Feature Image By: Anna Massard courtesy of Danny Wimmer Presents
Welcome to Rockville solidifies that its name has more meaning than just the location.
There’s no question that covid has affected each of our work lives in one way or another. Nothing has been more evident than the destruction it has caused in the music industry over the past 18 months. Many of us have had to wait, regroup and just try to bring the music industry back in any way we possibly can. In the case of Welcome to Rockville it meant not being able to do my usual 4 days of photography and interviews, followed with the posted review and lots of pictures. The funny meme which depicted someone with their camera photographing their laptop with the caption ” concert photographers 2020″, had become a sad reality spilling over into 2021. Compound that with my having to last minute cancel my plans to come in, and I was completely puzzled on what to write about other than my viewing of live streams and relating others take aways from the newly revamped Welcome to Rockville.
While sitting here struggling trying to figure out what to write, I was looking at the Facebook group Welcome to Rockville- Rockvillains. That’s when it really struck me. I saw photos from fans that made me realize just how spoiled I had become doing media. How grueling a four day grind to keep your body and mind in fun mode, it was difficult to deny that pacing yourself makes you a pro. I often say, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I decided then and there that this article would be a salute to the fans who endure 4 days of Porta potties, fast food, incredible amounts of body odor and craziness,, all for the love of live music. This year they are the real Rock Stars! I posted a single request for fan photos short captions and what you see here ( other than the I!ages provided by staff of the festival as noted) is the result. I asked for ten to fifteen. There were hundreds submitted, I agonized over editing them down.
There’s no question that the recent tragedy at another Festival had been at the forefront of what people were commenting about prior to the opening of Welcome to Rockville. Then, after a mere day, it became about a very scandalous incident involving an artist and a fan. What was missing from the news feed was great performances by Slipknot, A Day To Remember, Cypress Hill, Dorothy and the rest of the line up. That was a shame because the entire day was reduced to comments photos and memes, so many really good stories are lost in the mix. That’s all that I will mention about that.
Metallica had two headlining dates one on Friday, and one on Sunday each with original sets. Rob Zombie, Pennywise, Beartooth, and Starset gave great performances as always.
Day three Lamb of God wore the crowd out with an incredible set. Gwar was bloody as usual and fans couldn’t get enough of these Scumdogs of the Universe. For future reference, the blood is very salty. The Offspring always keeps things fun and entertaining. Disturbed, with a very healthy looking David Draiman was strong and energizing. The perfect band to lead into day four.
Those that were able to stay the course until Sunday were treated to Mudvanye, a scorching set by Anthrax, my hometown (Jacksonville, FL) boys Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jelly Roll, Falling In Reverse, Goodbye June, and the second Metallica set of the weekend. What is at the core of this is the fans. Metalheads already seem to be more family than fans. The outpouring and love, compassion and kinship of everyone can be seen in many posts. That’s what moved me to make this post about them. Without the hard core rockers, festivals couldn’t keep going. It is a truly symbiotic relationship. The support and praise for each other is remarkable. There is an outlier, one or two, people who inevitably end up being mentioned for some bad behavior, but all in all most people are just hanving a good time. Total strangers bond and look for each other year after year..
The weather was outstanding and has many calling for a permanent late fall date. While the change of venue lead to some apprehension, it was clearly a perfect selection to accommodate a larger crowd. In the end a good time was had by all, solidifying that live music with tens of thousands of fans can be safely managed and still let them be themselves.
Article by Belinda Glass Reedy
US Content Editor
Photos credited in caption.