For those that don’t know, or are not hip to what’s going on in the land of the elderly in Southwest Florida, there was a festival last weekend called Fort Rock that rattled the dentures from the skulls of the retirement villages, golf courses, and old person sex in the STD capital of America. Fort Rock is the sister show of Welcome to Rockville that happened way up north in Jacksonville, FL. During the same weekend nonetheless. The two festivals swapped bands on Saturday and Sunday…
WJRR’s Earthday Birthday Rocks Orlando
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Welcome to Rockville day one and Earthday Birthday 22 happened on the same day this year. So the dilemma for Central Florida rock enthusiasts was which show to go to. The obvious answer is EDBD followed by day two of Rockville, but that wasn’t an option for everyone, myself included. EDBD was held this year at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, and there was ample, but not free, parking.
I got there about an hour before the gates opened and joined the line, and overheard conversations about how lame the lineup was this year. If you heard this, and decided not to go, or abandoned Orlando’s only rock station’s annual festival in favor of Jacksonville’s little show, I’m here to tell you that you might have been mistaken. Every band I saw from 11 a.m., to Five Finger Death Punch, who closed the show around midnight, was awesome!
There were two main stages, the Bud Light Stage, at the northern end of the fairgrounds, and the Full Sail Stage at the south end. There was also an acoustic stage nestled in amongst the many great art vendors in the Mel’s Bad Girls Club Art Walk, featuring some local groups who were winners of a “battle of the bands” competition put on by WJRR, including hometown favorite Leaving Haven. There was also a midway with carnival rides, a BMX stunt show, wrestling ring, body painting, and tons of vendors giving away free swag, while selling their products and services.
Each stage packed enough speakers that people could hear all the great music easily while they took in everything the festival had to offer. Truth be told, I had a hard time finding someplace quiet to make a phone call, which ended up being near the centrally located restrooms. One of the only downsides to the whole thing was that it was hot, but thanks to Red Bull, there were large tents where anyone could sit down and get some relief from the sun.
So which acts helped me choose Earthday Birthday 22 over Welcome to Rockville, or staying home trolling the internet? Five Finger Death Punch, of course; I could do a whole story on their set alone, but there will be more articles to come this week breaking down their show, as well as Rise Against, Buckcherry, and All That Remains.
Which groups am I really glad I saw, that I might not otherwise have given a second thought to? Message to Venus, watch for my interview with them later, SoulSwitch, and Bobaflex, but every band I saw rocked!
What would I have done differently? I would have brought chargers for my phone and camera. My camera died shooting Slash’s set, my phone died shortly after, I had to pay to get my phone charged. Afterwards, I found a bunch of empty electrical outlets near an ATM. I also would bring some merch to get signed. Since I was worried about missing any music, I didn’t figure I would have time to do so. But since the music could be heard everywhere, I realize now this wouldn’t be a problem.
WJRR put together one hell of a show, the on air personalities made it a point to interact with the audience in every way possible, the staff was great, quickly responding to any incidents, as well as offering a squirt of ice cold water to whoever they could get to. I highly recommend you attend Earthday Birthday when it rolls around next year, also check out the articles I post about the event later for a deeper look into the bands as I saw them, and don’t forget to like RARAs Farm on Facebook where we will be posting exclusive concert photos.