Festival Preview: CHICAGO OPEN AIR 2017

Chicago has always been a melting ground for music. A windy city that lovingly embraces the latest styles and trends. Venues here may open and close but the craving we have for musical variety will always be there. Where there’s desire, you can typically find a stage.

Summer in the city is a celebration of culture and style. The Taste of Chicago and Blues Fest are just the tip of the iceberg for a fan looking for something a little more extreme. The Chicago Open Air Festival is returning to Toyota Park July 14-16 and I hope it becomes a tradition.

A solid sophomore line-up featuring both old and new. This festival is a celebration of heavy metal and the unsaid unity it provides to those who follow its melody. We need these celebrations now more than ever. Metal is at an influx – it’s aging. As mighty as these juggernauts are there are none that can defeat time. The best way to pass a torch is to know the past. Seeing is believing.

If you are a younger fan, consider these older acts as a rite of passage. Years from now you’ll be glad you did. Many of these great icons are the building blocks on which metal stands.

If you are an older fan, as great as it is to relive the past, I urge you to check out the direction metal is headed. Loyalty is earned and there is no greater starting point than a festival ritualizing it.

Metal celebrating an identity, if you go in with an open mind I think you will be surprised.

Here’s a list of seven acts I’d like to see:


We all know he’s a living legend and I believe the opportunities to see this madman bark at the moon are few and far in between. The time is now to see this metal icon relive the classics. Ozzy is known for having a superb backup band and I’d expect a top notch show from the ultimate showman. Not to mention his reunion with Zakk Wylde! Unquestionably, Ozzy’s most prolific axe master since the late Randy Rhoads.


As with Ozzy, Kiss won’t be around forever and they know how to put on a good show. One of the last big theatrical metal acts, Kiss takes entertainment to a whole new level. It’s amazing how long the duo of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have been at the top. Kiss has been packing houses since the ‘70s! These classic anthems will only be heard live so many times. Take the opportunity to see one of metal’s greatest acts while they are still around.


A Viking ship of the death metal invaders will make a voyage to Chicago Open Air. If the theatrics of Ozzy and Kiss are coming to an end then the plight of Amon Amarth is just beginning.  The Swedish warriors have been at it since 1992 but are just starting to gain their well-deserved recognition here in the US. With 10 full length albums under their belts, now is the time to see a group with proper presentation hitting on all cylinders.


Stylized heavy metal with strong hardcore influences, the group has been active since 2008. Code Orange have earned their following the old school way, one fan at a time. Their high energy set is sure to bring more followers into the fold.


An icon who has existed since the late ’80s but shows no signs of slowing down. The rock star turned director knows how to theatrically entertain. His performances are legendary and I have a feeling this July will feature one for the books. There will come a point when Zombie is the last of metal big auditorium entertainers, a super icon who appears right at home with metal’s legends.


Sure they’re vile and their lyrics are disgusting but gimmicks sell and whether you want to admit it or not Steel Panther has a good one. Capitalizing on the hair metal trend they take ‘80s hedonism to moronic proportions. Not for the faint hearted but not to be missed.


The Polish masters will be here in the flesh. Established back in 1991, they are a force who melds the best of black and death metal into the truest standard of modern extremity. Don’t miss your chance to experience the cutting edge of metal on the big stage!

Chicago Open Air offers a way to experience metal’s old and new.  Be a part of history! See the legends before they are gone and ride the new wave of metal into the future. \m/

Chicago Open Air Online:

Tickets and information

David Halbe
About David Halbe (287 Articles)
I live in the USA and I'm a fan of all types of metal: Black, Death, Hair, Thrash, Nu, Core, Sleeze, Stoner, Groove, etc... I have a huge collection of heavy metal CDs and I have been attending shows since 1986. Nothing is too extreme or poserish for me, if it rocks it rocks. Metal is the music we all have in common, it is our lifeblood. \m/

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