The ancient adage has always stated, “The third time is a charm,” and this year’s third annual Connection Festival demonstrated just that. Since the festival’s inception in 2014, the growth has been exponential thanks to the addition of more widely revered headliners such as Matisyahu and 311 in 2015. Connection Festival 2016 brought a higher turnout and more devoted fans by amping up their lineup with groups like Wu-Tang Clan, Taking Back Sunday, Against Me!, and Cage the Elephant.
Taking Back Sunday via @that1guynamedalex
Jacksonville’s Metropolitan Park is the perfect setting for a festival as the St. John’s River runs parallel with the ample grass-covered grounds. Its 27-acres easily fits multiple stages which consisted of the Main Stage, The River Stage, and the Cowford Stage. The Silent Disco Tent was a new addition to this year’s festival and it will surely return next year as it was quite the success. Nationally recognized producer, Loveska, and local favorite, Cat Party, are just two out of many acts that provided driving beats to get down to in the air conditioned closed off space.
hey, don’t shoot birds at the camera
Wu-Tang Clan is an “oldskool” favorite among any smart music enthusiast and on Saturday night they proved that they definitely “ain’t nothin’ to f*** with.” Their energy was enticing and most all of the crowd could be seen getting down to favorites like “Protect Ya Neck” and “Gravel Pit.” Everyone believed they were a true rapper when beloved songs like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Ain’t Nothin’ to F’ Wit” were played. Wu-Tang closed out their memorable performance paying homage to late admired artists through covers of The Beatles, Nirvana, Prince, ODB, Biggie and Tupac just to name a few.
As the sun was setting over the river, Taking Back Sunday was bringing nostalgia to the stage and the pit was quickly packed to the hilt with some fans crowd surfing and many girls on shoulders. They started their set with most everyone’s favorite, “Cute Without The E”, and fans were singing along to the well known lyrics. Throughout the performance lead singer, Adam Lazzara, and his unrestricted stage presence would engage the raucous crowd up front. The five piece band continued their set playing cherished songs like “A Decade Under the Influence” and closed out with “MakeDamnSure.”
Evermore, it wasn’t just the headliners that made Connection Festival, it was all the talented local and regional bands who came out and crushed it. Whole Wheat Bread was a crowd pleaser with their high energy performance and punk rock-reggae songs. Beebs and Her Money Makers with their spunky funky attitude put on a colorful performance that truly made fans want to get down and shake their money makers.
Beebs and Her Moneymakers
In the heat of the day with the sun glaring down, Universal Green graced the stage with their eight member eclectic band and proceeded to get rowdy, crowd included. They could be deemed a hip-hop influenced soulful rock band, but that would still be too little to describe them. Soulful female vocals, rappers, electric violin, horns, and keys set them apart from anyone else who played this weekend.
All-in-all, even through the heat and the short rain burst Connection Festival was a great success and will continue in future years bringing even more admired bands to Jacksonville. The hard workers who put the festival on are especially to be thanked due their hard work and long hours. Without them none of this could have been possible.
Check out some more favorite moments below and VIEW FULL PHOTO GALLERY HERE
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