FESTIVAL REVIEW: 2021 Knotfest Iowa

Slipknot made history by bringing their annual Knotfest to Indianola, Iowa at the National Balloon Classic Field on Saturday, September 25, 2021. (Photo credit: Spencer Tuttrup, a.k.a. @Stuttrup)

BY DAVID TAYLOR | Go Venue Magazine

On Saturday, September 25, Slipknot made history by bringing their annual Knotfest to Indianola, Iowa at the National Balloon Classic Field. It was the first time Knotfest was held in the Des Moines metro area, where Slipknot is from, after having their first one in Pacific Junction, Iowa in 2012. And they brought with them a hell of a bill with bands like Megadeth and Lamb of God. Regardless of the piss poor hospitality and planning for vendors, the performances stood out the strongest.

I caught the tail end of Widow7’s set when I arrived there. They sounded great, and hope for the best for the Des Moines band.

Luckily, the stages were side by side with each other, making it so much easy for bouncing back and forth from each side. Up next was Des Moines’s own Vended. I was looking forward to seeing these guys, as it features the sons of Corey Taylor and Shawn Crahan of Slipknot, Griffin Taylor and Simon Crahan, respectively. But, if you move the equation of being the sons of these musicians, they still put on one hell of set. Bringing with them such youthful energy to the festival, I can’t wait to see what their future holds for them. And it was cool seeing Corey Taylor embracing his son at the end of their set, a proud dad moment, indeed.

Arizona’s death metallers Gatecreeper brought another level of heavy to the Knotfest crowd. One of the heaviest bands on the bill. Very tight. Check these guys out when they come to your town.

Hardcore acts Turnstile from Baltimore and Knocked Loose from Kentucky were stellar. Those mosh pits were wild!

Fever 333 was amazing. So much energy in that band. Vocalist Jason Aalon Butler went to the top of the front of house tent, walking around the crowd. I thought it was so punk rock. Check them out on the Knotfest Roadshow with Slipknot!

Tech N9ne was a good fit. The west coast has Ice Cube. The east coast has Ice-T. The Midwest has Tech. He had a ton of fans there. And he totally fit in with the Slipknot-theme with his clown mask. Great showing for Tech N9ne.

And then the three headed metal monster of modern metal, Trivium, Gojira, and Lamb of God, back to back, brought the heavy riffs and guitar solos. Even Randy Blythe of Lamb of God managed to find time to jump on stage with Gojira right before his own band played.

Hip hop group Suicideboys from New Orleans were up next. I was not aware of their music prior to Knotfest, but they did have a strong showing. Wasn’t a huge fan, but I can see why they are on the bill, as underground  hip-hop has a similar energy to what Slipknot was doing in the late nineties. Major respect for them.

Thrash legends Megadeth was the direct support of the night. Dave Mustaine, at the ripe age of 60(!), is still crushing it. That band still remains tight. Kinda surprised they played three songs off of Dystopia. But they are always a joy to watch.

Finally, it was time for Slipknot’s return to the Iowa stage. It was the best homecoming Slipknot has every received, yet. Headlining their own festival in a cornfield in their hometown. It couldn’t get better than that. Corey Taylor couldn’t believe what he was seeing, that I could see him smiling under his mask. The whole band brought their A game. Bassist V-Man even had a flamethrower on his bass! The crowd was going wild every second. They paid tribute to Joey Jordison and Paul Gray when the show ended, showing a picture of them and their respective number. Being at Knotfest Iowa made me more proud of being from the Midwest. Slipknot is one of the biggest and important metal bands ever. And them being around here made the sold-out Knotfest Iowa truly special.