October 2

Inkcarceration 2021 helped us escape the prisons of our minds for 3 days of music and unity.


After the craziness we all dealt with that was the year 2020, man was it great to reunite with our musical friends and family and take in the positive energy that comes with a Danny Wimmer Presents music festival. The Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival has always been a favorite but you could see how much it’s grown from start to finish the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield late Sunday evening as Rob Zombie closed out the festival became HOLY. There was a feeling of unity and love of live music that brought over 75,000 fans together, leaving political and religious and personal medical choice differences back at home for the weekend. Speaking of our homes, it was however ironic that after a year of the powers that be keeping us locked in our homes like a prison, the first place us Metal Heads marched united was back into a prison.

Many fans came out dressed for the occasion in leather, lace, studs, and their favorite comic book hero tights. Everyone seemed equally eager to break off the shackles of the last year and a half. And that same intensity seemed apparent from all the bands performing as well. Some of the bands on Friday were New Year’s Day, Ice Nine Kills, Mastodon, and the day’s closer, Slipknot. Steel Panther took the stage and introduced fans to temporary bass player Silky Pocket, while Michael and Satchel played grab ass and settled into a familiar routine of raunchy humor and bad-ass songs. The most interesting performance of the day came from Badflower. Lead singer Josh Katz took the stage and told the crowd that his laryngitis would prevent him from singing during their set but that they would jam anyway. They played familiar tunes, asking the crowd to sing along, then broke out into a Woodstock-inspired jam of Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Ohio”. Their performance, even though it was entirely instrumental, was one of the highlights of the day.

A personal highlight for me that I will NEVER FORGET was on Saturday when a sea of rowdy headbangers across the entire festival grounds stopped whatever they were doing for a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of 911, you could hear a pin drop and it definitely brought a tear of gratitude and feeling of hope for our nation to this veterans heart, especially when followed by a stirring performance of the National Anthem by Cincinnati-native Kala Rose of Saving Escape. THANK YOU DWP for that. Another one of my favorites of the day was Diamante and I’m glad that I took the time to walk over to the other stage to catch her performance. The band was tight, and Diamante’s vocals sounded spot-on, especially during “War Cry” and I loved their Goo Goo Dolls cover. The evening’s final band, Mudvayne, took the stage after a ten year hiatus to a crowd that was more than ready to welcome them back. Opening their set with “Not Falling”, they immediately grabbed the fans and didn’t let go until the final notes of “World So Cold”. It was an outstanding performance and a great end to the day’s music lineup.

I took in the rest of the fest on Sunday, checking out the tattoo artists work, as well as, take a tour of the Mansfield Reformatory, otherwise known as “the Shawshank Prison”. The tour was self-guided, and we were able to travel through the cellblocks, the warden’s quarters, and the chapel at our own pace.

The lineup on the final day was just as jam-packed as the rest – starting with Fever 333, who brought a little girl up on stage, pointing out that she and the other young kids were “the future, our future” and that we should protect them so they could keep the music going. Adding “we don’t hurt each other, we stand together” they brought the house down with “Out of Control” and “Burn It”. As the sun set on the horizon, Halestorm took the stage with “Freak Like Me”, Lzzy had the crowd jumping, singing, clapping along with her incredibly clear vocals. “Love Bites” and “I Get Off” sounded fantastic as well and the fans continued to roar their approval throughout the set. Finishing with “I Miss the Misery”, Halestorm left the stage. And as the night turned black, it was time for headliner Rob Zombie, who roared onto the stage with “The Triumph of King Freak”. It was a non-stop, in your face, no-holds-barred, monsters of metal party and the fans that stayed until the end were rewarded with an outstanding performance –I was whupped and happy to be heading home, but already anxiously awaiting July 2022 to see my friends and metal family again.

More photos from the weekend found here. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=DomainCLE&set=a.10160577314004672