Nearly 50,000 heavy metal and rock music fans are expected to descend upon Discovery Park this month for the two-day Monster Energy Aftershock festival.
That number makes Aftershock the largest annual music gathering in Sacramento. With an estimated half of attendees coming from out of state, the effect is wider reaching.
“This is a festival that, if this is your genre, it’s one that’s not missed,” said Mike Testa, CEO of Visit Sacramento. “For the hard rock genre, it has absolutely put Sacramento on the map.”
The sixth iteration of Aftershock will take place Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct.22, melding nearly three dozen acts into one weekend of continuous hard rock. Here are a few things to know about Aftershock before you grab your black T-shirt and vape pen and head to the festival.
Never miss a local story.
Aftershock is about more than just music.
Clay Busch, vice president of marketing for Aftershock producer Danny Wimmer Presents, said organizers prefer to think of the event not as a concert or festival but as “California’s biggest rock experience.”
That, of course, starts on the stages, of which there are three set up around Discovery Park. But the event has built up its other offerings this year, and they include a wine garden, a sports bar, nearly 20 food options – from vendors including Drewski’s, Barrett’s Burgers and La Mex Taqueria – and interactive music and art exhibits.
The wine garden highlights Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards, which are owned by Maynard James Keenan, co-founder of the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle. While Coors Light remains the official beer of Aftershock, Busch said, craft beer offerings will include brews inspired by Megadeth and Iron Maiden.
“If anything, I think the experience of Aftershock is turning into an all-killer, no-filler kind of non-stop event,” Busch said.
Top acts include heavy-metal royalty.
Headlining the festival Sunday is rock icon Ozzy Osbourne, the former Black Sabbath frontman-turned-reality-TV star, who will make his first appearance at Aftershock. Metal’s “Prince of Darkness” will be joined by guitarist Zakk Wylde, and they likely will perform a range of songs from Osbourne’s four-decade career.
“If you’ve never seen (Osbourne) before, man, what an incredible set,” Busch said.
Busch said timing this year allowed Aftershock to land both Osbourne and Saturday’s top act, Nine Inch Nails, whom he called “a natural fit” for the festival. Nine Inch Nails, founded by Trent Reznor, returned to the live stage this summer after a three-year hiatus.
“It’s going to be a greatest-hits set,” Busch said of NIN. “I’m sure they’ll play a lot of songs the core rock fan fell in love with.”
The festival brings major money to the city.
Aftershock drew nearly 50,000 attendees over two days in 2016 and expects similar numbers this year. Only about 20 percent are from the Sacramento area, Busch said. So the two-day influx of visiting rock fans means a financial jolt for the region.
Testa said the festival can generate nearly $10 million for the area economy. He said that includes more hotel room rentals than for most of the city’s major conventions, and that Aftershock spends more than $1 million on area businesses to help put on the festival.
“It’s a huge piece of business for Sacramento from an economic-impact standpoint,” Testa said.
Lesser-known bands have broken big here.
Nothing More, scheduled to perform at 1:55 p.m. Oct. 21 on the Monster Stage, is an Aftershock success story. Busch said the Texan rock quartet was a relative unknown when it first played at the festival in 2013. But the band’s performance was so striking that it led to competing offers for a record deal.
Nothing More has since released two studio albums, a self-titled record and the follow-up “The Stories We Tell Ourselves.” Their song “Go to War” was featured in a spot for the latest “Planet of the Apes” movie and reached No. 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock song charts.
This year’s lineup doesn’t feature many up-and-coming acts, Busch said, as organizers steered toward proven bands. The result is a diverse lineup featuring such acts as Five Finger Death Punch, Run the Jewels, Tech N9ne and A Perfect Circle. Marilyn Manson, who had been scheduled to appear, will miss the festival, it was announced Tuesday.
Kids are welcome – but parents, be smart.
Aftershock is an all-ages event. But parents who plan to bring small children should be aware of two things: Noise and language.
On its website, which features an extensive FAQ section for attendees, Aftershock urges parents to bring “hearing protection” for their children. Busch said staff members near the stages wear headphones to guard against high decibel drums and guitars.
As for words that might come from microphones or attendees’ mouths, well, this is a rock festival.
“You can’t control language sometimes, and it is a loud event,” Busch said. “So it’s up to the parents to be parents at the same time.”
Monster Energy Aftershock Festival
When: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 21 and noon-9 p.m. Oct. 22
Where: Discovery Park (1000 Garden Highway, Sacramento)