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Who will headline 2014's Rock on the Range festival?

Ah. It is slowly inching towards that time of the year where we either have our ears glued to the radio listening to The Blitz or are ferociously tapping the Refresh button on our browsers to get our first peek at who will be playing at the annual Rock on the Range festival at Crew Stadium.

Avenged Sevenfold performing at Metallica's Orion Festival
Photo by Theo Wargo

As has become a tradition of mine, I am going to take a stab at who I believe will be the top ten candidates to headline the festival. I've had some semi-success in recent years at predicting the headlining acts. The following list is who I think we may see this year.

10. KISS

Why KISS? Their live shows are second to none and they just got selected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Why not? KISS is a huge act. They tend to be divisive though. Either you love KISS or you loathe them. There typically isn't many people who are indifferent to the band.

9. Black Sabbath

Why Sabbath? Since Black Sabbath reunited, they have largely ignored Ohio on their two tours in support of their new album. Rock on the Range brings a metal crowd and Black Sabbath are the godfathers of metal.

Why not? There really is no reason other than asking price as to why Black Sabbath couldn't do this show.

8. Iron Maiden

Why Maiden? They haven't played Columbus since 2005 or Ohio since 2010. Their never ending Maiden England tour has seen the band largely play cities in the U.S. that they hadn't played in a long time or ever. They also have played some smaller U.S. festivals in Wisconsin and California during this tour. The upcoming leg of the tour kicks off on May 31 in Europe, which is plenty of time for them to add a two week run of the U.S. prior to that. Best live band out there.

Why not? Like Sabbath, other than money there is no real reason that they couldn't make this happen. Iron Maiden isn't a radio band, but their following is second to none and every year there are more people wearing Iron Maiden shirts at Rock on the Range than any other band. It really can only be about the money.

7. Foo Fighters

Why the Foo Fighters? Nirvana just got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Dave Grohl could probably ride the momentum of that into the summer festival season.

Why not? They aren't Nirvana. The Foo Fighters are immensely popular, however, and could very easily be a possibility.

6. The Offspring

Why The Offspring? Everybody likes The Offspring. They have more than enough memorable songs to appease the crowd. They put on a great show.

Why not? Punk bands haven't really made a big splash at Rock on the Range yet.

5. Linkin Park

Why Linkin Park? They've never played the festival and they are a huge band.

Why not? Like KISS, people tend to either love them or hate them.

4. Avenged Sevenfold

Why A7X? Their most recent tour suspiciously skipped Columbus. They have been extremely popular with the fans during both of their previous appearances at the festival.

Why not? No previous headlining act has ever returned to the festival in any fashion.

3. Rage Against the Machine

Why Rage? They would be a popular pick with a crowd that becomes more and more anti-establishment every year.

Why not? They haven't played a gig in a long time.

2. Pearl Jam

Why Pearl Jam? There is a big gap in their touring between March and June. April and May could make for a nice run of North American dates. Rock on the Range went heavy on 90's and grunge era bands last year and put together their most complete lineup in the festival's existence. Pearl Jam would be big.

Why not? Like some of the other heavyweights that I've noted, money could really be the only reason not to.


Why TOOL? I think it is time for this band to make their ROTR appearance. I think the only reason that the festival's promoters could have ever agreed to let A Perfect Circle headline was to set up a future appearance by Maynard's heavyweight band.

Why not? They've not given any indication that they will be touring.

There you have it folks! That's my top ten candidates to headline the three days of fist pumping rock and metal that the festival is sure to bring us this year. Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you guys think.

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