Spring is here, and just as in years past, that means festival season begins. South Florida is definitely a great place to start the festival season. With Ultra, Tortuga and Sunfest, we have options. For years i’ve heard from friends that I have to go to Fort Rock, so this year I said what the hell. After hearing who would be headlining, I knew it was time for a road trip to the left coast.
This was the 5th year of Fort Rock presented by Monster Energy which takes place in Fort Myers at Jet Blue Park (Red Sox Spring training facility). Fort Rock also coincides with another Florida festival, Welcome to Rockville which takes place in Jacksonville. These sister festivals share the lineup, which makes for the “loudest month”. Whomever plays in Jax on sat, plays in Ft. Myers on Sunday, and vice versa. The lineup was hard, and I mean hard in it’s a “metal” festival. With that being said, I have heard of most of these bands, but others, not a flipping clue. What can I say, I’m old school musically. The styles ranged from the typical black clothes wearing, screaming into a microphone with a tinge of angst, to mainstream headliners, Def Leppard, The Offspring, A Perfect Circle and Soundgarden. The kids and fans loved it and they were able to somehow scream along.
Outside of the ridiculous heat, it was 90 plus degrees both days, the festival was a good time, and the crowds enthusiasm never wained. There was plenty of security and emergency personnel on hand, which was needed due to the heat. Armed with hoses, the security in the pit kept the fans hydrated, wet, and were their lifeline for the two days of mayhem. The promoters did a great job keeping the crowd going between bands, constantly reiterating that everyone needs to help each other and look out for one another.
The Saturday lineup was solid with bands like Felicity, an Orlando based band that won a battle of the bands contest to gain a coveted slot at Fort Rock. Their set was the perfect way to kick things off. Keep an ear out for them. Motionless in White, In This Moment, Seether, Three Days Grace, Papa Roach, Chevelle, and 80’s superstars Def Leppard among others capped off saturday. It was a great way to start the 2 day festival
After copious amounts of coffee, I made my way down to Fort Myers to start day 2. For me, this was what I was looking forward to. Bands like Starset, All That Remains, The Pretty Reckless, Eagles of Death Metal, A Perfect Circle, The Offspring, made for an awesome Sunday. Closing out the festival, a band which hasn’t toured the U.S. in about 10 years, Soundgarden.
Day 2 was epic to say the least. It was a scorcher, in the pit and on the stages. The bands took the stage at their respective times and belted out their hits, some new tunes, and it was one big party. The crowds never gave up, or lessened the energy level. The crowds surfed, sang, moshed, fist pumped, and just had a great time. The energy was at an 11 the entire festival. Eagles of Death Metal gave an amazing performance, led by Jesse ‘Father Badass’ Hughes and the rest of the band. Every performer gave their all and they left everything on the two side by side stages. A Perfect Circle, led by the elusive Maynard James Keenan (Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle) came out and mesmerized the crowd with his singing style, and APC’s eerily melodic music. Billy, James, Jeff and Matt provided the glorious backdrop for Maynard’s voice and hypnotic vocals. I had the opportunity to chat with their drummer, and one of the hardest working musicians today, Jeff Freidl. New music and hopefully a full album is coming from A Perfect Circle in the near future. APC sounded amazing, and it was great to see them all gel on stage.
Closing out the 2 days of great music, were rock legends Soundgarden. If you were a fan of the 90’s and the grunge era, Soundgarden was one of the 3 bands that changed the face of music. Hearing Chris Cornell belt out the classic hits, was phenomenal. His stage presence is amazing, not to mention the band was tight and didn’t miss a beat. Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd were back, and Matt Cameron was back on drums after playing and touring with another Seattle grunge band the past 14 years. Soundgarden is one of my bucket list bands and they did not disappoint. Bottom line, if you dig rock and roll, then Fort Rock is the festival for you. I’m looking forward to what lineups Danny WImmer Presents can come up with in the coming years. Thanks to AEG Live for another great musical experience.
\m/ always support live music \m/