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Inkcarceration Rocks The Ohio State Reformatory

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Some of the biggest names in rock take over The Ohio State Reformatory for Inkcarceration

July 19, 2022

Photos by Steve Thrasher

Metalheads and tattoo enthusiasts from all over the country flocked to the Ohio State Reformatory to celebrate another year of Inkcarceration Festival. The yearly music and tattoo festival brings out the best in Rock/Metal and Tattoo scenes for a 3 day festival for all ages. Attendees also got an opportunity to tour the famous penitentiary which also hosted a tattoo competition and haunted house. A rainy weekend didn’t keep fans from coming out in an attempt to break last year’s attendance record of 75,000, which they most likely shattered.

Day 1 started off with a bang as we got to see some of the biggest rockers over the last 30 years. As the day progressed fans packed the Inkcarceration grounds to see the likes of From Ashes to New, Lacuna Coil, Code Orange, Sleeping With Sirens, Daughtry and I Prevail. The bands alternated two main stages which were located side by side. The stages were separated by a giant screen so you wouldn’t miss a moment no matter where you were. The music never stopped as one stage started when the other finished their set. 

The first day finished off with 3 bands that have been a main staple of the rock world for the last 30 years. Canadian rockers, Three Days Grace set things off for the headliners with all their hits from “Animal I Have Become”, “Home”, “I Hate Everything About You”, and finished off with “Riot”. Papa Roach is known for putting on a great performance, and didn’t disappoint. Lead Singer Jacoby Shaddox kept the crown jumping all set. At one point he even hopped over a guardrail on to the other stage. The band graced the crowd with all their hits from over the years, such as “Broken Home”, “Getting Away With Murder”and “Between Angels and Insects”. The did  great covers of Prodigy’s “Firestarter” and Blur’s “Song 2” that got fans going nuts. Papa Roach finished things off with the song that put them on the map “Last Resort”. Korn finished off the night showcasing 30 years of their Nu Metal sound the world has come to love. Jonathan Davis kicked things off with “Falling Away From Me” and continued with a mix of music from 10 different albums. It didn’t take very long before he busted out the infamous bagpipes to play the unique hit “Shoots and Ladders”. They rocked out with their major tracks such as “Got the Life”, “Coming Undone” and “Did My Time”. Korn sent fans home happy with the song that started things off back in the early 90’s “Blind”.

Day 2 continued where day 1 left off with another 11 hours of rock. This day had a bit more of a diverse sounding lineup that brought in all kinds of rock fans. We got a heavy dose of hardcore with bands like Spiritbox and Avatar. They were then followed up with Canadian country/rock band Theory of a Deadman. The night was headlined with some heavy hitters beginning with Evanesence highlighting decades of memorable hits. Amy Lee hit all the high notes and even broke out the piano for “My Immortal”. Breaking Benjamin finished the night off with an electric performance with big hits like “I Will Not Bow” “Breath” and “Sooner or Later”. They even brought out Adam Gontier from Three Days Grace to help with “Dance With the Devin”. Breaking Benjamin finished off the night with their biggest hit “The Diary of Jane”. Lead singer Benjamin Burnley told the crowd this was the band’s favorite show that they have headlined.

Day 3 rained all day, however this did not stop the rock. The event may have started an hour late due to a thunderstorm but the nasty weather helped make for an unforgettable experience. As the grounds continued to get muddier as the day went on fans started mudslides on the hills making Inkcarceration even more rock and roll than it already was. This final day probably had the best lineup of the three as we saw bands such as 10 Years, Butcher Babies, Sick Puppies, Nothing More, and Black Veil Brides rip the stage in the name of Metal. Rapper Jelly Roll also took the stage to a great response showcasing the blend of the two genres. The night was headlined by big names starting with Seether from South Africa. They rocked the crowd starting with “Gasoline” before slowing things down with a partial acoustic version of “Broken”. Lamb of God kicked off their hardcore headline with “Memento Mori” and continued a moshed pit filled set ending with “Redneck”. 

The festival came to a conclusion with megastar band Distubed. The multi platinum selling heavy metal band kicked things off in loud rock fashion with “Ten Thousand Fists”. As the rained continued down the band ran through 25 years of legendary hits such as “Stupify”, “Are You Ready” and “The Game”. Disturbed even brought out a piano and they did their famous cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence”. The band debuted their new single called “Hey You” to a great response from fans. After faking fans out with an encore, they finished the festival out with the song that made them popular, “Down With the Sickness”. 

Mansfield is most famous for the Ohio State Reformatory.The Prison was built in 1886 and was operated until 1990. It was made famous while being host to the filming of The Shawshank Redemption. Over the last 5 years more exposure has been brought to this historic location as it now hosts the Inkcarceration Tattoo and Music Festival. Throughout the festival the reformatory was open for tours. Here you could see where they shot scenes from Shawshank Redemption as well as the different parts of the castle-like institution. The tour showed inside the cells and different offices of the staff and warden. 

The Ohio State Reformatory is presumed to be haunted and has been well documented for paranormal activity. One of the rooms during the tour gives you an opportunity to experience this. The prison also plays host to a haunted house called “Blood Prison”. The haunted house tour takes you into the basement of the prison filled with startling props and scary live actors with the sole purpose of to scare you senseless. As far as haunted houses go this has been one of the best ones I have ever experienced. During Inkcarceration, there is only a limited section of the tour available. The full tour can be experienced from September 24th to October 30th.

During the festival was also a tattoo showcase inside the reformatory. Dozens of the country’s best and brightest artists were open for appointments to show off their skills. The artists were also part of a weekend long tattoo competition judging different aspects of their artform. The competition was judged each night on the stage located outside the prison. 

The unstable weather couldn’t stop the festivities in Mansfield, Ohio this past weekend. The festival was filled with great music and complemented with great tattoos and paranormal pieces of Ohio history. With most likely a record setting crowd, this festival will be here to stay and we look forward to what will be in store in 2023.

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