Rock music festivals just don’t get much better than this!
Over the past twenty-plus years, I’ve been a rock music junkie, attending many hundreds of rock shows and festivals all along the East Coast. But, I’m not sure I ever witnessed as much good music in one day as I caught at The Big Ticket on the riverfront in Jacksonville. X102.9 is Jacksonville’s New Rock Alternative, and they delivered a talented diverse line-up that was damn near perfect for Alternative Rock fans.
The festival featured Alt-Rock legends Bush and Rise Against and some of today’s hottest new acts, such as FUN. Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men, as well as a handful of local rockers. The Met Park venue was set-up perfectly, with music alternating seamlessly between the two primary stages.
The Main Stage was packed with can’t miss acts the entire day, and no one disappointed. I was just as impressed with the diverse line-up playing the Jagermeister Side Stage; – Rarely have I seen a second stage boasting the kind of talent we were presented with, including the likes of Flogging Molly, Anberlin and the most pleasant surprise of the festival Twenty One Pilots.
We’ll get to the band-by-band recap in a bit, but first, lets focus on the festival in general.
We took a slew of great photos, and you can check them all out on our Facebook site. Just do us a favor and Like Us while you’re there. RARAs-Farm Facebook Page. We also offered up our Best of The Big Ticket earlier in our three part Big Ticket series, if you want to check that out.
The Metropolitan Park location was the ideal venue for a festival, with plenty of room for four stages, dozens of bands, a slew of vendors and ten thousand rabid rock music fans. It didn’t suck that the weather on the riverfront was absolutely perfect either. Met Park is one of the few places I’ve seen a show where you could “get away” for awhile if you wanted, including some nice spots on the river, and still hear the acts on the Main Stage. At the North end of the park there were two smaller stages featuring local acts and numerous merchandise booths offering a kicked back festival feel.
The bands alternated between the Main Stage and Side Stage impeccably, with there rarely being a break of more than few minutes. The only exception was a twenty minute delay for Grouplove that may have been the result of a wiring issue. The stages were set-up close enough that a few thousand fans could literally just rotate 45 degrees, twice an hour to catch non-stop fantastic performances.
The Side Stage featured a bit more of aggressive Alt-Rock, and leaned towards the punk side. Flogging Molly, Anberlin and Joy Formidable all had the crowd bouncing. The earlier acts on the stage were also entertaining and well-received by the crowd. Whole Wheat Bread, The Sunbears and the aforementioned Twenty | One | Pilots all had the crowd engaged, as well. Tyler Joseph was a mad man and one of the stand out performers of the day.
On the Main Stage most of the performances were exceptional. Paper Tongues immediately got things started with an energetic, animated performance. One of many bands with Jacksonville or Florida roots, they engaged the crowd as much as any band throughout the day. Grouplove and Of Monsters And Men followed up with great sets that had the crowd dancing and singing along, and Silversun Pickups sounded superb.
The Main Stage closed with three great sets. An incredibly well-received set from Fun, sounded as good as their richly layered recorded material and Nate Geuss was thoroughly entertaining. Gavin Rossdale was all over the venue, and disappeared into the crow a few times during Bush’s set. Then, Rise Against, delivered a powerful set to close out the night. The sound quality was superb all day from both stages, and did not suffer at all from the outdoor locale.
It was a near perfect line-up in a fantastic venue on a spectacular day, run exceptionally well by X102.9 and the promoters. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Check back tomorrow for our final Big Ticket article, our band-by-band recap – lots of great anecdotes.