This year INKcarceration Music and Tattoo Festival was a first for a guest.
“This is the first gig with my daughter,” Stacey VanWinkle said. “15 years of life”, she thought. “My first time at this festival.”
VanWinkle was among the first to get a tattoo inside the historic Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield on Saturday morning. “This is my seventh tattoo.”
VanWinkle’s daughter, a Wooster resident, is a regular “INKmate,” as INKcarceration festival fans call her.
“I usually come for the whole weekend with my family,” Alyssa Simmons said.
Simmons’ father helps carry on the tradition.
“He usually comes every day,” Simmons said, “but he always tailgates.”
Saturday was the second day of the INKcarceration Music & Tattoo festival, with tickets for all three days capped at 25,000 and sold out weeks in advance.
Organizers have scoured the country to invite their favorite tattoo artists to come to Mansfield for the festival, now in its fourth year.
Bleeding Black Tattoo hails from Washington State. They said the slower pace of life in Richland County is a big draw.
“It’s a different vibe than I’m used to,” said tattoo artist Nick Flores. “A good change. It’s not like a city, where everyone is in a hurry. I like the slower pace here. Pretty laid back, cool.
Reservation places filled quickly.
“We got booked in pretty quickly,” Nick Flores’ assistant Jason Stultz said. “We were booked for almost 6 months.”
The itch to come back is already planted.
“I really want to come back next year, if I’m invited,” Flores said. “As long as they want me.”
One of the attractions for INKmates this weekend is the blood prison escape at the Ohio State Reformatory. Although it’s only open to the general public from September 24 to October 30, festival-goers have the option of browsing it during INKcarceration for an additional $15.
The final day of the festival on Sunday will feature 19 bands including Disturbed, Lamb of God, Seether and Defying Decay.
More information is available online at INKcarceration.com.