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Behind Mayhem Festival's controversial move to Red Rocks

Fans at Mayhem Fest last year at Fiddler's Green.
Fans at Mayhem Fest last year at Fiddler's Green.
Brandon Marshall. Slideshow

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival announced its lineup earlier this week, but there was some controversy about the truncated roster for the July 14 show at Red Rocks.

Avenged Sevenfold, Korn, Asking Alexandria, Trivium and Body Count (Ice-T's metal band) were announced for Denver, but those are the only bands playing that date so far, a divergence from Mayhem Fest's tradition as a day-long show with multiple stages. Metal fans took to social media within hours, claiming they were duped by the fest's boast of nineteen bands. Denver's Iconocaust, who played at Mayhem Fest in 2012, posted its own public service announcement on Facebook:

"Okay kids... for those of you in the DENVER or OKC markets, MAYHEM FEST is not a festival at all. Read the fine print. You're about to be skipped this year by most of the bands on the tour..... Just thought we'd make sure you were paying attention.

Among the things they're referring to are the promotional fliers currently circulating on social media, where there is, in fact, little fine print about the lineup differences. There is a very brief mention in the official press release , which contains the wording "Main Stage acts only performing."

"Our advertising in Denver is clear on what the Denver show is," says Mayhem Fest's co-founder and producer John Reese. "If you go to the website, it is clear what Denver is."

Iconocaust sees additional problems with this year's changes. Vocalist Galen Stevenson says fans of Avenged Sevenfold and the other Mayhem main stage bands will find the stone steps of Red Rocks decidedly less moshable than the grassy slopes of Fiddler's Green. "This is a metal show held at a venue that is not built for people to move around," Stevenson says.

Reese, for his part, says the decision to move Mayhem from its usual home at Fiddler's Green to Morrison's hallowed amphitheater was related to a scheduling conflict involving Avenged Sevenfold. He also hints that there is more news on the way for Denver. "You want to bring the whole show everywhere, but there are space limitations and other limitations. We will announce a surprise," says Reese.

Tickets to Mayhem Fest are on sale today.

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