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How To Survive Psycho Las Vegas


When it comes to multi-day music festivals, Psycho Las Vegas is in a league of its own. The amount of bands packed into one long weekend is staggering, but what is more amazing is that those bands are all good. Usually festivals with this many bands have maybe six or seven standouts and another five to ten curiosities that I’ll try and catch… but with this year’s lineup, my incomplete Must See List (more on this later) is already 63 bands long.

It is a truly awesome time to be alive when this many heavy bands get their own stateside festival, where fans get to indulge in nothing but heavy music for four days straight. That being said, it is no easy feat making it through an event of this proportion without some sacrifices to your health, wallet, and sanity. To help you make the most of the weekend, we put together a Psycho Las Vegas Survival Guide. Whether you are a veteran to the fest or gearing up for your first year, these recommendations will hopefully find you in a little better condition than without.


The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, the host of this monstrous showcase, is very well equipped. The Hotel is comprised of three towers, each with its own style and amenities. The Paradise Tower is located on the north side of the property and has its own entrance. Inside, the rooms have their own color scheme and theme and are basically the medium-level rooms in terms of price. The Casino Tower follows the lower curve of the property and is “in the middle of the action.” The majority of restaurants and bars follow this same curve, and the hotel’s elevators will deposit you directly onto the casino floor. These rooms are generally the most reasonable and are well suited for heavy casino participation. The HRH Suite Tower also has its own entrance and parking, plus its own quiet and dimly lit front counter and elevator access. This tower has the higher dollar accommodations and the definite benefit of a tranquil retreat from the rest of the casino. All of the rooms in this tower are considered suites and have what you would expect from a modern Vegas hotel. Each venue at the casino has a bar and there are 11 places to get food within the casino itself, as well as a fancy spa, but with 80+ bands, you won’t have time for that fucking shit.


This is where things can first start to get out of hand. The quality of food and range of choices is great, but the expense can (and will) add up extremely fast. There are no refrigerators in the rooms of the hotel itself, so trying to stretch a meal past one sitting is a no-go. You are also not allowed to bring in outside food or drink, and the hotel reserves the right to refuse entrance of these types of items. You may be able to sneak in a bag from the CVS pharmacy across the street, but you will be at risk of having to enjoy your purchase outside. This obviously encourages patronage at the hotel’s restaurants and bars.

In lieu of this situation, it is highly recommended that you pack snacks in your luggage. Clif bars, nuts, crackers, candy… anything that won’t go bad sitting in your hotel room. I would recommend things that will help with energy and not just a bunch of empty calorie munchies. This is going to be your midday booster (or early evening adrenaline shot), so there needs to be some substance to it. You may need to seek the help of an adult for what to bring. If you are staying at a different hotel, then you will obviously have a harder time at this.

The main restaurant at the Hard Rock is Mr. Lucky’s (get it?): a basic modern American restaurant with healthy portions and a decent selection. The thing to watch for is their specials. Last year, they had a steak and egg breakfast served from midnight until 6:00 a.m. at a reduced price. It was still a proper sized meal, and very tasty while the price was nearly half what it should have been. Pizza Forte is another cheaper and quicker option that is good for grabbing something fast in between bands. The prices there are only slightly higher than neighborhood pizza joints in most major cities. Pink Taco (get it, again?) is good, but a burrito is $15.00. You do get free chips and salsa, and I would recommend making them fill that basket back up at least eight times to make it feel worth it. Once again, great tasting food with good ingredients, but it will lead to a small fortune being lost… without even gambling. There are two different coffee shop-type establishments on the premises with your normally anticipated options. If you have a secret (or not so secret) Starbucks addiction, you will have to venture north to E. Flamingo road, across from the property. There are several places to get food nearby, but with the amount of bands and overlapping set times it can be difficult to find time to go exploring. Not to mention it will be the third week in August… in Vegas.


Here is where your hard work with saving money on food pays off. As you would imagine, it is not hard to find something to drink in the casino, but depending on where you are, the prices will change by quite a bit. An average cocktail at Center Bar (which is magically located in the center of the casino gaming area) is around $7.00, while the same cocktail at the bar located in the Joint (the large venue for headliners) is around $14.00. You are not allowed to bring drinks from the casino into the venues, so don’t think you’re going to get sneaky there, but you will be able to take your double-priced cocktail with you back out into the casino. For this reason, you will usually see a shitton of people at Center Bar and the very tiny bar next to Pink Taco. You can still get comped drinks if you meet the requirements in place for gambling either at the tables or machines, so if you are crafty enough to juggle that situation then you may do alright, but you may also end up spending $40+ on a beer. Your best bet is to hope you run into someone you haven’t seen in awhile (or awkwardly approach someone you only know through Facebook) and have them buy you a drink. Then you can stand there and cite online discussions where you were both in agreement on someone’s guitar tone, or how you liked their edgy distaste for a popular band coming through their town.


The music will take place at three different venues within the Casino. The Pool is an outdoor stage located right next to the Hard Rock’s sand-lined wading/swimming pool. There are plenty of places to sit and stand, and you can watch the show from inside the pool. I would adjust your wardrobe accordingly as there is sand, and it is going to be very fucking hot during the daylight hours. It is indeed a “dry heat” and will suck any moisture out of your body. They have plenty of drink options outside but do remember to chuck some regular ol’ water in there from time to time so you don’t end up being “that” person by 3:00 p.m.

The “Vinyl” is a 650-person capacity venue located inside the casino near the gaming floor. It has its own bar, good sound, and will be a frequent stop throughout the weekend. The main acts will be hosted in The Joint. This is the largest venue with a capacity of 4000 with a main floor area and two levels of balcony seating. The balcony seating can be a nice place to relax and watch a great set while you recoup and recharge for the rest of the evening. Just like the other two venues, the sound is good, and it has its own (huge) bar. The staff were fair and cool from what I saw for the whole weekend and seem to know what they are doing. I did not notice any loose canons tackling concert goers for no reason like I have elsewhere. They will be on the lookout for people smoking in the venues and you can get kicked out for that, but that is the same for everywhere… so no surprise. Last year, they had an “Amnesty Box” for you to drop your cannabis into, no questions asked, as you made it through security to enter the venue. With recreational marijuana now legal in Las Vegas, I would imagine they will be even more vigilant in hopes of stopping people who think they can just smoke anywhere.

Each day will kick off sometime shortly after noon, with bands running at all three locations for most of the day and into the early morning. Now for the hard part…


This festival would need to be spaced out over a full week for you to be able to catch each band’s entire set, so unfortunately you will have some tough decisions to make. The best way to make sure you get what you want out of this festival is to make a Must See Band List. You can find the entire schedule here for the three main days. The greatest thing about this festival (to me) is the chance to catch bands that you would otherwise have a hard time seeing. You will notice a lot of people leaving one set to catch another, and it is an expected practice. It is obviously important to catch your personal favorites and bucket list heavy-hitters, but do make sure to see some of the bands you’ve heard buzz about, or maybe a band you’ve heard nothing about. This is one of the greatest heavy metal buffets in the world… so don’t just fill up on your known favorites. Branch out and experience a little variety!

You can pick up your wristbands starting at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday at the main box office, at The Joint. Bands will be starting on Thursday at the Pool pre-party at 11:00 a.m. and will continue until 10:00 p.m. Afterward, Subrosa and Yob will be playing the Vinyl starting at 10:30 p.m. This show is not included as a part of the festival, so you will need to have separate tickets to get in. If you can get your way into that show, it will be a highlight of your entire trip, I promise. Friday will mark the beginning of the festival proper, and you will be along for the ride from there on out.


I would like to start this part of our guide by stating that I am in no way claiming to be above fandom (or geeking out), and I have had my fair share of being in awe of meeting my heroes… and making an ass out of myself. We usually get lucky with the fact that these awesome musicians are graceful and patient and have been dealing with this professionally for some time. But, you must keep in mind that they in fact are people and have places to be with really important shit to do, or they just want to go to catering and stare at their phone for an hour. Either way it is better to not be an obstruction in this path. It is almost guaranteed that you will see someone that means something to you as they will be staying at the hotel in pretty much the same fashion as you or me. A simple nod and a waive or a generous smile will go a long way and will most likely get the same warm response, while allowing you to start creating your embellished version of the story for your friends back home. You may indeed get an awesome opportunity to talk shop with one of your favorites about some super-cool shit, but just remember to breathe and monitor your vocal volume like any other conversation. If all else fails, just scream their band name at them and yell “YEAH, fuck yeah, man” and try to maintain eye contact for far, far too long.

Thank you for taking the time to read through our recommendations for surviving Psycho Las Vegas 2017. I am sure this will be another extremely memorable weekend. Make sure you spend all of the rest of your money on band merch and drinks for your friends, new and old. And I know exactly how this sounds, but for real, don’t forget the sunscreen.

—Alyssa Herman, Guy Nelson, and Foto Phortress

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