Slipknot will hold their first-ever Knotfest with two day-long events, one August 17th in their home state of Iowa and the other August 18th in Somerset, on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The shows will find Slipknot joined by the Deftones, Lamb of God, Dethklok, Serj Tankian, the Urge, Cannibal Corpse and more.
"It's all about having fun and bringing something to the world of rock & roll, bringing it to the standard it used to be," Slipknot's Shawn "Clown" Crahan tells Rolling Stone. "It's time for us to really engulf this idea known as Knotfest where we're in control, we make a day devoted to our mindset, our ideas, the people that we want to play with, the people that we think our fans want to be around."
Slipknot, of course, is about a whole aesthetic, not just the music. "When everyone leaves their senses [will be] overloaded, and I'm talking about smells, sights, hearing, your body, everything is overloaded with stimulation, because that's what Slipknot does," Crahan says.
Among the activities the festival is offering as part of its "dark carnival experience" are circus big-top tents, pillars of fire, amusement park rides, burlesque performers, firebreathers, stilt walkers, drum circles made of junkyard cars and graffiti walls. The two shows will also debut a Slipknot museum.
Knotfest is something the band has always wanted to do, according to Crahan. And the time is right. "Now, after 15 years, things feel right, things feel complete, things feel like we can accomplish anything. And I love challenges," he says.
That came about in large part through adversity. The band suffered a devastating loss in 2010 when bassist Paul Gray was found dead in his Iowa hotel room. Like any group that's suffered the death of a band mate, Slipknot were left to figure out the best way to carry on and honor their brother. They decided to do it live.
"When the tragedy of our life happened, instead of going away we decided, 'No, that's not the right thing to do. Let's go out, let's share the way we feel with the people that feel like we feel,'" Crahan says. "So last summer we embarked on a tour, then we went to South America and opened up for Metallica in Rock In Rio. We just got back from Australia, and now we're gonna embark on another fantastic one-of-a-kind tour, ending this thought process that's been consumed by these feelings about a great loss."
After closing this chapter, the band will move on. "We're going to take our personal time to do what it is we feel we need to do to get ready for the new record that's gonna come out sooner than anybody knows," says Crahan.
Expect Knotfest to be an ongoing tradition, even if Slipknot isn't always on the bill. "It's something that we want to be in control of so much that it can exist without us," Crahan says.