Central Florida may have lost its biggest shot at a major multi day Rock Festival, and it happened for the least expected and uncontrollable reason.
Covid has derailed nearly everyone’s life and lively hood for entirely too long. All of us have essentially become anti-social hermits and it has hit the music community both financially and medically. This festival was supposed to help us get some of it back. It just wasn’t meant to be.
I admit, I was skeptical when they announced they were going ahead with this festival. The size of the lineup alone was an expensive endeavor. With this being an independent promoter it’s hard to not be wary of the possible pitfalls that could disrupt the success of the festival. Unfortunately it wasn’t bad promotion, poor planning or poor ticket sales that ultimately led to the demise of the festival prematurely. It was mother nature. It has been a rough year for central Florida with Hops and Hogs having a freak wind storm forcing the close and now, according to the official statement, Rebel Rock falling victim to a similar weather related fate.
Rebel Rock was a full two years of planning and waiting for this weekend to arrive. Yet, here I am, writing the closing review from my living room, because it lasted exactly one day. That day was glorious. Thousands of people took part in the add-on $20 taco party for Thursday night. Jose Mangin hosted and there was even an Affliction Clothing shirt created for the festival. The pre-party featured Son of Texas, Kyng, Slaves (us) and POD among others. The production was spot on and everyone was helpful and friendly. Prices were reasonable for concessions, in so far as festivals prices are structured. Selection was also good. Now I’m sad for the industry, the artists, central Florida, and the fans That it just didn’t finish with a better ending.
The first headliner to drop out was Limp Bizkit because of their battle with covid inside their camp. Shortly following was Volbeat for the opening night taco party and the last headliner to cancel was Incubus who was due to play on Friday. Even with all of these occurrences, it was deemed the show would go on even to the point that Thursday night a new Friday schedule was released with longer sets for many of the acts, to make up for the time the headliner was to have been playing. It seemed as if nothing was going to stop this show.
Unfortunately there had been a large amount of rain in the area of the show days prior to opening. Since the taco party was held just between two of the four stages, they were able to block off the overly saturated areas near the other stages for the evening in an attempt to give it the opportunity to dry. However upon inspection Friday morning it was still deemed too hazardous and too muddy for the event to take place without further damaging the area and subjecting fans to a mud pit.
Fans were extremely disappointed, many voicing their opinions and theories on social media. Rumors, anger and disappointment was repeatedly posted. Including MANY theories suggesting there was more to the story. The festival media page has been silent since the cancellation post and promise of refund information as has the website. ****** UPDATE BELOW******
The bright spot was the impromptu show delivered by From Ashes To New, Saul and Afterlife. The Ace Cafe provided a great venue and the entire Friday night show was free.
The question now becomes should it be salvaged for next year? It’d like to see something happen but I’m not sure the trust can be recovered. As several people have pointed out: additional, independent promoters need to be successful. They help keep shows for fans more affordable by providing competition and additional options.
Update: official statement and refund Info