Jackson "Riff and Destroy” Competition Slays Sonisphere

By Jeff Owens

August 14, 2009

The third annual Jackson “Riff and Destroy” competition at the Aug. 1-2 Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth, England was a smashing—or shredding success.

This year the competition took place on the Jackson stage at Sonisphere, offering those brave enough to take part in “Riff and Destroy” the opportunity to join in as festival performers.

“Riff and Destroy” entrants got one minute each to show off their riffing ability on a Jackson axe plugged into a cranked EVH 5150III™ all-tube half stack. The grand prize for the top shredder was a signature Jackson guitar of the winner’s choice.

Considering the prize offering, the third annual “Riff and Destroy” competition was a huge attraction, with beginners and accomplished shredders alike busting out their most molten riffs. Three heats took place on Friday, another three on Saturday and one on Sunday. Those whose metal had the most mettle advanced to the final on Sunday afternoon.

All heats were enthusiastically witnessed by hundreds of metal fans, with Sunday’s grand final attracting an even larger crowd. The judges featured Sonisphere performers and some of the Jackson Bloodline’s finest—Machine Head’s Phil Demmel, Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck, Lamb of God’s John Campbell and Anthrax’s Scott Ian.

After a close race, the judges anointed the fleet-fingered Mikey Goodson as the winner. Mikey was quick to pick his prize, a Jackson Phil Demmel Demmelition V signature guitar which he immediately asked Phil to sign.

In addition to the competition, thousands of festival-goers trafficked the Jackson stage to riff and shred away at one of the eight Jackson Guitar stations, with Jackson staff on hand to offer instruction, advice and all-around metallic ambience.

Survey the Sonisphere ’09 destruction yourself as we roll the Jackson clips seen here:

Sunday’s Final Heat

Sunday’s Grand Final


Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3


Heat 1

Heat 2

Heat 3