As a lifelong Local, I can tell you that besides the Country 500 music fest held here a few times, this was the single largest music festival to come to the Daytona Beach area. It was certainly the most anticipated. The attendance, coming in at 161,000, exceeded any recorded during some of the yearly events that take place here. Home of the "World's Most Famous Beach" (due to the fact that you can drive on it), Daytona hosts many annual events. Firstly, Rockville is being held inside the World Headquarters of Racing, the world famous Daytona International Speedway. This 2.5 mile track is "live" many times each year with the 1st race of the NASCAR season held every February, the Daytona 500, which sets the pace each year for the racing season. The track then sees the drivers and fans, back again in July for another race. The Speedway also hosts two Bike Weeks a year. 'Bike Week ', held in March, and 'Biketoberfest ', held in October. Not to mention the huge event for car lovers far and wide, the 'Turkey Rod Run', held on Thanksgiving weekend.
Besides the events surrounding the speedway, Daytona has always been THE spring break destination, with MTV coming here for many years in the late 80s and early 90s.
On what is called the ‘beachside' of Daytona, we have much more year-round entertainment. A boardwalk, a concrete expanse, stretching the ocean front with a pier at one end and the Bandshell at the other, and much to do in between. We might mention that, thanks to the city of Daytona Beach as well as the Sons of the Beaches, there is a “Summer Concert Series” that takes place at the Bandshell every year. This draws many to the beachside with small ticket prices to hear a few national acts, talented tribute bands, or favorite local musicians. My hometown has always had it going on, that's for sure. I would like to THANK Rockville for the hospitality & tickets to do a review and access to their photographers festival photos. Due to “Covid”, media was very limited this year as far as taking our own photos and doing band interviews. The photos you see within this article will be credited as to who took them. I especially loved all of the overhead shots of our massive crowds in attendance! We VERY much hope to be back to normal this coming year as it fuels the fire to be able to capture a show from your own perspective. The passion waned just the tiniest amount; but we do look forward to next year’s. Being local and associated with many businesses in the area, as well as D.I.S. itself, we were also able to experience the 2 VIP sections. Both provided relief from the elements and one had nice, and very welcome seating. Video screens provided great views of performances happening on the various stages.
We are loving the roominess of this new venue! ALOT of walking, though. Make sure you wear your comfy shoes, hydrate well and eat your Wheaties as a festival of this magnitude will really take it out of ya. This was the first year it has been 4 days and we heard mixed reviews on this as people think about next year which will be in warmer weather. So, there is some food for thought when coming in the next year's Rockville in May for 2022 (headliners were announced during this year's show which you can see at the end of this review) We did pre-paid parking (lot 6) along the back stretch in order to #1 - Know we had a spot and, #2 - Living here tells us any other parking would be WAY farther away from an entrance. It was easy enough to find, directed well, although the way we entered and exited changed each day we were there, which we found funny &, I’m sure, confusing for some. Almost ALL of the bands mentioned ‘how, as a rock ‘n roll family, we needed to take care of each other at these huge events’. We had prayers for those who lost their lives at Astroworld as well as moments of silence. I would be amiss not to mention that the festival was not without a small bit if controversy, of which I will not elaborate on as it warrants, nor is it worthy of, any further press on the issue. Highlighted bands we caught and loved were also the ones with packed fans in front of their stages. Being a 4 day festival, picking and choosing who’s set to catch was a ‘must’ as to not tire out too quickly during this marathon weekend.
Thursday - Dorothy, Gojira, Cypress Hill, and of course Slipknot. As someone who prefers Cory's voice in a Stone Sour situation, I have to embrace the rawness the of a Slipknot show. Which was a first for me. They played the newest song for the second time to a cheering crowd. His new mask has a creepiness that I can't really describe... just go to a show and tell ME how creepy that thing is! He also brought up how we all look out for each other at a rock show “...it is not about just you, it's about everyone…” and he went on to say “…let's think about those 8 souls lost.” One of the most talented voices around, by far.
Friday we caught - Ice Nine Kills, Butcher Babies, Rob Zombie, & Metallica Rob Zombie's set was nonstop energy. I'd caught him during the last time Rockville had him and I think poor guy was caught off guard with the FL heat especially with what he was wearing. It as a heavy looking stage outfit and he just looked wore out. This year, it was a 180 degree turn as it was an awesome show. Even in our cooler November weather we had in this rescheduled Rockville, Rob was dressed lighter and was so on point; he and the entire band. Metallica - between the 2 nights, Friday beat out Sunday for sure! Many fans said Sun set lacked the energy with one saying "phoned in" BUT Metallica twice at a festival? YES! I'll take that any day. Awesome stage show, killer sound, and some pretty good pyro to boot. Maybe the cold got to them on Sunday because temps dipped drastically ... OK, I say “drastically” because I'm a Floridian (LOL)
Saturday - We stopped to see Bad Flower, GWAR, The Offspring, Staind, and Disturbed This was our favorite day by far. All of these bands had huge audience attendance. Bad Flower has such a great repore with fans and even though thousands were right there in front of them, he asks, "Do you know who we are?" That makes me smile. Great set from them. GWAR..... What can I say besides, to quote a passing fan as we watched from the crowd,"…Fucking GWAR, man!!" (Obviously a huge fan). First time I've seen them myself, but definitely heard of them and just HAD to experience this show. From AFAR (LOL) as I'd heard about the cannons with colored liquid would fire anywhere up to 20' from the stage! With a funny sci-fi themed stage show, huge costumes that were a bit explicit in some areas, they did not disappoint! There were huge roars from the crowd at every cannon shot....and, yes, we stayed dry. The guys in The Offspring were in great form, having a great time on stage. They had one of the largest audiences of the non-headlining bands at their stage.
Sunday's bands we caught - Anthrax, Mudvayne, Lynyrd Skynyrd, & Metallica It was a chilly, all be it, COLD, night in Daytona for sure. Us Floridians usually don't prepare well for sudden cold snaps and with the windy situation that usually takes place inside DIS, it was a miserable evening if you were not dressed for it. Anthrax, one of the most loved metal thrash bands, put on a stellar show and had a packed house at their stage. Mudvayne's reunion tour seems to be doing well as fans rushed from one stage to another to make sure and catch their set. I’m sure fans had been long awaiting this band to get back together.. Each member was in a different costume donning very theatrical stage make up. Singer, Chad, doing his signature crouch at the end of the stage getting as close to fans as he could to try and almost bring them into the set. I know we had a lot of happy fans around us. Lynyrd Skynyrd was at the opposite stage just before Metallica, playing all the hits fans were there to hear. This is a band that is still prevailing today even after losing founding members years ago in a tragic accident. Now, I WILL say, Skynyrd is definitely a 'different' type of band to have at a festival such as this but they also had a packed front of stage for their set. On a side note, I'm pretty sure this is one of our wonderful promoters' favorite bands, and when you're the promoter, I'd assume you get what you want! Many of the fans that day I heard voicing that they were very excited to see Skynyrd play. Finally, and closing this year's Welcome to Rockville festival, was the second set by headliner, Metallica. All fans were at one end of the speedway getting as close as they can for the last band of the weekend. As mentioned previously, a few die-hard fans mentioned that this set was a bit less powerful than the Friday set but I'm sure that if that was the case, not many others noticed at all. Metallica played the entire Black album back to front. Neither of the Metallica performances were live streamed as the rest of the concert was on Twitch but they are for purchase, which will make nice collector pieces. It is available on their website .... HERE ....
To say we were exhausted after this 4 day weekend of much walking, awesome music, and some great food, is an understatement. Can we have a show of hands from everyone who took Monday off of work? *raises hand* This extended weekend brought much revenue to the Daytona area and we have heard nothing but great reviews regarding the crowds who visited local restaurants, bars, and shops.
Thanks you to Danny Wimmer and the entire staff of this year's Welcome to Rockville fest, and we will see you in the spring of 2022. Headliners have already been announced. They will be Guns ‘n Roses, Foo Fighters, Korn, & Kiss!! We will have further info in an upcoming press release. See all you metal heads next year!