For decades, Slipknot have set out to prove that they're the slimiest, grisliest alternative to mainstream music around, and for three years now, they've tried to do the same with festivals. The masked, nine-person traveling horror show's annual Knotfest, held this past weekend in San Bernardino, California, serves as a boundary-pushing showcase of artists who live on the fringe of the mainstream. This year's lineup featured sets by Judas Priest, At the Gates, Gwar, Mobb Deep, Ghostface Killah and Cannibal Corpse, among many others, as well as a career-spanning set by Slipknot themselves.
Rolling Stone was on hand this weekend to witness the mayhem first-hand. From bloody fans and carnival rides to hardcore sets by Body Count, Korn and Bring Me the Horizon, the three-night festival proved to be a place where metalheads could be themselves.
It was also a place where Slipknot could be themselves. As percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan told Rolling Stone this past June, the group staged a particularly "dangerous" set, during which Crahan and fellow percussionist Chris Fehn commanded drum risers that lifted them 15 feet into the air and spun in full 360-degree circles. "I designed these things because I'm scared of heights," Clown said this summer. "That's total Slipknot mandatory thinking: to create something I'm scared of, because it will bring something out of me. So I just get up there and fucking cross my fingers and go to a happy place and it's scary." See how else Slipknot scared themselves, and their fans, in the photos that follow.