Festival season is officially here, and Rock on the Range is quickly becoming one of the country’s biggest events to feature heavy music each year. The annual music festival takes place May 17-19 at Columbus Crew Stadium and, per usual, offers a hard-hitting mix of metal and modern rock sounds. So, what acts are invading Rock on the Range this year? Check out Gibson.com’s preview piece, featuring a few highlights below.

Rock on the Range 2013 Lineup:

Rock on the RangeSoundgarden
Alice In Chains
Smashing Pumpkins
Korn
Bush
Stone Sour
Three Days Grace
Papa Roach
Cheap Trick
Bullet for My Valentine
Volbeat
Lamb of God
Skillet
A Day To Remember
Buckcherry
Halestorm
Hollywood Undead
All That Remains
Device (with David Draiman)
Steel Panther
Sevendust
Sick Puppies
Asking Alexandria
Pop Evil
In Flames
Clutch
In This Moment
Black Veil Brides
The Sword
Ghost
Motionless In White
Red
Deuce
Middle Class Rut
Big Wreck
Oleander
Otherwise
Red Line Chemistry
Young Guns
Thousand Foot Krutch
Mindset Evolution
Tracer
Beware of Darkness
Heaven’s Basement
American Fangs
Love And Death
Gemini Syndrome


 Highlights:

Korn, Love and Death – May 17

The metal world pretty much freaked when they heard the news that former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, who left the band years ago after getting sober and finding Christianity, would be back to perform with the band at Rock on the Range 2013. Now, Welch has a whole tour lined up with Korn, but the excitement to see the band together again at Rock on the Range is still strong. Welch’s other band, Christian hard rockers Love and Death, are also scheduled to play the festival.

Buckcherry – May 17

Buckcherry know how to put on a rock show. Not a glossy, overly-polished type of rock concert, but one that offers pure, raw rock with dirty guitars and raspy vocals. The guys are known for spending months on the road, and their love for music shines through with each performance. “We’re making music we love,” guitarist Keith Nelson recently told Gibson.com. “That’s what keeps it all going-- that and our love for music. We remember what it’s like to be a fan and save money for a concert and see your favorite band come to town.”

Smashing Pumpkins – May 18

Best known for psychedelic ‘90s nuggets such as “Tonight, Tonight” and “1979,” the Pumpkins are currently on the road in support of their latest full-length, Oceania. Expect to hear plenty of new material and the band’s signature dream pop, shoegaze sound.

Corgan recently chatted with Gibson.com about how the band has evolved over the years. “I think maybe the values that the band represents are like a fine wine: They’ve gotten better over time,” Corgan said. “There were a lot of value systems that were around the band where people pretended they were cooler or more indie, and those have kind of fallen by the wayside. I think that being musical and the integrity of having your own musical language is more important over time than whether somebody likes you or whether you’re popular.”

Stone Sour – May 18

Corey Taylor and Stone Sour arrive at Rock on the Range with not one, but two new albums: House of Gold & Bones Part I and Part II. The albums make up a double concept release of sorts, and Taylor recently spoke with Gibson.com about the idea behind releasing the double set.

“We knew we wanted to do a double album, and more we talked about it, it became apparent we wanted to release it as two separate albums rather than one big package, both for creative reasons and pragmatic reasons,” Corey said. “Creatively, we could do different things with packaging and crate excitement for Part 2, almost like a sequel to a movie. We knew could do cool things and, by word of mouth, drive what was going on. Pragmatically, double albums are really expensive, and in this day and age when most people don’t even like to buy CDs, we wanted to make sure our fans had the incentive to buy them. Instead of charging something 30 bucks, we decided to split it up and make it more affordable for people.”

Bullet for My Valentine – May 18

Welsh heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine are fresh off the release of a new album, Temper Temper, and are back in the U.S. to promote the collection. The band’s sound harks back to ‘80s and ‘90s metal, as lead guitarist Michael “Padge” Paget once described to Gibson.com: “That’s what inspired us to start playing, so we definitely have that element in our songs and on our albums. . . . Metallica and Dimebag Darrell were all big influences, and even Kurt Cobain, when you look at the variation between rock and metal. But, I think classic metal comes out in our music, with big melodies and guitar solos.”

Soundgarden – May 19

Along with Alice in Chains, grunge icons Soundgarden are drawing some of the most excitement from this year’s Rock on the Range lineup. The guys recently wrapped up a North American club tour, which sold out in most markets. Now, they’re hitting the big stage. Expect to hear new tunes off 2012’s “King Animal,” plus all the classics.

Alice in Chains – May 19

Instead of dividing up the ‘90s grunge icons, Rock on the Range booked both Alice in Chains and Soundgarden to close out the festival on Sunday. Alice in Chains also have a collection of North American dates happening this spring, all in support of their new album, out May 28.