Northern Invasion Music Festival recap

Northern Invasion 2018 - Recapping two days of music mayhem in Northwest Wisconsin
Counterfeit. lead vocalist Jamie Campbell Bowar gets up close and personal at Northern Invasion

Northern Invasion 2018, nestled in the rolling hills of Somerset, WI near the Apple River, held some amazing moments. Among those moments was seeing Counterfeit., a fresh English import, plugged in.  After seeing them perform acoustic at the Zippo Sessions last week at Carolina Rebellion, seeing them at full power was and is a must. They brought it hardcore proving they were the craziest rockers in America, from across the pond.


The Counterfeit. salute

Meeting a 9-year-old crowd surfer who got her first taste of body passing during the Butcher Babies set melted my cold metal heart.  Waiting at the edge of the pit for her safe return was mom, dad and sister. A family that Rocks together stays together. Epic parenting. The Ded mom and son with Ded hats and Ded eyes were up front and center, supporting their favorite band at Northern Invasion – Ded. The 3 stages were brimming with music for all.


The Ded family that rocks together stays together

One of the craziest moments was seeing Senses Fail lead singer “Buddy” Nielsen literally take a flying leap off the 5′ high stage onto the ground, almost taking out several unsuspecting security guards, and then body surfing.

senses fail

Senses Fail – stage flying or diving?

Grandson, a new artist to me, was a fresh and delightful surprise.


Grandson at Northern Invasion

It’s been over two years since we saw New Zealand’s very own ‘Like A Storm’ and they proved why they’ve been missed.

like a storm

New Zealand’s Like A Storm at Northern Invasion

Maynard had a full weekend in Wisconsin, performing with ‘A Perfect Circle’ on Saturday night and with ‘Tool’ on Sunday.

a perfect circle

Maynard gets centered at Northern Invasion performing with A Perfect Circle

The Canadian brothers ‘Dube’ were another wonderful surprise.  Look for our very fun interview with all 3 brothers coming soon to


Canadian brothers dube with Mischievous Mel

The weekends line up also featured the Black Veil Brides,

black veil brides

Black Veil Brides were happy to be at Northern Invasion

STP, I See Stars,

I see stars

I See Stars at Northern Invasion

Parkway Drive,

parkway drive

Parkway Drive at Northern Invasion

Asking Alexandria, We Came As Romans, Joyous Wolf, Whitney Peyton (look for her interview coming soon),

whitney peyton

Whitney Peyton at Northern Invasion

I Prevail, Miss May I (look for our interview with Levi & Ryan coming soon),

miss may i

Ryan Neff & Levi Benton from Miss May I with Mischievous Mel at Northern Invasion

Butcher Babies, Stick to Your Guns, From Ashes to New, Red Sun Rising, and Black Stone Cherry (watch for our interview with Chris & John Fred Young coming soon).

black stone cherry

Black Stone Cherry at Northern Invasion

What makes a festival a must? That can be a question answered by how you want to tailor your experience. Music of course is the main reason. Live bands, multiple stages… something for everyone from rock, to rap, to metal and well, to put it in a nutshell – variety is the spice of life and Northern Invasion was a festival filled with variety.

For those that choose the family adventure, it can go like this (and this is what I chatted with some fans about). “When I was young and saw STP the shows were wild. The music was amazing. And this new lead singer (Jeff Gutt) sounds like STP when they came out.” To be honest, this lady was losing her shit and freaking out in a good way about how great they sounded, performed, and the new music as well as the old favorites.  And, this lady was a mom attending Northern Invasion with her grown up daughter on Mothers Day.

The first timers: I bumped into a guy on crutches in his early 20s. I said “Wow, talk about hard-core… crutches and a cast up to the knee and you are rocking a festival. What band brought you here”? His reply, “To be honest, I bought the tickets and messed my leg up last week and had no one to give the tickets to so we (me and my girlfriend) came. This is my first concert ever.” My gasping response was “Sir, you are at a festival quite different than a club show or even an arena. This is a beast all its own and I’m stoked you’re here!”

The drinkers: There was plenty of big kid drinks to go around. With Fireball being dispensed by a shot girl on giant stilts, among others varieties of alcohol,  you could get your drink on as you rocked out.

Fire Ball shot girl on stilts at Northern Invasion

And Beer, we cannot forget beer. Because, and I can say this honestly being a Wisconsin native, we are raised on beer, cheese, football, and outdoor music festivals. So… ’nuff said on this.

“I came for one band” one fan said.  And who was that band? “Well, I came just to see Breaking Benjamin. But I heard and saw Black Stone Cherry and they were kickass. I saw other ones in between and I like what I heard.” This ladies and gentlemen is what a festival does. It brings together people of all walks of life, with all tastes of music, and for a few days we all become one seeing new bands, seeing favorite bands, meeting new people, moshing, pitting, and keeping music live.

breaking benjamin

Breaking Benjamin

There is a huge list of options to “choose your own adventure”, festival style, so we will move on to what else went down at Northern Invasion.

Foodies there was cheese everywhere…cheese curds, mac and cheese, cheese sandwiches – well, a Wisconsin food lovers dream.  Other grub must include turkey drumsticks, and for those that wanted to be a bit healthy there was a Vegan wagon. Yup, grubbing to live music – it does not get much better.

Northern Invasion also featured the Zippo sessions where fans could hear bands stripped down to acoustic, meet and greets, the FYE tent, The Music Experience, Fuck Cancer and other vendors in vendor village.

If all this makes you tired just to think about, know that you can get the camping experience. That is right – you can camp at Northern Invasion.  With all this how can you not do Northern Invasion if you are a music fan? That is right, no excuses. That said, see you at the next Northern Invasion. Huge props to DWP, AEG Presents, and Monster Energy for hosting this and so many other great festivals.

Festival RecapROCKwell MagROCKwell Radio on The EdgeWisconsin EdgeWisconsin Photographers Melissa & Wes Anderson