WELCOME TO ROCKVILLE 2019: The Highlights and Lowlights of Jacksonville, Florida’s Annual Headbanger Gathering [Festival Recap]

- Jun 22, 2019 at 02:00PM
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In its ninth year as an annual weekend rock festival, Welcome to Rockville, has become recognized for its impressive lineup of bands, particularly the headlining acts. Held on the spacious grounds at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Florida, this year’s attendance at the three-day bash averaged around 50,000 music-hungry headbangers. Here are a few quick things we really liked and perhaps didn’t like about this year’s edition of the festival.

Thumbs Up:

01. The Headliners
- Boasting Korn, Rob Zombie, and Tool as the weekend’s headliners, Welcome to Rockville was certainly stacked with top-tier, heavy hitting acts that clearly had both mass appeal, and succeeded in driving droves of fans.

02. Musical Diversity
- The festival’s lineup was once again a diverse, multi-genre offering with nearly 50 bands in total. From metal to hard rock to post-hardcore to punk to alternative to electronic to bands that even spanned all of these genres, there was easily something for everyone.

Charlie Steffens’ glorious gallery of shots from Day 1:

Welcome To Rockville (Day 1) at Metropolitan Park (Jacksonville, Florida) on May 3, 2019

03. Rental Lockers
- This might seem silly, but anyone who brought stuff that they needed but simply didn’t want to carry were stoked to find rental lockers at the stadium. This obviously helped with the rain (also see Thumbs Down) but was crucial for folks, say this very photographer, to securely store gear between sets and get our crowd participation on!

04. Southern Hospitality
- Say what you will about Florida, but the majority of people in The Sunshine State are kind, courteous and/or well-mannered. The friendliness of the locals was not lost on me and no matter where I went, I was greeted by friendly people and often a conversation about the festival.

05. Festival Efficiency
- It’s often a largely overlooked point with large festival but Welcome to Rockville 2019 boasted a very well-run venue and show even despite the weather conditions. Trust us, as people who frequent shows and festivals year-round, if a ship ain’t tight or have a crew ready to deal with unexpected change, it’s the fans that suffer.

It may not be from this year’s Welcome To Rockville, but here’s a sample of what you missed (or saw) with Korn performing the track “Insane” live in 2016.


Thumbs Down:

01. Mother Nature
- Florida is famous for its intense humidity and tropical downpours. And, while the weather tends to be sunny and vacation-ready with year-round tourist-enticing temperatures, this weekend the “crazy weather out of nowhere that negatively impacts outdoor events” reputation was well earned.

02. Friggin’ Weather
- Not too much could be done about the weather (at least, unless you have connections to a weather modification plane and can afford to call in some favours) and, unfortunately, six bands were scratched from the bill on Sunday. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, per se, but still definitely a bummer.

03. Midnight Curfew
- The initial curfew of midnight wreaked havoc on the festival lineup, especially on Sunday (again, the weather being the culprit). While we get that respect is due to anyone surrounding neighbours and businesses, it would have been great if the event’s hours could have been extended.

Charlie Steffens’ glorious gallery of shots from Day 2:

Welcome To Rockville (Day 2) at Metropolitan Park (Jacksonville, Florida) on May 4, 2019

04. Food & Beverage Prices
- While the selection of food and beverages was quite substantial, including options ranging from BBQ, Tacos, and Burgers to Bowls, Noodles, and Pizza, it was, per usual, mostly overpriced. With the rising cost of festivals, it would good to see more affordable food and drink prices, even if you’ve covered nearly every style of cuisine possible.

05. Set Times
- The band sets for non-headliners of 25-45 minutes were too short for the groups who actually were worth seeing and too long for the not-so-great bands that we could have done without. It’s likely difficult to appease everyone, but more attention to set times might’ve been good.

There you have it... some of the best and not so best things about this year’s event. We can only hope that the Welcome to Rockville festival will return again next year and with it bring an even more incredible installment of the annual gathering of headbangers. After all, 2020 would be the event’s 10-year anniversary!

Charlie Steffens’ glorious gallery of shots from Day 3:

Welcome To Rockville (Day 3) at Metropolitan Park (Jacksonville, Florida) on May 5, 2019

The complete festival poster for this year’s Welcome To Rockville in Jacksonville, Florida.

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