Welcome to Rockville 2018 Festival Review

The World’s Loudest Month kicked off in spectacular fashion on April 27th with the 8th annual Welcome to Rockville Festival in Jacksonville, Florida and their sister festival Fort Rock in Fort Myers, FL, boasting a record-breaking weekend with over 90,000 music fans. Fuel The Scene Magazine was on-site at Welcome to Rockville, conducting interviews, photographing the bands, and generally enjoying the perfect rock festival atmosphere.

After seven successful years as a two-day festival, Welcome to Rockville was expanded to three full days of music, the festival brought in extreme heavy-hitters  like Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Foo Fighters and Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne.

Day 1 kicked off with Palisades and Boston-born Berklee College of Music students, MDFK, who blasted the crowd with their unique brand of thrash. The energy was palpable as the highly-anticipated Underoath and The Used played back to back on the Monster Energy Stage, punctuated by Parkway Drive and Atreyu slaying the crowd at the Metropolitan and River Stages, respectively.

As the sun started to set over the ocean, Halestorm took the stage with powerhouse singer Lzzy Hale opening with “Love Bites (So Do I)” and Lzzy confirmed from the stage that fans could expect new music from Halestorm later in the summer.

Photography by Ross Halfin

Closing out Day 1 at Welcome to Rockville was veteran rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who walked out to the stage with thunderous applause from the thousands gathered at the Main Stage. Fireworks from behind the ferris wheel lit up the sky as the Prince of Darkness announced, “I’ll never retire, I’m not fucking going nowhere!” and officially kicking off his “No More Tours 2”—a reference to his 1992 “No More Tours” run which at the time was thought to be his last.

Day 2 kicked off with Jacksonville, Florida’s own Yashira, who joined other energetic up-and-coming acts, Palaye Royale, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, and Joyous Wolf, the latter giving one of the most jaw-dropping performances full of jumps, flips, and vocal acrobatics from frontman Nick Reese.

The energy didn’t wane as the day went on, the energetic crowd headbanging, moshing, crowd-surfing to Avatar, Black Veil Brides, Sevendust, Red Sun Rising, Butcher Babies, and some punk rock goodness with Stick To Your Guns.

As the sun went down and the temperatures dropped, Stone Sour, Breaking Benjamin, and Avenged Sevenfold brought the day to a perfect close with sets that was full of color, emotion, energy, and even confetti bazookas. Unfortunately, a serious injury to a crowdsurfer during Avenged Sevenfold’s performance forced them to suspend playing for about 30 minutes while the man was treated by paramedics and taken to the hospital. Thankfully, though, in the weeks following the accident, the crowd surfer has been making a very promising recovery with help from a GoFundMe campaign started by friends, family, and fellow music festival attendees.

On Sunday, we were treated to the undeniable energy of The Fever 333, Bullet  For My Valentine, and Red Fang, to name a few.

In stark contrast to most weekend festivals, the crowd did not wane as the final day went on, but the crowd grew larger and more excited as they prepared for the final acts of the evening, Billy Idol and Foo Fighters.

Photography by Steve Thrasher

Billy Idol proved that he still has what it takes to keep a crowd spellbound as he  roared into “Dancing with Myself,” “Eyes Without A Face,” and a string of other hits.

Every rocker in the audience sang along to “Rebel Yell” as Idol threw his shirt into the crowd and interacted with the endless stream of crowd surfers. After Idol came back for an encore, he thanked the crowd for “making his life great” and closed with “White Wedding. “

The weekend’s final performance from Foo Fighters was nothing short of legendary and provided the perfect end to a near flawless rock festival

Photography by Steve Thrasher

Foo Fighters came out of the gates strong with “Run,” off of Concrete and Gold and then legendary rock-god Dave Grohl, addressed the audience saying, “Here’s the thing…they gave us two hours to play tonight. That’s not fucking enough. Are you ready for us to play until we can’t fucking play anymore?” To say the crowd went wild would be the year’s biggest understatement.

As if the evening couldn’t get more spectacular, there were several surprise appearances, the first by none other than John Travolta.  Travolta, who had just wrapped filming for the Fred Durst-directed film Moose, reportedly watched Foo Fighters’ set from the side of the stage. About mid-way through the performance, the band covered Travolta and Olivia-Newton John’s Grease classic, “You’re the One That I Want,” and Travolta joined the band on stage and gave Grohl a hug. If that wasn’t enough, Foo Fighters also brought out Billy Idol to cover John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth.”

Dave Grohl proved definitively why he is so revered, and he left the crowd by saying, “We never leave on goodbyes. We leave on this…” as the band broke into “Everlong,” the final song of the festival.

Photography by Sam Shapiro

In addition to the eclectic mix of new and old rock and metal, fans were treated to gourmet food and ice cold beverages compliments of Jack Daniels, Monster Energy, Bud Light and an impressive array of local and national food trucks—our personal favorites were Island Noodles and the personal pizzas at Pie Baby.

Beyond the concerts and food options, fans also had the opportunity to meet some of their music heroes and snag a coveted autograph at The Music Experience and FYE tents. Welcome to Rockville was the perfect start to one of the best Loudest Month lineups and will definitely bring us back in the coming years.

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