If anything here sounds a bit incoherent, sorry; I got hit in the head by a water bottle less than 12 hours before writing this!
So every year for I don't even know how many years (someone onstage referenced attending in 2003), Extreme Faith Productions has put on a Christian music event known as Rage or Rage Fest. It's two (or one year, three) days of Christian music in a parking lot for Castles and Coasters, which is Arizona's only small-scale (or any scale) park with a looping roller coaster, plus more rides and mini golf. This year, $50 got you in both days to see 50 bands, they said (cheaper prices for one-day admissions). Hours are more or less 10 AM - 10:30 PM, with a church service on Sunday morning. Every previous year I'd been to, it was at Castles and Coasters' main parking lot, with one main stage on one side and a somewhat smaller stage on the other side, (they generally have 2 acts on the main stage, then 2 on the side stage, then 2 on the main stage again, with no overlap), and a side stage by the carousel inside the park itself.
Band lineup from the Extreme Faith webpage for this year:
Saturday, Jan 15:
8:45 PM - Thousand Foot Krutch
7:15 PM -Disciple
6:25 PM - Project 86
5:35 PM - Flatfoot 56
4:45 PM - Decyfer Down
3:55 PM - Manafest
3:05 PM - The Letter Black
2:20 PM - Ivoryline
1:30 PM - Spoken
12:45 PM - Write This Down
12:05 PM - Sent By Ravens
11:20 AM - I Am Empire
10:40 AM - Hyland
10:05 AM - I Am We
Sunday, Jan 16:
8:00 PM - Sanctus Real
6:30 PM - Superchick
5:45 PM - Flatfoot 56
4:55 PM - Manafest
4:10 PM - Abandon
3:20 PM - The Red Airplanes
2:35 PM - The Wedding
1:55 PM - Me In Motion
1:15 PM - Children 18:3
12:35 PM - Philmont
12:00 PM - White As Wool
11:30 AM - A Rotterdam November
10:30 AM - Church Service
Bands Appearing on Community Stage:
Rate of Change
Twice As Deep
Adriane Blanco Band
Healed Blind Eye
The Kings Divide
Katelyn From Havasu
All Eyes on Israel
Truth Be Told
This year, it was in Castles and Coasters' side parking lot, which on the map looks more or less the same size, but the lot is laid out differently.
Plus this year, there was a food stand with a grill like you'd see at a carnival, and a fourth stage in-between the main and side stages. So it certainly felt more crowded, and louder!
This year they made it clear on the website that you could bring your own camping chairs to set behind the chair line, and also bring outside food in coolers. However, they didn't plan the chair lines for the main stage (where the big-named bands played), so they set up a chair line on Saturday and then had to move it back significantly, creating a tiny area for chairs, and making most people relocate their chairs to beside the smaller stage.
Air1 sponsors one of the stages and has a big presence there, but a lot of the bands at RAGE play hard rock music that Air1 won't play.
So if you're just an Air1 fan, you might not like the music, or may even fear for your life, depending on which artists you see (and how fearful you are). It's very common for artists to empty out water bottles on the audience, and/or throw partly-filled bottles into the crowd. Moshing isn't allowed, but people push each other around (lovingly). I accidentally wound up in that "pushing" area during a concert by Red several years ago. Very uncomfortable, I just went limp. Fortunately, going limp, I just bounced my way out like a pinball. It was pretty funny. Other bands do "circle pits" where you basically run around the crowd. If you hear the words "circle pit" and you aren't wanting to run around, I suggest you back away from the center VERY quickly, like people did during The Wedding's show. If you were already dead center, get behind a security guy (if one is there; most of them are built like refrigerators) and you should be OK.
And if you do get in a circle pit and lose a shoe, someone in the middle will pick it up and hold it up until you claim it. :)
Then again, I saw a lot more older (i.e. older than me) people rocking out this year, even jumping when told to jump, and so forth.
So here are the essentials I think everyone needs for RAGE:
PRAY - That's the biggest thing. I prayed several times in the days leading to the festival, that the bands would put Jesus first and that I'd really hear from God. To be honest, a lot of the bands' songs aren't specifically Christian (not bad, but not worship songs, and some really aren't related to God at all as far as I can see). But I did hear a lot more artists talking about God, and their words spoke to me more, this year versus the year prior. I don't know if prayer changed the artists' speech, what bands I saw, or what I noticed--probably all three. But it made a huge difference for me.
SUNSCREEN - The sun is BRUTAL. Wear sunscreen if you don't want to turn into a raisin. I wore SPF 100, water/sweatproof, etc. both days, and I'm still a touch pink today. Ideally, you should reapply your sunscreen at least once, but just wearing some in the first place is a good start.
DEODORANT - I've never noticed a problem with anyone else on this front, but again, the sun is brutal. Most bands also encourage people to not only clap, but also to jump, wave their arms, and sometimes form an aforementioned "circle pit" or run in straight lines, etc. Yes, I have video I may share later, LOL.
EARPLUGS - I don't see how anyone gets through the concert without earplugs. It is LOUD. I am not the kind of person that says you have to take perfect care of your body (no matter what you do, your body is going to eventually give out on you). But there's no reason to experience premature hearing loss. If you bring your little kids, absolutely make sure they have earplugs themselves.
WATER - See the sun and deodorant entries. Don't get dehydrated! This year they also sold water for $1.00 a bottle, which was reasonable...but since you can buy 24 bottles at Fry's for $3.69 or less, you might want to plan accordingly.
HAND SANITIZER - With RAGE across the street from Castles and Coasters (and its flush toilets), the portable toilets were almost unavoidable. Might not be amiss to bring some toilet paper either. Just saying.
COAT - It gets cold in the desert at night. Sometimes during the day, too! It must have been January 13-14, 2007 when the highs on Saturday and Sunday were 49 and 46 respectively...I still remember Joy Williams' improvised song about Arizona. Something like "You lied to me, Arizona; I should've worn my ski boots." Anyway, leave your coat in your vehicle, or leave it on your chair (if you have one). But don't be one of those people in a short-sleeved T-shirt, shivering all night. I get cold just looking at them!
MONEY - Support the bands by buying their CDs and other merchandise. Also buy food if needed.
OPTIONAL - You can bring a camping chair--those are great for just lounging around between acts, as it's hard to stand for 12 hours straight. Check the policy in 2012, but in 2011 you could bring food in coolers if you wanted. Bring a camera if you want to take pictures; it's definitely allowed.
Also bring a Christ-like attitude. I overheard some people who...did not have one...and it was very discouraging, to hear such words coming out of Christians' mouths. (And they were professed Christians, since they (eventually) said "hate the sin, love the sinner.")
Meanwhile, one year my friend and I visited Waldenbooks in MetroCenter (back before it closed) and they knew we were there because of the festival, even though our wristbands were hidden. Granted, it was probably mostly because we were dressed a little unusually (nothing I haven't worn elsewhere, though), or just the fact that the mall suddenly had customers...but you never know. A smile can do some good, and the last thing we want is for people to think poorly of Christians because of how we treat others or how we speak.
Make sure you meet the bands! I don't know if secular bands are so friendly, but it's usually easy to get an autograph from Christian bands (bring a Sharpie to be safe). The bigger acts will be in a signing tent; the smaller ones are often found by their merchandise tables. Or just stop by and say "hi" or "thanks for coming." I'm VERY shy to talk to bands (I feel like I'm interrupting or pestering them) but they always seem happy to be thanked and it's a blessing to me to shake hands with them.
And, always keep your head up. Bands and the people on stage before bands like to throw things at people. Nathan of The Red Airplanes stated that he wasn't going to leave the stage until everyone was hydrated. So he threw most of the bands' case of water bottles (individually, but FULL) into the crowd. While I was looking down at a kid who was picking up one that had hit near me, one nailed me right in the forehead! I think it gave a little, because it didn't really hurt much, though I was pretty stunned. It's funny; I think it was Beth Moore (and surely others) who said that God may give you the thing you're most afraid of, so that you won't fear it any more. When I saw the half-filled water bottles go into the crowd, I always was a little concerned that if one hit me upside the head, it would really hurt. Well, I got a FULL one upside the head and am OK! And, suddenly not particularly worried about getting hit by a half-full one.
(The Red Airplanes are an awesome band; I've got no problem with them, and will write them up once their new CD release date is closer.)
So anyway, stay alert!
If you have any questions about the festival, let me know. I'll write more about a few of the bands on future Mondays for a while. See you then!