BUCKEYE LAKE -- Thousands of tattooed, dye-haired, non-conformists descended on central Ohio, 23 miles south of the Knox County line, for the Camp Anarchy music festival over the weekend.
The event was more than just bands — to be the embodiment of the punk rock movement shown through community, camping, thrashing and fun.
Legend Valley, outside of Buckeye Lake and about 30 miles east of Columbus, hosted the festival over three days, drawing people from all over the country. Like Lauren and Fernando Mata, who made the trip from Ft. Lauderdale.
"We came last year to see NOFX, and have seen them all over the country. It was funny to hear them making fun of hippies at Bonnaroo,” Fernando said.
The Matas were setting up their tent in a once-empty field consumed by Coleman domes, wedged in side-by-side in little camp lots. In the pop-up next to them, a man was complaining about how tight his girlfriend’s shirt was.
“Great, I can’t wait to have guys stare at you all weekend,” the boyfriend said.
From the campground, it was a muddy walk toward the front entrance, and then meandering down the paved path towards the sunken amphitheater.
The band “Sick of it All” was just wrapping up its hardcore set and the circle pit in front of the stage had more dancing than violence.
“Fear” was up next, who was permanently banned from Saturday Night Live for set destruction in the early ‘80s.
“I can’t wait to see ‘Fear,’” said a man wearing the band's shirt. His jaw was jutting back and forth, as something seemingly gained control of his face.
“The Offspring” was headlining the night, and the fest itself had Bad Religion, Rancid, NOFX and Suicidal Tendencies.
It could be easily argued that it was a retirement tour, of ‘80s and ‘90s punk bands that had at least one short-lived radio hit. But there’s no need to talk about how real punk existed in basements filled with mud, roaches and horrible sound equipment -- because there’s no such thing as real punk.
It didn’t matter if you had a Mohawk and the punk uniform—what mattered was the party.
And when the sun escaped behind the hills of Legend Valley, the real screaming started, with endless clouds of smoke, beer splashes covering shoulders and people trying to navigate to nowhere. No revolution, no policy change — just young and old rockers, seeing if they couldn’t touch the outcast life one more time.