A cold and windy Friday, Sept. 29 set the scene for the first annual RIFF Fest. Presented by Detroit’s rock radio station 101 WRIF, Riff Fest brought an impressive lineup of bands such as Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch and headliner Rob Zombie. The day-long event was hosted at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI. The festival was made up of two stages and an array of vendors for fans to explore.
Righteous Vendetta got things heated up at the Monster Energy stage officially marking the start of the day. Following them were Radkey, New Year’s Day, and Fozzy. The crowd seemed particularly excited for an appearance from Chris Jericho, WWE wrestler and frontman of Fozzy. Prior to their entrance the crowd chanted his WWE slogan “Y2K”. After each set, the bands hung out at their tents meeting with fans, taking pictures and signing autographs.
As more fans began to roll in, people made their way to the main stage for an electrifying performance by Michigan’s own Greta Van Fleet. The band is currently touring in support of their new EP Black Smoke Rising and the radio hit “Highway Tune.” They faced their biggest crowd yet Friday night at DTE. It’s been wonderful to watch these guys on the rise to success. With only 4 songs officially released, their set gave fans a sneak peek of what is to come. Their first album is scheduled to drop some time this winter.
Five Finger Death Punch have faced their fair share of struggles this year with the band fighting legal issues with their record label and lead-singer Ivan Moody’s temporary leave due to resurfacing addiction issues. Despite it all, the band was able to continue their U.S. tour and put on a killer performance at Riff Fest.
The night came to a close with the legendary Rob Zombie. The band’s set included a
variety of classics like “Thunderkiss ‘65,” “Living Dead Girl,” and “Dragula.” Lead guitarist John5 brought the crowd to silence with a 5 minute guitar shredding solo towards the end of the show.
It was an honor to be a part of this festival in its first year. If you missed it, do not fret, because Riff Fest will return. It will be interesting to see what the Festival holds next year for Rock City.