Fans mourn Soundgarden’s Cornell, plan to honor his memory at Rock on the Range

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell has fans devastated. Many in Columbus were looking forward to seeing the grunge rock pioneers at Rock on the Range Friday.

The three-day, sold out concert is expecting a crowd of 40,000 rock music fans to fill MAPFRE Stadium, but one face will be missing from the stage.

Richard Ojeda from West Virginia awaits his 7th trip to Rock on The Range and was found outside Mapfre Stadium early Thursday morning.

“I was a very big fan,” he said. “I was very sad to hear about Chris’s passing. We actually woke up this morning at like five in the morning and found that out. We couldn’t go back to sleep, that’s why were here so early.”

Fans from North Carolina, New York and Dayton already lined up in the parking lot early Thursday morning making new friends and talking about the loss of Cornell.

Rowland Smith who’s ready for his 7th time at Rock on The Range talks about Cornell, saying fans will continue to enjoy the weekend in his memory.

“I mean that’s a huge blow to the music industry altogether. He’s a legend, man,” Smith said. “I guarantee everybody will be celebrating in his honor. There’ll be a bunch of beers left for him and a bunch of people praising the rock legend.”

Scott Stienecker, President & CEO of Promowest Productions says the last time Cornell played in Columbus was back in 2007.

“Chris Cornell is the top 5 voice of all time, he’s definitely in the top 5. It’s a huge loss for the rock and roll world,” he said.

Fans are posting all over social media wondering if the any of Soundgarden will be in attendance this weekend. Rock on The Range released a statement Thursday asking for fans to be patient during this difficult time and they will share more details when they have them.

JD Hill awaits his 5th time at Rock on The Range and would have loved to see Soundgarden headline on Friday.

“A part of me would be upset if they didn’t show up, but I would completely understand,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. His lyrics are really meaningful. An incredible songwriter, wonderful family man, friend to all, it’s unreal. I think we’re all going to continue to rock.”

Local DJs at 99.7 The Blitz are dedicating their shows to Cornell today.

Ronni Hunter has been in the radio business for 28 years, “It’s a very sad day,” she said on-air. “We lost one of the most influential singers of all time, the voice of a generation.”

Hunter fought back tears while playing one of Cornell’s songs. She took time to find the right words to say to fans on the radio about who she calls a rock music legend.

“You think about Chris Cornell, the guy, his voice speaks for a generation and his legacy is ridiculous,” she said.

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