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WOUB’s Nicholas Kobe notes 2024 Inkcarceration festival line-up is ‘dominated on the top-end by post grunge alt-rock’

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MANSFIELD, Ohio (WOUB) – Inkcarceration is a music and tattoo festival hosted on the grounds of the Ohio State Reformatory. The festival just announced its long-awaited lineup.

An image detailing the lineup for Inkcarceration 2024.
Last year’s Inkcarceration lineup featured Slipknot, Pantera, and Limp Bizkit. Guess who’s headlining the Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival, also produced by Danny Warner Entertainment, this spring?

Slipknot, Pantera, and Limp Bizkit; although Limp Bizkit has been relegated to Sonic Temple 2024’s subheadline.

So in theory, Inkcarceration is pushing the envelope of headliners for Sonic Temple, they must be prepared in 2024 with sure-fire winners. Right?

Well, it’s complicated.

First off, the 2024 Inkcarceration headliners are much more specifically geared genre-wise than they were last year. This festival is dominated at the top end by post-grunge alt-rock.

Personally, I’m not into any of the bands headlining Inkcarceration 2024. Breaking Benjamin starts off the festival, Friday night in the headlining spot, a big upgrade from their much lower slot two months earlier at Sonic Temple 2024. Considering Breaking Benjamin really only has one iconic record, I am still shocked they command such high billing. With over six million Spotify listeners, however, this may just be a personal problem.

What I feel much more confident in is my dislike of Godsmack headlining Saturday night. I saw Godsmack as the second-highest-billed band (after Tool) on the opening night of Sonic Temple 2023. While that was a stacked festival, Godsmack was dramatically worse than every other headliner; as well as a majority of the festival’s other acts. Period. I still don’t get this band’s appeal besides generic post-grunge; which is done better by any band pretty much anywhere else.

Finally, the festival closes with Shinedown, a band I’m woefully unfamiliar with, but seems to fit the type of sound Inkcarceration is catering this year. For some of you, these headliners may be a dream come true. For me, this specific period of alt-rock and metal is one of my least favorites.

What baffles me even more about the headliners of Inkcarceration 2024 is that below one row, you have three bands that would have genuinely been great headliners.

The Offspring are alt-rock legends who have hit after iconic hit, along with consistently good albums.

Halestorm is one of the best rock bands in recent memory. While maybe not crossing over to a pop audience, they’ve dominated alt-rock for years. They have a discography of phenomenal songs and a stage presence I think makes them deserving of top billing.

Finally, on Sunday, we get metal’s new blood, Bad Omens, a band that took over 2022 with The Death of Peace of Mind. Bad Omens continue to have a huge fanbase and drive insane levels of hype as they prepare new music for 2024. Seeing them play at Sonic Temple made me appreciate the band on a level I never did before, and I’d bet this is one of the last times you’ll see them miss top billing.

Earlier when I talked about pushing the envelope of future headliners, these are the types of bands I was talking about. There are also some other really solid bands here.

I like The Hu, Machine Head, and Hollywood Undead (even if the latter is just for sheer corniness). While I’m not as familiar, I would look forward to Chimera, Mushroomhead, and Dropkick Murphys. Other sub-headliners like Chevelle, I Prevail, Parkway Drive, Skillet, Sleeping with Sirens and Sevendust make me feel very “meh.”

Once you get into the weeds of the lineup – and perhaps it’s my lack of festival experience speaking – but I don’t recognize nearly anyone here. Honestly, I think that’s cool. Falling in love with new bands was one of my favorite things about Sonic Temple, so I’m all for it.

What I can’t evade is the feeling that Inkcarceration was stuck with the leftovers and hand-me-downs of Welcome to Rockville and Sonic Temple in 2024. Last year Inkcarcerations’ lineup felt more able to compete with its fellow Danny Warner Festivals. Star power isn’t everything, but considering how generally “meh” I feel about most of these bands, it definitely makes Inkcarceration feel a little lacking.

Overall, a few great bands here are doing the heavy lifting for everyone else. I just hope I’d turn out to be wrong, or some of the smaller bands come out all guns blazing to take this festival to the next level.