Under the sweltering Florida sun, some of the nation’s hottest rock bands graced Jacksonville’s Metropolitan Park. Welcome To Rockville was back for its last year at these grounds, and attendees lined around the block to get in. Featuring budding acts I Prevail, The Charm the Fury, and my new favorite Starset.
Starset brought their intergalactic look and electrifying sound to the Metropolitan stage. They were perfectly placed with the vendors right across from the stage, selling funnel cake and chicken on a stick. The freshly fried food, the sunburnt bodies, and the dirt that seemed to stick to your clothes.
They were a pleasant surprise and a great addition to a heavy weighted lineup. Even with the sun’s rays beating down, they kicked off the day on a high note. Bringing in a fairly large crowd, but one of the largest crowds was for The Pretty Reckless.
Taylor Momsen is well-known for her powerful vocals, and also her previous acting career. She knows how to work the crowd, singing one of their more recent singles, ‘Take Me Down.’ The crowd stretched across the grounds, where people camped out on the ground and sang along to every word.
The night didn’t stop there, catching Pierce The Veil, Coheed and Cambria, and The Offspring were some of the best performances of the night.
Day two was even better. Beartooth got aggressive and had the crowd off of their feet. The spread out stages made each set a race against the clock to get to the next on time. Catching the revitalized Of Mice & Men are still putting on one heck of a show after the departure of Austin Carlisle and Aaron Pauley stepping up as the lead singer.
Two of the most memorable performances of the night were In This Moment and Motionless In White. Motionless in White were a crowd favorite. Singing hits such as ‘Abigail,’ the theatrical element with Ghost dressed as Carrie and Kylie Devyn in her various outfits. They performed songs that the fans couldn’t help but go crazy to.
In This Moment also brought a theatrical element to the stage, with the costumes one in particular that resembled Silent Hill. They closed out their set with ‘Whore’ and left fans wanting more.
The night quickly wound down while we caught Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, and A Perfect Circle as the sun began to set. The crowds only grew, the options for shade were minimal. The tightly pressed bodies, and the most dedicated fans up front and center for the headliners. A Perfect Circle opened in darkness, barely able to make out the outline of their silhouettes. While Maynard James Keenan stayed positioned in the back with a beam of light shining down on him.
Rockville quickly winded down as the final act of the day Def Leppard had taken the stage. The crowd seemed as expansive as the sea as everyone soaked in the last of the weekend. Singing along to every song, as the merchandise tents along the stretch towards the exit made their final sales. People waddled towards the exit, sun burns fresh on their skin, the smell of sweat and deep-fried food lingering in the air. The gravel crunched under their feet as they said goodbye to another year celebrating Welcome to Rockville.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY DENA GONZALEZ