This year’s Welcome to Rockville festival was its most successful event yet. With a sell-out of 40,000 attendees, not one left feeling deprived of their fill for live rock music. Fans of all ages, from six to over 60 enjoyed the beautiful weather along the St. John’s River in this family-friendly event. With 44 bands playing on four stages it gave music lovers a chance to catch up with some of their favorite artists and become instant fans of someone they may have not been familiar with.
Saturday kicked off with a bang right from the start as Digital Summer took the Monster Energy west stage. Gemini Syndrome got the party started on the east stage performing a huge selection of tracks from their current album, Lux. Fans wasted no time feeding off the energy from this Los Angeles-based band. With their fists pumping in the air, the crowd roared as loud as singer Aaron Nordstrom’s during the opening of the hit, “Pleasure and Pain”. It was clear that the audience came ready to have a great time.
Surprise band of the festival was Ontario, Canada-based Monster Truck who dropped a lot of jaws with their old-school style of rock and roll. Though not very well known in the southeast, it didn’t take them long to gain 5,000 fans instantly. The energy from this band is as incredible as their sound. It was interesting to note during “Sweet Mountain River” how many people in the crowd looked at each other saying the same thing, “Can you believe this?” They clearly made a statement and left a lasting impression that will take them far. They are currently touring across North America so be sure to check their website for dates and cities and experience it for yourself.
Adelitas Way kicked it up several notches with their set starting with their latest hit, “Dog on a Leash” from their upcoming album. Lead singer Rick DeJesus challenged the crowd to make their way to the stage as waves of crowd-surfers quickly obliged. Kudos go the security staff who kept things well in control. Their set was full of energy and they sounded incredible. It’s clear that they are out to take the rock world by storm. Judging by their set, they should have no problem doing so. Later in the day I asked DeJesus about challenging the crowd and he replied, “This isn’t a hip-hop show, this is a rock festival. People came here to rock out and have a great time. I made sure that they do!”. They surely did, Rick.
A poll of the crowd showed the fan favorite of the day by an overwhelming majority was Volbeat. This Danish-based band offers such an incredible amount of energy with their rock and roll style. There are no frills or gimmicks to their set, they don’t need them. Feeding off the vibes from the crowd, they give every bit of themselves to their performance. It’s an investment that pays huge dividends for them. Looking out at the crowd to see 20,000 fans just having a great time is an incredible site to see. Fans certainly got their money’s worth.
Closing out day one in classic rock fashion was Avenged Sevenfold. Taking to the stage with the hit “Hail to the King” with an incredible stage set and never-ending pyrotechnics they gave fans something to remember.