11 Things We’re Excited For At Exit 111 Fest
Earlier this year, we were exited to learn about the inaugural Exit 111 Fest, a new American music festival going down in Tennessee. The fest offers three days of killer music, including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Def Leppard, Coheed And Cambria, Mastodon, ZZ Top, and Slayer’s final Tennessee show ever. Not only that, but the festival promises weird stage circus performances, an insane line-up of vendors, and a car show, giving attendees plenty of entertainment between live sets.
In anticipation of what will surely be an amazing first year, we made a list of the 11 things we’re most excited to see, do, or eat at Exit 111 fest. Here’s what we came up with:
Lynyrd Skynyrd performing in the South
I mean, is there anything better? Skynyrd are Florida boys originally, but their music has always epitomized southern rock. Catching them playing their classics on a huge stage in the middle of Tennessee is straight out of an old-school rocker’s dream journal. Get your lighter ready for Free Bird.
Slayer’s last ever show in Tennessee
In truth, any of Slayer’s last U.S. shows will be exciting events. But the fact that their last Tennessee show will be at a massive fest — and a new American fest, as well — feels a little special. Nothing like 10,000 plus metalheads losing their mind to the most satanic band of all time to make a weekend worthwhile.
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The campout parties after the bands call it a night
American rock fests are finally learning from European multi-day events by adding a camping element. Exit 111 includes a tent section in the beautiful southern countryside, and you know once the music stops, that whole area’s going to get rowdy. Sometimes, the best way to end a day is passing a bottle around and showing off your bruises.
The Paranormal Cirque
Some fests have wrestling pits and football games. Exit 111? Twisted goth circus attraction. The Paranormal Cirque boasts acrobats, freaks, illusionists and more, and has a vibe somewhere between a haunted house a Vegas revue. If you’re tuckered out by too much sonic pummeling, this will be a great place to kick back and watch another human being fly through the air instead.
Skillet and Whitechapel playing a hometown fest
Two of the biggest bands playing at Exit 111 are doing so on their own turf. Christian hard rockers Skillet hail from Memphis, while haunting deathcore masters Whitechapel come from Knoxville. Putting these two bands on the kind of massive stage they deserve, in front of a hometown crowd, is the stuff that festival dreams are made of.
If you’ve never been to the south before, the first thing you’ll want to pack is the holy trinity of TUMS, Pepto, and alka-seltzer. Tennessee BBQ is some of the best there is, and that’s not even taking into account the region’s famed cornbread and mac and cheese (if you can find a cheesy hash brown casserole, cancel your plans). All of this pales in comparison to a breakfast of B&G — biscuits and sausage gravy — and the Jalopeño Corndog booth scheduled to be there. Pace yourself!
Power Trip playing a massive American rock fest
There’s something about Power Trip playing the inaugural show of a massive outdoor festival in the deep south that feels cool. Seeing the best metal band of the last decade help break the seal on what might become a yearly event is a good look. Of course, Power Trip anywhere is killer — the band wowed audiences at this year’s Download — so this would be a win even if Exit 111 was a hallowed institution.
Some badass deep south cars at the car show
One of the non-musical features of Exit 111 is the car show. The fest’s website describes the show as all-makes, all-models, so you know there’s going to be some absurd shit on display there. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that this goes down in the south, which is known for its awesome custom car culture. Get your motor running.
ZZ Top. Just...ZZ Top.
Maybe there should be a more specific qualifier here, about stage size and crowd type and ZZ Top’s legacy being celebrated…but does there need to be? ZZ Top are going to play this big-ass fest in Tennessee. Billy Gibbons, man. Their riffs will be steely and awesome. I Need You Tonight might literally vaporize someone’s underwear. That’s it. It’s going to be rad. Go to the next one.
Truly insaaaane tattoos
The American south is a unique part of the country’s melting pot, and through its green fields and thriving cities, there are bound to be some gnarly tattoos. Exit 111 has enough of a cross-pollenation of classic rock, punk, and straight-up metal that we’re hoping to see all of that weird ink flock to one place. If you see someone with a back piece of D running a taco truck, you get bingo.
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Deftones at sunset on the last night
Sunday night sees the Deftones taking the Heaven Stage at 6pm, meaning that they’ll be playing just as the sun goes down. That combination — the pounding sounds of the Sacramento post-rockers, while night falls on the final day of the festival — sounds about perfect. Then again, Guns N’ Roses close out the night, so it’s certainly not the end of the weekend.
For tickets and information about Exit 111 fest, visit their website.
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