Family Picnic, Columbus, OH, Germain Amphitheater, August 14, 2004
A $10 ticket price for guys and free for women. Five various metal bands playing and one would think beer would be flowing. But for some reason, the Family Picnic Tour of 2004 was not the success it was hoped to be. With Static X headlining, this tour was a different approach to the normal mundane rut of concerts these days. Where now, $30 for a concert can be seen as getting off cheap, Static X and their management company, The Firm, looked at going against the grain and offering a lot of music for a cheap price in hopes that bands can gain exposure and fans can afford to attend a concert without spending a week’s pay.

The Family Picnic hit Germain Amphitheater and the draw of fans was decent, but probably lighter than most were hoping. However, that didn’t stop the bands from playing raucus sets. In fact, Soil may have played their best show in a long time as their sound seemed to flow through the Amphitheater and where normally metal bands sound better in small clubs, Soil seemed to be able to capture the open air and fill it with their straight-forward metal sound. Following Soil was Trust Company, who have had some commercial success but their sound coming after Soil and before Static X seemed to be a let down for the metalheads there who wanted nothing more than to stake out their place on the lawn and mosh, slam and just release a week’s worth of pent-up aggression. It wasn’t that Trust Company played a bad gig, their softer, more melodic sound sandwiched between the chompy hardcore of Static X and the gut-wrenching sounds of Soil just made for an odd fit.

When Static X did take the stage, the fans were more than ready to take whatever the band gave. And Wayne Static and the boys gave a lot. With their trademark industrial-metal sound, Static X brought much anticipating fans what they have been waiting too long to get. Although Static X has been touring pretty consistently for the past few years, it has been a long time since they trekked through Columbus, Ohio. And the crowd didn’t disappoint, doing their part to lend a frenzied energy to the live performance.

What Static X and the rest of the Family Picnic crew probably did not live up to expectations. But a year or two down the road, when concert prices drop and bands start to offer more for our money, this tour can be looked at as the jumping off point. It is very rare that a new idea catches on in a flash. Not to mention the bands only did six shows under the Family Picnic umbrella. But it is about time not just bands, but management companies as well, look to invest back into all the people who support music and musicians. Maybe instead of seeing what the absolute highest a ticket price can be for a show, everyone involved, from promoter to manager to artist, will look to fill seats with lower prices and not keep open seats in hopes that fans will miss paying a bill or two to pay for a concert ticket.