Pete Wentz Fall Out Boy Big Orlando

The Big O Satisfies Orlando Rock Fans

Pete Wentz Fall Out Boy Big Orlando
Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy at The Big Orlando. Photo by

Big Orlando Festival Recap

As soon as we heard that Orlando had an Alt-Rock station, I began dreaming that a festival like The Big Orlando could someday be hitting a venue in our area.  This weekend, I saw that dream realized, and it had a happy ending.

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The festival is a derivative of Jacksonville’s Big Ticket, and Tampa’s Next Big Thing, two regional showcases that present wonderful opportunities for local alternative rock fans to spend a day feting their favorite artists and being exposed to talented new bands.  For the inaugural Orlando event, the fans at the Orange County Fairgrounds were treated to a line-up that featured huge acts like Weezer and Fall Out Boy, as well as up and coming artists and a handful of talented local bands.

For today, I’ll just share a couple of key takeaways, but make sure you Like our Facebook and Follow our Twitter, because we’ll have capsule reviews of every band, as well as a boatload of killer photos.

A few thoughts:

  • Lineup – This was just about perfect. Diverse, talented and entertaining acts all day; it was a who’s who from today’s modern rock landscape. A good mix of legends, rising acts and local talent.  The only disappointment was that Twin Atlantic did not play due to unknown circumstances, but it didn’t take long to totally forget that quick disappointment.
  • Best Act – Fall Out Boy was great, Weezer was pretty damn good and half a dozen other bands were quite memorable, but everyone was raving about New Politics, and for good reason; they killed it – sounded great and delivered the most energetic, athletic and unpredictable performance of the night. Their act was rock ‘n roll at it’s core!
  • New Discovery – The Hip Abduction. This six-piece from Florida’s West Coast have a unique sound that they call afropop, featuring a handful of eclectic African instruments, most of which I’ve never seen before on stage, let alone on National Geographic Channel, and they sounded fantastic. Fresh, original, and diverse. Great stuff. J’ Roddy delivered a smoking set, too!
  • Best Local Act – There was a lot of good local music on both the Axis and Jagermeister stages. The Crazy Carls had the crowd bouncing and thoroughly engaged throughout their set, led by charismatic frontman Alex Baugh (after the set, I interviewed Baugh and will have that published in the near future) who was a whirling dervish the entire time he was on stage.
  • The Crowd – I suck at estimating crowd size.  My guess is about 7,326 people.  Whatever the number, they were loud and engaged throughout and hung in there during the chilly wet evening.  It was really a fun, relaxed atmosphere, featuring a great mix of ages.
  • Logistics – The promoters nailed the stage rotation. Bands always started on time and for the most part sounded great. Lots of vendors, food and bars, and minimal lines most of the day. Plenty of Port-A-Pots which were surprisingly cleaner than the traditional rest rooms. My only complaint was the bleed through at the Main Stage from the Axis local stage speakers. Next year, they need to find a better configuration for that stage.
  • The Venue – The fairgrounds are just the right size.  If I were in charge, I’d figure out a way to give the fans access to the lakefront, and maybe make use of the livestock pavillion, but other than that, not sure I’d change a damn thing. I can’t wait to get back here again.

For an inaugural event, The Big Orlando was fantastic. Hopefully, it is only the first iteration of what will become an annual event in The City Beautiful. Great bands, nice venue, killer staff, and an absolute bargain!

Remember to check back this week as we have a lot of additional coverage headed your way!

We’ve added our band reviews:
Afternoon session reviews here: Sleeper Agent, Bear Hands, Big Data, Know Hamilton, Crazy Carls, The Hip Abduction, Kasson, A Hero’s Fate
Evening session reviews here: Fall Out Boy, Weezer, New Politics, Young The Giant, Dirty Heads, J. Roddy Walston & The Business

Rock On!

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Rivers Cuomo Weezer Big Orlando Festival
Rivers Cuomo of Weezer at The Big Orlando Festival. Photo by

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