Review By Marie-Christine Quirion
Daytona International Speedway hosted the 12th edition of Welcome to Rockville from May 18-21, and with temperatures hovering around 105 degrees Fahrenheit every day, the Florida sunshine and humidity proved to be no joke to those in attendance.
Those who were here last year remember that the 2022 edition had numerous site evacuations and cancellations of several artists which caused a lot of criticism towards the festival team. It seems, however, that the crowd quickly forgot about these inconveniences since Welcome to Rockville 2023 once again broke attendance records, with 170,000 fans over the 4-day festival. Including more than 47,000 tickets sold for Sunday alone! It must be said with headliners such as Tool, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold and the return of the legendary Pantera, Danny Wimmer Presents ensured the success of the event!
Highlights from the weekend…
A short break once due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, the only band, Trivium, unfortunately could not perform during the festival, but small adjustments to the schedule allowed everyone to enjoy their favorite bands live. Well known for his love of music, all styles combined, Danny Wimmer opened the door to several musical styles other than hard rock/metal for the 2023 edition. Among others, singer Hardy, a well-established country artist, had taken the stage on Friday to share some of the newest tracks from his latest half-rock, half-country album and even surprised the crowd with a surprise guest; Jeremy McKinnon, local star, and the lead singer of A Day to Remember.
With most of the crowd coming from all over North America, it must be noted that some of the groups came from much further. Alongside well-known Bullet for My Valentine from UK, and Avatar from Sweden, DWP (with the help of Sirius XM Octane) has opened the door to the metal band Bloodywood from New Delhi in India! (Side note – don’t miss this band when they visit your area).
Badflower, a well-known band which plays many DWP festivals, never ceases to amaze with their interactions in the crowd and surprise ‘activities’ during their performances. Although their material didn’t change, Josh, the band’s lead singer, surprised the crowd by jumping into the audience and asking a security guard to hold his microphone so he could shave his beard while singing and playing guitar during the performance of their single ”Thirty'”
DWP has once again been able to please its fans by offering them a 4-day festival including 4 different stages where the biggest names in the music industry share the stage with newcomers alike.
Welcome to Rockville is now the go-to festival for rock and metal music in North America. If you missed the 12th edition, you could listen to some of the performances via Sirius XM Octane since their entire team was on hand to capture the event and did many interviews with your favorite bands. Its also strongly encouraged to follow DWP on the many social networks to stay tuned for the 2024 dates and lineup which should be announced before the end of the year.
Photographers Choice From The Weekend ( Credit Sean Matthews).