Rock Jam 2013 – Mack, Colorado August 23-24

Posted: August 4, 2013 in Music


Autumn is right around the corner, signaling different things for different people. For some, it’s time to ready the children for another year of school. For others, it means the beginning of the dreaded holiday season. The nights are growing colder, the weekends are filled with football, and as the seasons begin their transformation there is still one last good party of the summer left to be had.

I speak – of course – of Rock Jam. The annual festival, now in its eleventh year, fills the open acres in Mack, Colorado with rockers, campers, and some of the best names in music for two days of jam-packed entertainment.

The first few years of the event were a solid classic rock showcase, featuring such names as Foghat, Kansas, Bad Company, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Over the years, though, the festival has found its way towards a more significant sampling of modern rock and metal with names like Motley Crue, Theory of A Deadman, Buckcherry, and Kid Rock taking the stage. That transformation continues this year, as 2013’s lineup is as modern and heavy as we have seen off Exit 11 – and it promises to be one of the best yet.


The mayhem kicks off on Friday, August 23rd, with Pop Evil (2:15pm) – who have been slowly but surely building up an audience over the last five years. With their recent release Onyx, the band appears ready to finally burst into rock superstardom. Yes, they are performing early, but don’t let that stop you from seeing one of nu-metal’s most promising acts.

After a memorable appearance in 2011, Fuel returns to the Rock Jam stage at 3:30pm for what should be a great set. Expect to hear such hits as “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)”, “Bad Day” and “Falls On Me,” but don’t be surprised if you hear a few new tracks, as the band’s new album Puppet Strings is scheduled to be released sometime this fall.

The 5:00pm time slot on Friday features rock veterans and critically-acclaimed Sevendust.  Throughout their twenty year, nine album career, the band has rocked stages all over the world, sold over a million records, and rolled with every punch heavy metal has thrown at them. Their amazingly heavy sound and powerful vocals are, in my opinion,  better now than ever, and the bands latest release Black Out The Sun is quickly climbing the hard rock charts (and is also one of my most recommended albums of 2013). Expect to be blown away by one of the better acts on this year’s ticket.


As one of the most revered live acts of the last five years, Seether is set to take center stage at 7:30pm. With an impressive set list of mainstream rock chart-toppers, the South African based group is not to be missed. Seether, too, has a few new tricks up their collective sleeves, and I’m sure they will be giving a test run to a song or two from their forthcoming release currently in production.

Closing out the first night will be Three Days Grace (10:00pm). With hits such as “I Hate Everything About You” and “Animal I Have Become,” you’ll barely notice the fact that original lead singer Adam Gontier left the band earlier this year. Filling his shoes these days is My Darkest Day’s front man Matt Walst, and early reports from the band’s summer tour has critics touting the replacement as “seamless” and “with a renewed sense of energy.” I’m not sure the closing slot was the perfect place for Three Days Grace, but their sing-along choruses and catchy songs should be a crowd pleaser.

For a lot of ticket holders, the end of the concerts on Friday is only the start of the night. One of the best features of Rock Jam is the on-site campground, allowing patrons to simply walk out of the venue and in to one of the Grand Valley’s best late-night parties.  I have camped every year I’ve attended the festival, and can tell you first hand that the level of debauchery is high, the friendships gained irreplaceable, and the atmosphere of family and togetherness immeasurable. Sure, you stay up too late drinking way too much, but the experience of Rock Jam isn’t complete until you’ve lived the weekend in the campground with 5,000 or so of your new best friends.

As the trains roll through Mack early Saturday morning (and the engineers are courteous enough to give you the full-on wake up call via their engine whistles), the campers – of those that actually decided to catch some sleep – rise from their tents, seek out their lost dignity and clean up for another day of live rock and roll.

The festival picks back up where it left off, with hard rock newcomers Stars in Stereo at 2:15pm. Fresh off the release of their debut, self-titled record, the band will do their best to open Saturday with a bang and make a few new fans along the way. I’ve listened to this band, and musically they are as tight as it gets with bombastic drums, punching guitars and solid female vocals. It’s not often we get such a “new” band at Rock Jam, and I, for one, am eager to check them out.

Legendary rockers Queensryche plug in at 3:45pm. With new lead singer Todd La Torre on board (more on that in the album review article before this), the band brings the songs responsible for over 30 million album sales to Mack, as well as a renewed focus after the split with former singer Geoff Tate. There’s a lot going on off the stage for one of rock’s greatest acts, so the chance to see them ON stage is an opportunity not to be taken lightly.


In 2010, Hinder took the Rock Jam party to the next level with one of the better performances this author has experienced, and there is no reason to think they won’t do it all again in 2013. Their latest effort Welcome To The Freakshow is filled with the same hook-heavy good times, so look for Austin Winkler and the band to once again own the stage during their 5:15pm set.

As another repeat offender, Lynyrd Skynyrd grabs the twilight slot on Saturday. It’s been a while since these good ol’ boys have come calling (their last appearance being 2006), but these seasoned veterans are poised to bring thunder from the sky as they work through their seemingly endless catalog of southern rock staples. In an event filled with mostly modern rock and heavy metal, Skynyrd feels a bit like a square peg in a round hole this time around, but by their 7:30pm start time, I doubt too many festival-goers will be sober enough to notice.


Rock Jam 2013 is definitely saving the best for last. Not often has a band as heavy and angry as KORN been invited to the circus, let alone offered up the closing slot (10:00pm), so prepare yourself for a whole new level of madness this year. Known as one of the greatest live acts of our time, the band prides itself on mesmerizing stage sets, theatrical production value, and ass-kicking sounds that are sure to lay the festival grounds to waste. With a new album coming in October (The Paradigm Shift, Oct. 1) and the return of guitarist Brian “Head” Welch after an eight-year absence, KORN is poised to reclaim the throne of the kings of aggressive metal, and their appearance is definitely the highlight of a great weekend of rock.

When the dust settles and the hangovers are gone, I have a feeling Rock Jam 2013 will go on record as one of the best in the event’s long history of great spectacles. General Admission, Reserved Seating, VIP Seating and camping spots are all still available at, so make your plans and grab your tickets today.

It’s one hell of a party…



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