Here’s the deal on Kanrocksas….
Forget the official accounts from newspaper reporters who went for free, get majorly schmoozed and aren’t about to bite anything resembling the hands that feed them. I think readers can smell something funny when they read headlines with expressions like "top notch" and "world class" and are unable to locate a single critical comment in the coverage.
Let’s take it a small step further. It doesn’t take a genius to pour over the attendee comments on Kanrocksas’ Facebook and Web site pages to get a truer picture. Having done that and spoken with attendees who both paid and got in free, I can tell you this.
By most people’s measure Kanrocksas was indeed a smash success.
Music fans had a good time, saw some excellent bands and other than the dude who died, lived to tell the story.
Was it perfect? Of course not.
Bright lights all night long in the camping area made some folks feel safer but mostly annoyed folks who wanted to sleep or party in peace. The KCK cops may have been a bit aloof and heavy handed. No big surprise there. But that’s something that should be addressable if the fest returns next year. Beer vendors wandering through the crowd hawking their wares while bands were performing was annoying to some.
Speaking of the beer dudes, Facebooker Nicole Fields had this to say:
"Wonderful!! Beer guy in concessions saved me and gave me a Guinness & H2O even though I was a quarter short. Beer guy on the field during Muse who stopped in front of me to smoke weed and make out with some skank…not so cool."
The VIP area – for which some paid a healthy premium – was a disappointment.
"The VIP could have been something very nice – instead it was a total waste of money," attendee Mike wrote on Kanrocksas Web site. " ‘Premium food & beverage purchase options’ – If by premium you mean one single Vienna Beef Hot dog truck…
" ‘Preferred main stage views’ – I do not consider a raised platform in the far back to be preferred views. An area in front of the stage for a limited number of VIP guests would have been worth the money.
Which brings us to the 40-something KC Confidential staffer who paid full boat for his Kanrocksas experience…
"I went Friday night, and spent most of the day and all of the evening Saturday and it was dandy," he reports. "Yes, it was hot – August in Kansas is like that. But people showed up anyway. Yes, it was expensive. Too expensive, for both days, if you really want to know. And this is coming from someone who has money. The beer was Kauffman Stadium-priced ($7) and while you’d think that might be a bit much, it didn’t seem to be for a lot of people, like usual."
The music was excellent, he reports.
"Crowd makeup: 98% white. 90% under 30. And it wasn’t a ‘where white met trash’ kinda crowd either. Pretty well-behaved. We saw more than a few people who didn’t sensibly approach being out in the heat, though. Also when did girls get so short? My friend was 5’6" and she was taller than 90% of the girls out there.
I gotta take exception to anyone who says Kansas Speedway is a poor venue. it was a pretty great venue. Clean, efficient, really safe. The (stages) were in a pretty compact area, so anyone complaining about how far they had to walk must be lazy or wearing long pants. No problems acoustically. Many ways to stay in the shade and stay cool. The ‘no cans, no bottles, no coolers, no dogs’ rules were all enforced, but a lot of people apparently snuck their skunky-smelling Kansas roadside weed in without any problems.
"And face it, the heat could have been a lot worse. It was actually pretty tolerable Friday, and Saturday, a stiff breeze out of the north showed up as we left, which was a blessing.
"The ‘activities – ferris wheel, for example – went mostly unused. People just weren’t interested. But they certainly liked the music. Eminem put on an enthusiastic, energetic show; Flogging Molly, fresh from Chicago’s Lollapalooza, did a great set, and both performers and fans seemed to appreciate each other at every set I was at.
"I’d say the promoters would have to be pretty pleased with the results. Hope they made a little money."