options so that fans have everything they need for the weekend, with no need to leave for the weekend if desired. Tickets are available both in weekend packages and for single days.

Every year, Rocklahoma is able to fulfill more of its bucket list of artists, with Soundgarden and The Offspring among the new performers on the roster. Each year, the festival is tinkered with and tweaked to make the experience more enjoyable for the increasing number of fans attending.

Featured Bands Scheduled to Perform*

Friday | May 26
Def Leppard
Three Days Grace
Pierce the Veil
The Pretty Reckless

Saturday | May 27
Stone Sour
The Cult
Zakk Sabbath
Suicidal Tendencies
Dead Metal Society

Sunday | May 28
The Offspring
Taking Back Sunday
Black Stone Cherry

* For a full lineup, check out the Rocklahoma website.

Catch the Fever Festival Grounds
1421 W. 450 Road | Pryor
May 26-28