The 9th annual Welcome to Rockville was hosted at the Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Florida and it was the greatest the festival has ever been.
In the approach of summer, many people are clamoring for fun activities to partake in. Well, Danny Wimmer Presents Welcome to Rockville 2019 at Metropolitan Park from May 3rd to the 5th checks all the boxes. Yes, the main focus is the music, but that is not the only thing that festival-goers can expect from this event. You can choose to stand your ground to get a fantastic spot for your favorite band, or you can participate in the many activities that come with the WTR experience. Whether it is a tasting of Metallica’s alcohol Enter Night or getting a Zippo lighter only to be treated with a surprise performance from some of the bands at the festival, there is something for everyone to enjoy while hearing some amazing music throughout the grounds.
There were booths of all varieties including nonprofit organizations such as F*ck Cancer and even nonprofit organizations such as To Write Love on Her Arms. The message and the music both brought awareness to things that need to be exposed. One of the standout things outside of the music was Island Noodles. Everyone raved about how good these things were, with a simplistic menu, the taste was anything but simplistic. There were clothing stores everywhere with anything from the merchandise of people’s favorite bands to artistic shirts where the designs were where the heart is. Even during the heat of Florida, all the vendors were amazing as far as customer service was concerned and everyone was willing to help someone if they were interested in what that vendor was servicing.
Friday was the very first day of the three-day festival and was headlined by Korn and Evanescence. Everyone working the festival from the bands to the staff all did an incredible job of making sure the people that paid hard earned money for their ticket were safe while still maintaining to have a wonderful time. Within the first few hours of the day, it was unfortunate that the Florida weather had to make its way to the park. However, all of the staff took the safety of the concert goers and put them first and everyone had to be evacuated, but DWP did not want this to be the experience alone. The staff worked hard to keep track of the weather and within a couple hours, everyone was back in and the delay just made the experience all the more special. By the time the headlining bands took the stage, all of the festivities were in full motion. The Mayor of the fine city of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry, graciously agreed to extend the sound curfew so that all the attendees got to see their favorite bands play without the sets having to be cut short due to the delay and sound ordinance. Despite the weather, the music and festivities raged on and fans were greeted back in the venue to the glorious time that everyone there wanted. Everyone worked hard to make sure that the festival didn’t lose any traction and if one was curious about that, no it did not lose any steam. So, after all the delays and evacuations, in a way, made everyone in attendance appreciate the acts they got to see later on that night all the more special.Saturday was by far the most perfect of the weekend. Not a single event got delayed; all the bands got to play their sets. Exploration was quite a bit more open due to the weather not harming the experience. There were tons of unique shops that sold art, clothing, band merchandise, and so much more. You could clearly see that everyone there was family and no one has to be afraid of their appearance.
Saturday was the best day to be able to witness everything. Judas Priest proved why this band is a legend in metal and Rob Zombie put on the best stage presence of the entire night. The festival was in full swing as this day was not hindered by the wrath of mother nature. The crowd seemed quite a bit more alive on this day as well, because there was absolutely nothing getting in the way of the festival goers enjoying everything that Welcome to Rockville provided to its attendees. While the heat was evident all through the air, the electricity from everyone was wide open on this Saturday of rock music.Sunday had a bit of turmoil because the entire show was delayed until 3 pm and many bands were cut. The unexpected storm that approached early Sunday afternoon set back a number of things and damaged quite a bit of equipment including one of the headliners Incubus’ video screen. The River Stage was completely torn apart, and several of the booths were destroyed. This is necessary to say because that did not stop the show. All the staff worked so hard to put everything back together and to make sure fans got to see the show.
With everyone wet and muddy, headliners Tool made the entire night worth it, giving a visual experience with the best sound of the entire weekend while people got to hear two brand new songs that had never been heard before. It was announced that there was a total of 89,000 people in attendance for Tool’s set.So, despite all of the setbacks, WTR is an experience that no one should miss and a family that an outcast could feel right at home in. If you are craving good food, wonderful times, and music blasting through ears all day long, then Welcome to Rockville is something that any Floridian or any metalhead for that matter, should come and check out. There is something for everyone and if crowds aren’t something that you love, there are many ways to enjoy the music and the festival in your own comfort zone.
Photos By: Belinda Reedy