Knotfest Review

March 29, 2023 - Gig Reviews

Event: Knotfest
Location: Melbourne, Flemington Racecourse
Date: Friday, March 24th 2023
Review/Photos: Ned Tepper


For our Knotfest adventure to begin, we have to rewind back to November 2022. I’m sitting in a theatre in Detroit waiting to see a movie, when I receive a snap from my long-time friend Jase Herbert, basically saying, “Bro, we are headed to Knotfest! I’ve got our tickets. We’re going Ultimate VIP!” My first reaction is, “HELL YEAH, this is going to be EPIC!” Then I pondered on why Jase would splash the cash when we’re usually fortunate enough to cover these gigs. The answer? Jase is a maggot, a diehard maggot and there was no way he was missing out seeing that Slipknot museum or picking up those bonus pieces of memorabilia.

You know the first ever Knotfest in Australia was all about setting a standard for future festivals and the team behind it would be looking to knock the ball out of the park, or racecourse in this case. The slogan behind the festival “Music, Art and Culture Collide Down Under”. So let’s take a look at what was on offer!


First up and MOST importantly – The line up!

Obviously headlining the festival was the immortal Slipknot, along with Australia’s own Parkway Drive which was a class act in itself, these guys from Byron Bay have worked their way to the top of the metal world over their 20-year career. The mighty Megadeth, Trivium, Northlane, Amon Amarth, In Flames, Knocked Loose, Spiritbox, Story of the Year, Alphawolf, Void of Vision, Band Omens and Malevolence rounded out the list of bands. A fantastic mix of international artists and local talent! As far as line ups go, this was worth the ticket price and more alone!

10 out of 10


Art and Culture

Being a music buff I was 100% there for the bands and not too concerned about what else was on offer until I saw Renegades of Wrestling, an Australian independent company was performing. Get out of here…

That is amazing in itself!

There was also pre-booked tattoos happening on site, and The Dark Stage which featured some outrageous Guinness world record holders. At times they were very hard things to actually watch, but it was amazing all in all.

There was also a lot of fantastic stalls including Popcultcha, Artist First and many more great music related sites. Very cool!

The food options were on point; at previous festivals you find yourself (or I have, anyway) struggling to find something good. This was not the case at Knotfest, crazily overpriced (as expected) but plenty of choice.

So on top of a massive line up we have independent wrestling, a freak show (of sorts), tattoos and plenty of stores to check out. Believe me, there was no spare time at all, we were spoiled for choice. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to check it all out!

7.5 out of 10 for Art and Culture, for a 10 I’d like to see some motocross/skateboarding etc exhibitions. Again though, how do you fit it all in?



I don’t want to sound like “That Guy” but The VIP/Ultimate VIP was my only gripe of the whole day.

Here’s what your $600 ticket got you:

  • 1x GA ticket.
  • Designated VIP entry lane.
  • Exclusive merchandise item.
  • Souvenir ticket.
  • Official Knotfest hard card and lanyard/wristband.
  • Entrance to Slipknot museum
  • Designated onsite VIP host.
  • Ultimate Viewing area

So the GA ticket is a must, the designated VIP entry lane was a major loss. We sat in line for maybe 45 minutes panicking we would miss out on our slot in the museum. There was only one lane for VIP but multiple for GA and they were streaming through quickly while our line was getting more and more impatient. There was absolutely no reason to take it out on the poor people at the gate though (which I did witness). Definitely not their issue, hopefully this was sorted for the Brisbane/Sydney attendees! The souvenir ticket, lanyard and merchandise (bag, keychain, bandanna) was cool and I can’t comment on the VIP host/private toilets as the Ultimate viewing area was way too far back for my liking. For that type of money, you would expect to meet and greet the band and get a photo with them, wouldn’t you? The museum was a major win though, for a bit of a sneak peek at what you can see there head to our Instagram:


3 out of 10 for the VIP. How much is entry to the museum and some merchandise worth?  An extra $450?


The Day!

As stated, the museum was nothing short of amazing. The highlights being a chance to put on James Root’s and Mick Thomson’s guitars as well as a picture taken with a prop from the Devil in I video, a definite must attend for any hardcore Slipknot fan (Maggot).

We think our boy Jay would have been the perfect fit for the “Devil in I” video, re watch it here:




First up for us – Knocked Loose. Being minus our three camera women (Shout out Nicole, Anna and Jodie), I found myself having to step out of the comfort zone once again and enter the photo pit. You know that feeling you get when you’ve majorly stuffed up? That was me when I turned the camera on and took a practice shot, the camera started flashing at me “No Memory Card Inserted”. I’d left it at home in my wife’s computer. What a punch in the face! So no photo pit for The Underground!

As far as openers go though, Knocked Loose knows how to hype up a crowd. Wow! It’s 1pm in the afternoon and we are jumping around like it’s nobody’s business. They tore it up and it has me beyond keen to see them again!

Missed our interview with guitarist Isaac Hale?

Head to our YouTube page:



Once Knocked Loose finished we hurried across to Stage One to see Canada’s “Spiritbox” perform. Our resident metalhead Jase had been raving about these guys for a while now and shame on me for not checking them out more before the show. Front woman “Courtney LePlante” seemed relaxed but energetic at the same time and effortlessly busted out screams on top of her clean vocals! This is that band that you catch at a show that you need to check out more of, which I will be doing!

Spiritbox wrapped up their set leaving us with a brief amount of time to jam as many festivities as possible in before “In Flames” took the stage at 3.10pm. First up Food and that was basically it, haha. Jay found his way to the merch line up and I hurried back to Stage 1 to catch In Flames! Coming fresh off their latest album Foregone, the lads from Sweden did not disappoint. At one stage a guy in a wheelchair crowd surfed his way to the front, much to the delight of vocalist Anders Friden who handed him a drink asking if it was legal to drink and drive in Australia! A fantastic set from start to finish which really did leave the crowd begging for more as they wrapped things up… I sent a quick message to Jay who was in the merch line up and growing cranky, he’d missed their entire set!



This was a good opportunity for me to do some exploring, I found my way to the Dark Stage where The Space Cowboy and Zoe L’amore were performing. These two blew my mind with their fearless antics, Zoe climbing a ladder of knives and The Space Cowboy riding a giant unicycle while juggling knives blindfolded. At one stage he caught an arrow with his bare hand while blind folded, are you kidding me? Clearly not staged as it took four attempts before nailing the stunt. This was a great performance and I highly recommend you check them out. The Space Cowboy has a lazy 56 world records to his name, the most by any Australian! I send another quick message to Jay, he’s still in the merch line up!

We have now completely missed Northlane and I can hear Trivium take stage, another band Jay was eager to see! I send yet another quick message to the big guy who at this point in time is probably ready to kill somebody, he lets me know he’s leaving the line up if it means he will miss Megadeth. Thankfully for the both of us he finally gets his merch and we head back to catch the last of Trivium before Dave Mustaine and Megadeth take the stage. It had been a few hours of hell for Jay but he didn’t return empty handed, in fact it looked like he spent a small fortune! Megadeth are a big time bucket list band for me and with Dave being 60 the chances of seeing them live will get rarer and rarer, one would imagine! Hopefully it’s not the last time though as I genuinely enjoyed every minute of their set, mega long guitar solos and all! Dave thanked the fans for being an inspiration to him on defeating cancer and they bashed out a bunch of great hits including Tornado of Souls, Peace Sells and my personal favourites Angry Again and Symphony of Destruction! At this stage I well and truly felt like I had my money’s worth and we still had Parkway Drive and Slipknot to look forward to!

Parkway Drive took the stage and genuinely seemed to lap up every minute of performing, vocalist Winston McCall taking time out during their set just to take it all in. It’s not often you see a band of such stature have their vocalist perform from in the pit, crowd surfing and all but Winston did. If you haven’t caught these guys live you are missing out, it is as simple as that! Druids, fire and an amazing stage show on top of a thundering performance make them an absolute must see!



Speaking of absolute must see bands, Slipknot anyone? I have said this before and I stand by it: Corey Taylor is the most talented musician/artist in the world right now! To be the front man of two absolute juggernauts (Slipknot/Stone Sour) and to have them both so big with completely different feels is just amazing. This man is a genius and really knows how to interact with a crowd, a born entertainer. As the Slipknot banner went down the crowd went crazy, being an old school fan I found myself still enjoying Wait and Bleed and Spit it Out most, but the entire set was out of this world. The only downside was a brief unexpected intermission as the team at Knotfest threatened to shut the show down as a guy had climbed his way to the top of the stands mid concert. He soon got down and even Corey couldn’t be mad as he shook his head at the “Crazy Australian”, the show went on without another hiccup and ended all too quickly. Just like that lights were out on the first ever Knotfest, one we will never forget. Let’s hope they do it all again next year!

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