Jay Nanda / AXS.com
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Jay Nanda / AXS.com
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Jay Nanda / AXS.com
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Promotional photo
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Courtesy: River City Rockfest
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Memorial Day weekend is always a time to remember and reflect on those who served this nation and to honor their legacy. In San Antonio, it's also a time to rock.

The fifth annual River City Rockfest is drawing ever so closer, with this Saturday's lineup on the AT&T Center's parking grounds being headlined by Def Leppard and highlighted by Godsmack and second-stage headliners The Offspring. The one-day Rockfest, held on the holiday Sunday in recent years as the Alamo City's largest annual rock festival, has moved to a Saturday, giving fans even more time to recover from 11 hours of rock and metal. The festival has grown each year, with more than 27,800 fans witnessing last year's extravaganza.

After postponing a portion of its tour last summer due to singer Joe Elliott's vocal problems, Def Leppard made up most of the dates, including in Corpus Christi 2 1/2 hours away. But the originally scheduled show inside the AT&T Center wasn't one of them, leading to speculation locally that the show didn't sell well. Now, the reason is evident. 

The '80s rockers will play a slew of Hysteria and Pyromania hits when they take to the Bud Light main stage at 10:10 p.m. That follows The Offspring's 9:10 p.m. set on the AA Best Bail Bonds stage as the Rockfest for the first time will employ side-by-side main stages to avoid conflicts on its two largest platforms.

Preceding Def Leppard on the first main stage at 8:10 p.m. will be Godsmack. Still riding momentum from 2014 release 1000hp, the Rockfest incredibly will mark only the Boston band's second visit to the nation's seventh-largest city since 2006. The previous one came in 2012 inside the Alamodome when Godsmack and Staind co-headlined the Mass Chaos tour with Halestorm. Following that show, Godsmack vocalist Sully Erna held an autograph signing and performed acoustically at nearby Backstage Live (now known as Alamo City Music Hall).

The bands playing on the Rockfest's Fan Duel, or third, stage are no slouches either. But some of their set times will overlap with the more well-known acts.

Headlining that stage at 7:30 p.m. will be Nothing More, playing its hometown festival for the first time. They'll be preceded at 5:20 p.m. by Norma Jean and at 4 p.m. by World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Chris Jericho's band Fozzy. As he discussed with AXS in Fozzy's previous visit in September 2014, Jericho and guitarist Rich Ward came up with the idea of starting a band when they met backstage in 1999 at the Alamodome when Jericho was a part of World Championship Wrestling (watch). Ward, meanwhile, took part in the seventh annual 70000 Tons of Metal cruise in February with his original band Stuck Mojo and participated in that voyage's All-Star Jam (AXS coverage here).

The River City Rockfest will include three bands that took part in the 2015 rendition: Papa Roach -- which released Crooked Teeth last Friday -- The Pretty Reckless and Swedish metallers In Flames.

Local rockers The Heroine will extend their streak of being the only San Antonio or national band to play all five Rockfests. This time, however, vocalist Lynnwood King and Co. will get their first taste of the main stage when they open the festival at noon on the Bud Light stage in a set that's only scheduled for 20 minutes. King will again play double duty when his church-influenced Lynnwood King's Revival kicks off the Fan Duel stage at 12:50 p.m.

Not to be outdone will be the return of the Hellzapoppin' Freak Show side attraction. The circus act that includes sword swallowing and fire breathing will perform at 1 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. There will also be models body painted in logos and/or album covers of some of the festival's bands.

Def Leppard follows in the Rockfest's footsteps of headlining acts Disturbed a year ago plus Linkin Park in 2015, Kid Rock in 2014 and inaugural main act Guns N' Roses in 2013.

Tickets remain available here. Stay up to date with AXS.com for complete coverage of the 2017 River City Rockfest here.


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