Wing Ding 2009 - the end of a 7 year tradition

Yesturday was the 16th annual Wing Ding festival, and supposidly the last, as they cannot afford to keep doing it at the calibre they have after this year. It's sad because I've gone to it since 2003 - 7 years worth now. How do you replace a 7 year tradition?

It was held at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport's Bell Bowl this year. From how they made it sound, i was expecting an actual ampitheater type setup, but instead it was just a hill with a flat bottom. It was about the size of the Speedway though (where it's been for the past 3 years). They had a lot of vendors set up too kinda like Ozzfest, and food was provided by Papa Johns, Culvers, and Hooters.

Ya know, I've gone to Wing Ding for 7 years now, and never actually ate any wings there!

They also had the venue split in 2 - the far side was for 21+ and had all the alcohol contained over there, while the otherside was all the underagers. They had security tight on the fences so there was no way anyone under 21 could get to the alcohol - you couldn't take it over to the otherside. I thought that was pretty smart. We only had 1 beer, but stayed mostly on the 21+ side just because there was more room and it wasn't nearly as crowded as the otherside.

We got to the airport at around 1130am. Parking took almost a half hour and it was another hour of waiting in line just to get to the gate. We got in at around 1pm and Halestorm had just taken the stage - rock bands with chick singers rock. Apparently we missed Age of Daze and Taddy Porter, as the first band went on at noon - I kinda wanted to see Age of Daze as like their song "Afflicted" but we were stuck out in line. The Parlor Mob was next... yeah, they kinda sucked and only played like 4 songs. 10 Years played and they were pretty good. Coolio came out finally (he was the special guest host) and did a few of his songs, including Gangsta's Paradise. The rest of the evening, he was pretty amusing between set changes! Powerman5000 took the stage and we went down in the crowd for their set. They rocked as usual and near the end of the set, the band put on the spacesuits again from the first album! I was excited as I never got to see them back in the spacesuit days. It was awesome! We skipped out on Saving Abel and went and got food and came back to our spot on "drunk hill" in time for Saliva. They were about as good as they were the last time they played Wing Ding (in 2006). Shinedown came on and were pretty good, although it got pretty cold out with the breeze and my jacket and our blanket weren't doing much good so we left about halfway through their set.

I'll post my pictures when I get a chance, but I think for being the last Wing Ding, it sure went out with a bang! It was also memorable for me, as Powerman5000 played the first year I went and here they were again, back for the last show.

I hope they do something next year though, whether it's Wing Ding or not. Sure the lineup this year was huge, but I don't see why they couldn't go back to the old format - only have 1 or 2 big bands headlining with a few smaller or local bands opening. I think having something would be better than nothing. Let's hope they consider that!

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