The Arka Tech

Get off my lawn!­­— new rock and an old soul

As we approach the summer concert season, music festivals around the country are announcing lineups. Many of these festivals are centered around rock music, with a focus on modern rock. One of these, “Rocklahoma,” has only had this format for the last few years.

When “Rocklahoma” started in 2007, it became known as the premier 80s rock festival, with some even calling it “Hair Metal Woodstock.” Prominent 80s bands, such as Poison, Ratt and Twisted Sister performed in front of thousands of metalheads.

The festival, held in Pryor, Oklahoma, kept the same format until 2010, when AEG Live took over. If you’ve gone to many events, there’s a good chance that you’ve been to an AEG event, with the company being one of the top entertainment presenters in the world.

AEG is also in charge of booking other prominent rock festivals, such as “Rock On The Range” in Columbus, Ohio and “Carolina Rebellion” in Charlotte, North Carolina. These festivals feature a mix of newer and older rock bands, leaning more towards newer.

When “Rocklahoma” began going in the same direction, it upset many fans, including myself, who felt as if the festival had been taken away from them.

Looking back on it, I probably went way too far and made a fool of myself. I made negative posts online, ranted about it on my podcast and even called the offices at AEG to speak to these evil promoters who had committed such terrible crimes against music.

I’m glad I made that phone call because I was properly put in my place. I left a long rant on one booking agent’s voicemail, and it just happened to be the one that was in charge of booking “Rocklahoma.” He called me back, which still amazes me. After all, I was just an angry, complaining kid. I wasn’t an investor or a sponsor of any kind. He didn’t have to call me back.

While on the phone with the agent, he explained to me that the old format of the festival simply wasn’t working anymore. The attendance had gone down, and the organizers were losing money. He also reminded me that they weren’t cutting out the older bands. In fact, that year featured bands such as ZZ Top and Cinderella, two of my favorites.

I’m extremely passionate about music. It’s always been a big part of my life, and it’s one of the few things I’ve always been able to get enjoyment from. That being said, I’m old-fashioned in my tastes, and I haven’t always been the most open-minded person; although I’m proud to say I’ve put that behind me, for the most part.

There are some great new rock bands out there, but most of the music just doesn’t work for me at all, and that’s okay. I’ve always been told by people that I have an old soul, and I guess that’s true, but I also have some of that “get off my lawn” attitude. In some ways, I’m a grumpy old man, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with everybody else. Music is music. If it works for someone, it’s valid. When we argue over what kind of music is good and bad, we’re killing the entire point of why music exists. It’s life.

This year’s “Rocklahoma” features a good mix of new and old bands, such as Def Leppard, Soundgarden, Jackyl, Buckcherry and more. Sounds good to me!

For more information, visit www.rocklahoma.com.