The day had finally come where Danny Wimmer Presents kicks off its festival season with Welcome To Rockville! The festival held at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, FL is the first of three festivals held in the month of May. The lineup was well stacked for this festival and fans and media were ready to rock out to some great bands throughout the weekend. As usual for May in Florida, the day started out hot and overcast with tons of people in line to get inside. And once the gates were opened, the crowd cheered and made their way in as quickly as possible. This was the first time I was covering the festival for The Photo Pit and I was eager to get started.
Normally, I would start off the day photographing but instead took on something different. There was a taste testing of Blackened. It is a super-premium American whiskey blend crafted by the late Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and finished in the earth-shattering music of Metallica. The taste tester blindfolded us to help learn the aromas and then shows us how music could actually affect the taste of the whiskey. One time he played Metallica and the second some classical music. All six of us tasting agreed the whiskey tasted different when different music was played. Overall, the whiskey is amazing as it’s very smooth and has a nice spicy bite. I highly recommend it to whiskey lovers.
Early in the afternoon, Amigo The Devil performed at the Metropolitan Stage. With his songs of brutal honesty around love and revenge, he played a truly great set and the crowd at his stage was very large. He was a great addition to the festival this year. Hands Like Houses the band from Australia made a huge impact on the Monster Stage. Rocking the crowd with some songs from their latest album, Anon, they brought high energy, movements, and fun to the stage. So far, this was already lining up to be a killer festival.
Light The Torch blew away the Metropolitan Stage that afternoon. And right during their song “Calm Before The Storm”, the skies drenched the Rockville crowd. The rain poured down so hard, but none of the fans moved one bit and the band gave the props for staying around. Considering the heat Jacksonville, FL bore on people, the rain was a nice break. Beartooth also rocked out on the Metropolitan Stage urging the crowd to get crazy and have fun. And so they did. Crowd surfers started pouring over the railings and fast and moshing was abundant. Afterward, I had a great interview with Light The Torch discussing their current tour, their festival experience, and even Game of Thrones and Avengers: Endgame.
Back at the Metropolitan Stage, we saw the return of Killswitch Engage! Rockville fans were bummed last year when they had to cancel due to vocalist Jesse Leach requiring vocal surgery. They made a return this year in grand fashion and it was worth the wait. The band played hard, rocked hard, and Jesse Leach sounded amazing. Welcome back Killswitch Engage! Unfortunately, their set was cut short as the venue forced everyone to evacuate the venue due to lightning in the area. We waited over 45 minutes before we were allowed back into the venue. Luckily, the festival was able to re-arrange the set times for Flogging Molly, Circa Survive, Chevelle, The Crystal Method, Evanescence, and Korn. Though the rain and lightning threaten the venue one more time, all the artists were able to finish their sets that night.
Though a hard day for the fans to deal with the weather, it all worked out and now we’re looking forward to Day 2! Keep checking back at our website for photo galleries and interviews at Welcome To Rockville!