This year’s 101.1 WJRR Earthday Birthday was the most women-centric rock event I can remember, and the approach helped make it one of the best festivals I’ve experienced. We were treated to five female fronted bands, a key sponsor was breast health awareness non-profit organization Rock Pink, we had a chance to honor a local survivor, we saw plenty of Mel and LT, and of course, there were painted breasts celebrated everywhere.
The folks at WJRR know how to throw a party, and everything flowed well on Saturday with 21 bands on three stages, timed perfectly. The two outdoor stages provided non-stop music for eleven straight hours, and there was an indoor venue for acoustic performances that gave folks a chance to escape the sun and catch favorite performers in a cozy intimate environment.
The day revolved around a diverse lineup of entertaining performers. There was definitely something for every fan of rock ‘n roll, never better displayed than with the last two headliners, 311 and Breaking Benjamin, who despite their very diverse music approaches, were well received by the entire crowd, and did a great job closing a fantastic day of music.
The newly available Gavin Rossdale and his mates from Bush stole the show with a dynamic hit-filled hour long set. They exploded onto the stage with an incendiary version of “Machinehead” and never backed off the throttle. “Comedown” was the singalong moment of the festival, they threw in a cool cover of Talking Heads “once In a Lifetime,” and Rossdale delivered a riveting acoustic version of “Glycerine.”
Oh, and then there was this version of “Little Things.” Watch this video, all of it…
We have a ton of photos form the bands coming soon on our Facebook Page – Like it now…
As fantastic as Bush was, there were plenty of other highlights:
- The first three artists we caught on the day were all fronted by dynamic, powerful women.
- Fit For Rivals – Renee Phoenix is a diminutive figure with a hellacious voice and captivating stage presence, and her band mates had a blast on stage. (We interviewed her afterwards, and will be publishing that for you here in early May so make sure you Follow us so as not to miss a thing).
- Dorothy – Another dynamic and engaging frontwoman, Dorothy Martin interacted with the crowd for the entire set, even sharing a pole dancing experience at a nearby Quality Inn! They tore through a raucous thirty minute set, riding the ferocious drums of Zac Morris.
- Cilver – Uliana was yet another engaging singer, who had a clear bond with the women in attendance: “Ladies, love yourself no matter what – you are all gorgeous. Her hand was tight, too, and it sounds like their new album, I’m America is packed with killer tunes…
- Escape The Fate – These guys delivered the most dynamic show of the day, with all five members flying across the stage. They sounded good and delivered one hell of an energetic, fun performance that often had the crowd bouncing and waving along; good enough for me to forgive them for blowing off our post-set interview. Thanks to their great stage presence, our forthcoming photos from this band are fantastic.
- From Ashes To New – Humble guys riding their recent successes of #6 “Through It All” and delivering a passionate (and positive) set. The dual vocalist approach worked well, as they mixed harmonies and rap, and made a fantastic connection with their fans. We’ll have our interview with Branded Kreider published soon.
- Lacey Sturm – she dished out an powerful set in the indoor acoustic area that was as compelling as any performance we saw on the day. It was intimate, tender and passionate, and a nice glimpse into another side of the former Murderfly frontwoman. We interviewed her, as well, and loved her, absolutely loved her honesty, humility and passion for her fans. We’ll have that full interview soon.
- Red Sun Rising – This Ohio quintet sounded better than ever and rode their recent popularity, as they had a few nice singalong moments. Lead singer Mike Protich was an animated passionate frontman who dominated the stage. This band is going to be huge…
- WJRR and Rock Pink took time out to honor a local mother who is a courageous breast cancer survivor – a true goosebump moment when the crowd celebrated her as she was recognized on stage.
- Halestorm – Lizzy Hale was the last of our leading ladies this night and the uber popular guitarist put on a killer set. Her brother Arejay is a bad ass on the drums, or as Lizzy called him, “a sick mother fucker.” And he was indeed, a madman who was all over his kit, and even did a little solo with baseball bat sized sticks. Lizzy thanked the Orlando crowd eloquently, and they offered a sweet cover of “Love Hurts.”
- Breaking Benjamin – They may have been the most anticipated band of the night and did not disappoint. A powerful set, featuring three vocalists, a Nirvana cover and the perfect quote to the crowd to wrap-up the event: “We are absolutely nothing without you, thank you for making this possible.”
Aside from the amazing serving of killer rock, the festival had a little of everything. Professional wrestling, motorcycles racing in a cage, a BMX display, a cool art walk, a nice sampling of foods and of course, a smorgasbord of painted boobs and interesting people watching.
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