As a native Minnesotan there are only three reasons I willingly cross the border into Wisconsin. Beer on Sundays. A play date with my BFF Aaron Camaro. And a rock show. Or in this case an Invasion. Part of the World’s Loudest Month festival series, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal are set to invade western Wisconsin on May 9th at the Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset WI with the Northern Invasion Festival. I have seen at least 6 Ozzfests, a few 93XFests, a Warped tour, the first ever Knotfest and even a KISS show at this venue. I have probably seen more bands in Somerset than there are actual residents of this tiny town about 45 minutes from the Twin Cities. And I have never been more excited to see a show than the lineup coming next month.
As far as I’m concerned when Slipknot sets up across the border, you show up. Throw in Anthrax and Volbeat and suddenly I’d consider rescheduling my wedding to attend. And there’s more. Rounding out the lineup are Five Finger Deathpunch, Three Days Grace, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, In This Moment, Live, Motionless In White, Young Guns, Thousand Foot Krutch, We Are Harlot, Starset and Decibel Geek favorite Crobot. Quite a wide variety of Metal and Hard Rock. Considering a lineup of this magnitude, I figure it’s guaranteed to attract people less familiar than I with the serial killer hotbed known as Wisconsin. Consider it my civic duty. I give you…
The Five Things You’ll Need To Survive The Northern Invasion
5) GPS. Looking on a map it may seem like you just take 94 from Madison or the Twin Cities, take the Somerset exit and you’re there, but trust me it’s not that simple. If you’re coming from the east or the west, once you reach the quaint little antiquing paradise of Hudson WI, you will be treated to a back country trip down winding county roads with wonderful views of grassy hills and cows while the dewy scent of manure fills your automobile. While not difficult to find it’s also quite easy to miss a turn and end up in St. Croix Falls.
4) $$$ Like it or not concerts have gotten to be quite an investment. Which makes an event like this better. This much good music in one day cushions the blow. Assuming you aren’t going home after a full day of metal, camping starts at $150 for the weekend but if you’re booking now it may be too late. There aren’t many other legitimate lodging options available in Somerset. If you go to the Northern Invasion website you’ll find that there are a couple of hotels on the Minnesota side of the river that are offering shuttle service for the weekend. So for the daintier of you there is that option. If you book through the Northern Invasion website (link below) they toss in a $25 Merch voucher as well as a poster and access to the VIP pavilion the day of the show. In any event bring plenty of cash so you don’t have to use the ATM onsite. The service fee is probably gonna be closer to $10 than $5. And of course the line for it will probably cause you to miss at least one band.
3) Shorts and a Parka. Seriously. You have no idea what the weather in Wisconsin will be like in early May. Something between a rain poncho are sunscreen. You should have a pretty good idea the day of the show how to dress but plan on at least having a sweater or coat to put on.
2) A Tent. Sure you can drive home or stay in a hotel but for my money you want the whole weekend experience. The campground is literally right across the street so you can let the number of beers you drink get away from ya. And while it may be a tad cold it may just be the best camping weather you’ve ever seen.
1) A battery powered neck massager because with this much metal in one day you know you’re gonna need it. \m/
Consider yourself prepared for the onslaught of Metal you will experience when you attend the Northern Invasion. Oh. I almost forgot. Be prepared to have fun. At the Somerset Amphitheater I’ve been rained on, snowed on, sunburned, rolled in mud and gotten so drunk I thought the Biffy was my campsite? But I always had a good time. If you see me there don’t be afraid to buy me a beer. Or just say hi. You can call me Bakko.