Slipknot might just be the most famous heavy metal band of this millennium. A bold claim, but think about. Your parents have probably heard of them and they're (rightly) terrified. They've had number one albums on both sides of the Atlantic. Their masks are basically part of pop-culture now – to the extent where Burger King basically ripped them off for an ad campaign. And what's more, they've got their own festival.
From their home state to cities across the globe, here's how KNOTFEST became what it is today.
Born in Iowa
There's really only one place that the debut edition of a festival created by Slipknot could take place. The state in which the band were born. The state which gave its name to their groundbreaking second album. The state that has inspired much of their creative process, particularly in the early days. Iowa.
Promising a "dark carnival experience", the event drew on much of the same imagery and aesthetic that is synonymous with the band – circus big tops, amusement park rides and immersive performers, essentially all a physical extension of the group that gave us heavy metal's most iconic crazy clown.
Held in the city of Council Bluffs close to the state border with Nebraska – with a second day in Minneapolis – the debut edition saw Slipknot headline both nights, joined by the likes of Lamb of God, Deftones, Serj Tankian and Dillinger Escape Plan.
To California and Beyond
Not unlike the band themselves in their early years, 2014 saw KNOTFEST move to California for bigger and better things; the second edition expanding to three days and an impressive six stages (triple the number from the Iowa debut). That meant a significantly bigger lineup, showcasing an array of metal's biggest names in San Bernardino.
But perhaps more significant was the fact that 2014 also brought with it KNOTFEST's first international outing: a two day festival in Chiba, Japan, which was subsequently followed by another new international event in 2015 – this time crossing the border into Mexico. Both were smaller scale event than the US flagship, but nonetheless marked the international growth of KNOTFEST brand.
The latest addition to the global festival family came in 2018, with a South American debut in Colombia – a single day event headlined by heavy metal veteran Judas Priest. And 2019 sees KNOTFEST Colombia return to Bogotá once more, this time round with Slipknot themselves topping the bill in the country's capital city.
Slipknot are by no means the first metal icons to take on the task of hosting their very own music festival. Way back in 1996, Black Sabbath frontman and 'Prince of Darkness' Ozzy Osbourne launched Ozzfest, a touring festival that has become a key fixture of the global metal calendar each year.
So it was only right that KNOTFEST and Ozzfest joined forces for special events in 2016 and 2017 – with Slipknot and Black Sabbath both headlining the first, and then Ozzy Osbourne and Sid Wilson from Slipknot among those topping the bill at the second, with Corey Taylor's other main musical project Stone Sour also performing.
In similar fashion, this year also saw KNOTFEST team up with legendary French festival Hellfest for a special one-day event in its home at Clisson on the day before the full three-day festival kicked off – once again seeing Slipknot top a bill that also included Rob Zombie, Sabaton, and Amon Amarth.
The Roadshow (and the future)
The summer of 2019 was a busy one for the Slipknot boys as they took KNOTFEST on a countrywide roadshow across North America – taking in 30 shows from California to Toronto, to their hometown of Des Moines, to the final shows in Texas at the beginning of September (with Volbeat, Gojira and Behemoth in tow).
Not showing any signs of letting up, KNOTFEST Colombia returns to Bogotá on Friday 6 December with the likes of Behemoth, Testament, W.A.S.P. and Unleashed joining Slipknot, with KNOTFEST Japan 2020 already in the calendar for 20-21 March and Slipknot, Anthrax and Korn already confirmed to appear.
Long story short, KNOTFEST isn't going away any time soon. So get yourself a clown mask and/or jumpsuit and get involved.
Tickets, packages and accommodation for KNOTFEST Colombia 2019 are available here