The World’s Loudest Month kicked off in grand fashion on April 29th & 30th with the Welcome to Rockville Festival in Jacksonville, Florida and their sister festival Fort Rock in Fort Myers. The record breaking weekend saw over 75,000 music fans converge on the two sites. Metal Wani attended the 7th annual gathering in Jacksonville featuring over 40 bands on 3 stages.
Mother Nature co-operated and the Rock Gods smiled down as the weekend was filled with clear blue skies and temps hovering in the high 80s. Badflower and Dutch metal band The Charm The Fury launched the festival as they stepped on the gas with 2 amazing sets. The European influence was abundant all day and included Sweden’s In Flames, England’s Dinosaur Pile-Up & Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.
In between, the fans were treated to an eclectic mix of rock and metal that was complimented with gourmet food and ice cold beverages compliments of Jack Daniels, Monster Energy, Bud Light and more. The Music Experience tent had gear for every musician in the crowd while the FYE tent was stocked to the roof with everyone’s favorite CDs. Both areas featured a never-ending line-up of Meet & Greet guests, giving fans an opportunity to shake hands and converse with their musical heroes.
Band members flip flopped all weekend starting with Brent Hinds of Mastodon jumping on stage with Eagles of Death Metal. Columbus Ohio based Starset was another crowd favorite with their blending of symphonics, electronics, and guitar riffs all the while dressed in 2001 A Space Odyssey type outfits. Not an easy feat in 90 degree plus weather !!
My favorite first time seen award goes to Highly Suspect, the Cape Cod trio formed by twin brothers Rich and Ryan Meyer. The band is super tight, the music is chaotic, barn burning, and the overall energy is powerful and unending.
As the sun set on Saturday night, A Perfect Circle took the stage in what was definitely the most disappointing act of the day. The stage was entirely black, Maynard stayed hidden in the shadows, with only guitarist Matt McJunkins occasionally sneaking out of the darkness.
On the flip-side, Soundgarden brought the house down with a 13 song closing set that was full of color, energy, and Cornell’s stellar voice. From the opening notes of “Spoonman” to the closing riffs of “Beyond the Wheel”, every fan in the place had fists in the air and voices singing along.