The madness that has been 2022 so far will be some for the history books, but soon came mid July and it was time to make the trip down I-71 in Ohio toward Mansfield for another sold-out Inkcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival. Coming off a great year in 2021 where they had a record 75,000 people in attendance, Dan Wimmer Presents came back this year with a roaring lineup of more than 60 bands that featured a little something for everyone. Their goal this year was to outdo last year in every way, and dare I say they did. With tickets quickly selling out months before the show it was clear this year was going to be another for the record books.
Friday morning, the sun out, not a cloud in the sky, scanning wristbands and walking into the venue felt like entering a whole different world with the fresh smells of delicious foods, and of course the awesome sound that is live music. With the crowd growing by the minute grabbing their food and drinks, walking through the Reformatory (Where “The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed), and getting a tattoo in Tattoo X it was clear the festival was off to a great start. Starting the day off were Inkcarceration veterans Paul Bartolome, From Ashes to New and Impending Lies whose performances melted audiences and started the Metal Fever burning. Inkcarceration first timers Born of Osiris, DED, and Sleeping with Sirens made sure to leave their mark on the festival as well. The day ended with a dominating performance from I Prevail, followed by legendary bands Three Days Grace and Papa Roach. The final performance was none other than the mighty Korn who dominated the stage with the songs “Y’all Wanna Single”, “Cold”, “Shoots and Ladders”, “Freak On A Leash”, and ended Day 1 with their performance of the classic “Blind”.
The thought of going to sleep after such an incredible Day 1 felt impossible, but no sooner was the alarm sounding and it was time to rock Day 2. Starting off Day 2 I took a stroll through the Mansfield Reformatory. The infamous building definitely lives up to the stories and rumors that precede it. Walking through the cell blocks you get an ominous sensation that you are being watched. The decor of the building was decrepit and beat down which is a perfect way to sum up Day 2’s performances: an absolute beat down. Walking out of the prison I was greeted with Volumes playing their song “Weighted” and that set the tone for the rest of the day. Spiritbox and Avatar soon followed and brought such energy you could almost touch it. Zakk Wylde and co from Black Label Society started out the evening while Falling in Reverse and Evanescence warmed up the audience for the night’s headliner, Breaking Benjamin. They opened the show with “Blow Me Away” and had a setlist featuring “Angels Fall”,“So Cold”, “Red Cold River”. Following an incredible drum solo they finished the night out ending with the ever-classic “The Diary of Jane”. The end of the festival was near, but still oh so far away with so many bands left to perform.
On Day 3, Inkmates awoke to dark gray clouds and heavy rainfall and an hour-long delay for the opening of festival doors. However, DWP and co, the bands, and of course all the concertgoers wouldn’t let some measly rain put a damper on the final day of an incredible weekend and with that the doors were open. Sunday’s lineup was one for the ages with performances from bands such as Veil of Maya, Butcher Babies, John 5, and Nothing More. For me personally, the weekend was made when Lamb of God took the stage. The soft opening for “Memento Mori” started, and at the drop of the drums the loud bang of fireworks hit. The energy never left the stage and the boys from Richmond, VA murdered that stage. The setlist was a perfect mix of classics and new hits featuring songs such as “Ruin”, “11th Hour”, their new single “Nevermore”, and of course “Redneck”. With the rain still coming down, the mud flying in every direction, and some very soaked but ready Inkmates it was time to bring in the final headliner for the weekend, Disturbed. Opening their set with “Ten Thousand Fists” followed by “Inside the Fire” it was clear Disturbed came ready to knock every last person off their feet. Their set was brought to an end with the outstanding performance of “Down With the Sickness”, and thus Inkcarceration 2022 was finished.
Driving back home after such an incredible weekend I had time to reflect upon the countless Metalheads I met, the stories shared, memories made, friendships built, and most of all the music performed. My ears are still ringing, and it feels like tomorrow I am waking up and going back to the festival again. DWP had one goal with this year’s festival and having seen the huge success that was this weekend I’d say they nailed it! I am already looking forward to seeing what DWP and team have cooking up for 2023, but only time will tell. But until then its time to get off my feet, drink a water, and get ready to play the waiting game for next year’s fun.
Adam Grassi, July 21, 2022