This past weekend, Jacksonville, Florida was swarmed with over 50,000 rock fans for a music fest unlike any other – Welcome to Rockville. Unlike other music festivals, there weren’t any floral crowns (ok…maybe like one or two), and the fringe was of a different sort (read: LEATHER. lots and lots of leather), but there WAS 45 bands spread out over two days on four different stages- making for the biggest rock experience in Florida’s history.
Selling out for the THIRD year in a row, Rockville has double in size over the last three years – the blisters on my feet can attest to that one. There’s no wonder that Metropolitan Park turned into standing room only, with acts such as Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, A Day to Remember, Bring Me The Horizon and Rob Zombie.
Although scorching hot, the crowd showed up for the first day of the festival ready to rock – and party. Thanks to Tequila World Presented by El Jimador, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Row and the Jäger Live Lounge, attendees had a steady flow of liquor to cool them down after moshing to bands like Miss May I, Escape The Fate, Pennywise and Sixx A:M.
The massive crowd really started to shine as the British band Bring Me The Horizon took to the stage as the sun went down. A sea of crowd-surfers seemed to be the view for most attendees as the night went on to headlining acts 3 Doors Down (Kryptonite anyone?!), Shinedown and Florida’s own Disturbed – who just came back from a 4-year hiatus.
The blistering heat didn’t keep any fans away Sunday. Fans took the last day to flock to the artist meet & greets presented by The Music Experience and f.y.e, between watching bands like Beartooth (seriously incredible), Issues, Memphis May Fire, We Came As Romans, P.O.D., Yelawolf, (… can I name all of them). Saturday had NOTHING on Sunday’s crowd. The circle pits of the day turned Metro Park into a dust bowl before sunset. Attendees took to the Welcome To Rockville Ferris Wheel to escape the dust and catch their favorite band from high in the sky.
Enter A Day To Remember. Probably the biggest crowd of the weekend (ya know, besides Rob Zombie). Seen from the Ferris wheel, just a never ending mash-up of dust and bodies; seen from the crowd, confetti, and fog right in the middle of breakdowns of fan favorites including Downfall of Us All. Fans even came together to give a fan in a wheelchair the chance to crowd-surf. Seriously, how punk-rock is that?! The day didn’t end there. Fans stuck around sunburnt, drunk and dirty to catch Five Finger Death Punch and the much-anticipated legend Rob Zombie. More than just an icon and film maker, Zombie truly is a born performer.
There’s no way you can’t see how Welcome To Rockville has become the biggest rock event in Florida, breaking records yearly. And the 50,000 fans in attendance show that this festival has no chance in changing that anytime soon, all while showcasing the strength of the rock community.
Take that Coachella!