How does one commemorate Friday the 13th when it falls on the Friday of a giant rock music festival?
Rock Fest organizers think dressing up as zombies and rewarding fans is a good way to celebrate.
The annual festival runs Thursday through Saturday at 24447 Highway S in Cadott, and Abby Maliszewski, Chippewa Valley Music Festivals spokeswoman, said it will mark the holiday by holding a zombie crawl throughout the grounds all day Friday.
The event is part of a celebration of the festival’s 25 years. Festival workers — many of whom she said also will be dressed accordingly — will be handing out prizes such as meet-and-greets and pit passes to those they deem have exceptional costumes.
“We wanted to celebrate Friday the 13th in true Rock Fest fashion,” Maliszewski said. “On a normal year, a lot of our fans get really into dressing up and developing their own costumes, so this year we’re just going to throw a huge party and expand that.”
A new path through the woods near the north campgrounds — that also was utilized for Country Fest, which takes place on the same grounds — will be transformed into a haunted woods. Maliszewski declined to share details in order to keep attendees surprised, but promised some spooky fun.
“There will be some creepy things in there, but hopefully not too terrifying,” she said.
Over on the campgrounds, Rock Fest is adding a new surprise that won’t be scary at all to most fans. Festival staff will deliver bloody marys, beers and screwdrivers to campers on Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings. Those can be purchased with cash or drink tickets. They will be delivered via a golf cart.
“If people have leftover tickets from the night before, they can use those to purchase these drinks,” Maliszewski said.
Rock Fest announced the new service on its Facebook page Monday morning, and it had festgoers posting comments with joy.
Honey LaSieur of Rice Lake posted on the video announcement of the delivery service, “I freaking love Rockfest!!!!! Just gets better and better.” LaSieur was one of many positive responses to the post.
That is Maliszewski’s hope for all Rock Fest attendees, whether its their first or 25th year. Each year they try to build on the community they’ve already created in order to keep attendees on their toes. Rock Fest, she said, is about more than the bands.
“We’re always excited to bring them great music, but we also want to provide more festival things,” she said. “They’re not just coming for a one-night concert.”
The lineup, though, is in itself a draw. It features a lot of bands that haven’t performed on the Rock Fest stages before, including two of the three headliners: Disturbed and Incubus. The third headliner, Godsmack, Maliszewski said has always been a crowd favorite.
Just ask Jon Hole of Eau Claire, who has attended 10 Rock Fests since 2006. He said Godsmack always “puts on a great show,” and is looking forward to seeing Disturbed.
Since he first started attending the festival, he said he’s seen the lineup change dramatically from classic rock ’n’ roll artists such as Journey and Kansas to more modern rock.
“That’s the rock I grew up with in high school, and we’re starting to see it now in Cadott, which is pretty cool,” he said. “I never would have thought I’d see Slipknot at Rock Fest, and they were there a few years back.”
He attends the festival with his wife and a “big group” of people. He, his wife and some friends and family buy the three-day admission and camp out for the entirety of the festival.
“It’s like our second vacation away from the kids,” Hole said. “We’ve got 10 sites this year. It seems like the last couple of years our group just keeps growing.”
Though he always enjoys the festival, when he saw First Wrestling was going to be there this year with over 15 wrestlers putting on a show between main stage acts, he was even more excited. Plus, this year’s lineup includes Fozzy, a band Hole also admires.
“I’m a big wrestling fan, too,” he said. “The lead singer of Fozzy is actually a wrestler for WWE so it’s pretty cool to see one of your wrestling idols performing music.”
There will be lots for fans to see at the 25th Rock Fest, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Thursday on the grounds in Cadott.
Rock Fest lineup
• 8:30 p.m. Rise Against
• 11 p.m. Incubus
• 8:30 p.m. Halestorm
• 11 p.m. Godsmack
• 8:30 p.m. A Day to Remember
• 11 p.m. Disturbed
* A complete schedule can be found at rock-fest.com.
Contact reporter: 715-833-9214, firstname.lastname@example.org, @KatherineMacek on Twitter