The dress code of most metal shows seems antithetical to spring and summer festivals, what with all the black and heavy pants. But the truth of the matter is metalheads like to take road trips, too–and who doesn’t like seeing how big a put can get when freed from the constraints of a small venue. Even the heaviest of metal lovers are down to enjoy the weather and drink outside, they’re only human.

With that in mind, as part of the overall explosion of niche music festivals and warm-weather bacchanals, we’ve pulled a few of the best metal-centered celebrations to get you started.

Aftershock Festival

Sacramento’s Aftershock Festival held pride of place this year as the first show on Tool’s Fear Inoculum tour. The crowd unleashed the pent-up energy of 13 years of waiting. Babymetal and Korn brought different strains of metal, while Fu Manchu droped in for a set of stoner rock. Blink-182, Sum 41 and Andrew W.K. provided a few non-metal alternatives for people looking to diversify their day. [browse aftershock festival tickets]

Chicago Open Air

The lineup for this year’s Chicago Open Air was clear proof as to why they are one of the best offerings in the metal ecosystem. System of a Down, Tool, Meshuggah and Ghost filled out a stacked two-day bill out in Bridgeview. [browse chicago open air tickets]

Knotfest Roadshow

Earlier this year, Slipknot hit the road with Volbeat, Gojira and Behemoth for a one-day metal fest throughout the United States. Dubbed the Knotfest Roadshow, this twisted carnival was in support of Slipknot’s latest album, We Are Not Your Kind, and featured stops throughout the East Coast and Texas. Will they do a repeat next year? Fans will have to wait and see. [browse knotfest tickets]

Maryland Deathfest

Deathfests pop up all over the world, but for our purposes, the best ones are in Montreal and Baltimore. Maryland gets the spring (mid May) and Quebec takes the fall bringing out bands like Ghoul, Die Choking and Sacramentum. [browse maryland deathfest tickets]


Another mid-May fest, Rocklahoma, has been titillating the ears of metal fans since 2007. As the name suggests, this event is held annually in Oklahoma over a three-day period, and has featured performances from Godsmack, Ghost, Underoath and many more. [browse rocklahoma tickets]

Rock on the Range

This famed Columbus fest is held annually in May, with nearly 120,000 concert-goers in attendance. Its lineup runs the gamut in terms of metal: death metal, nu metal, thrash metal, heavy metal and classic metal. [browse rock on the range tickets]

Sonic Temple

Sonic Temple brings a mix of metal, heavy rock and comedy to Ohio every fall, taking over Columbus’ Mapfre stadium in the name of Bring Me The Horizon and Lamb of God fans. Last years lineup featured sets from Joan Jett, Refused. Foo Fighters and Action Bronson in addition to the expected headliners. [browse sonic temple tickets]

(Image courtesy of Eddy BERTHIER via Flickr. | CC0 1.0)