One of heavy metal’s hottest new festivals is returning next weekend to what is arguably the most iconic prison in the world.
The 2022 INKcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival will run July 15-17 at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield.
The event has become so popular that tickets have already sold out, according to Daniel Janssen, general manager and one of the co-founders of INKcarceration.
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“It’s the second year in a row we sold out,” Janssen said. “Pretty exciting stuff.”
Tickets can still be found online through third-party resale websites.
This year’s headliners include rock and metal giants Korn, Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin and Evanescence. Other acts include Lamb of God, Papa Roach, Seether, Falling in Reverse, Three Days Grace, I Prevail, Black Label Society, Theory of a Deadman, Black Veil Brides, Jelly Roll and more.
The festival capped at 75,000 guests
After a previous festival shut down in 2017, the INKcarceration event was first held in 2018.
There were 15,000 guests that first year.
“We didn’t expect it to grow to be this big,” Janssen said. “We knew we had something special and unique after the first year when we had such a big response to it.”
By 2019, it had tripled to 45,000 visitors. There was no event in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic.
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Then the show was on again in 2021 — a record 75,000 people attended that festival.
“This is technically year four,” Janssen said. “Our capacity is about 25,000 per day. That’s 75,000 for the weekend. It’s a good number. It’s packed, but it’s not too packed.”
Parking limitations and the layout of the festival grounds are expected to keep that as the attendance cap for years to come.
Mansfield event draws people from across the nation
The event features what organizers call a “trifecta” of attractions: world-renowned bands, top-tier tattoo artists and an iconic venue.
It is estimated that the three-day festival will inject about $10 million into Richland County’s economy.
“The Shawshank Redemption” was filmed at OSR in 1993 and brought Hollywood stars Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins to the city. The prison-turned-museum is open year-round for tours and events.
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“That’s the cool thing and that’s what sets us apart,” Janssen said. “About 40% of our audience is from out of state.”
The bands set to perform at this year’s festival are some of the industry’s leading acts.
“As a rock fan myself, it really excites me,” Janssen said. “We have definitely been able to bring in some large acts.”
Then there are the tattoo artists who will provide fresh ink throughout the reformatory.
“The artists are hand-picked,” Janssen said.
One of the event’s organizers travels the country every year to find the best tattoo artists and invite them to Mansfield. There will be 70 people applying tattoos to festival goers this year.
“He literally searches around the country and brings them in from all over. They travel from everywhere.”
Festival-goers who want a tattoo should plan ahead.
“They book fast,” Janssen said. “There are a few who take walk ups, like some flash work.”