With temperatures reaching the 90’s this past weekend, Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville brought the heat to a sold out festival of over 50,000 people. More than doubling its attendance numbers since 2013, this year featured bands such as Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie, Cypress Hill, Pennywise, and more than 40 other acts. Between 4 stages, overlapping sets, artist & band meet and greets, plus plenty of Jack Daniels and Jager to fuel everyone, there was definitely no rest for the wicked!
The first day opened up with tens of thousands of fans rushing the gates in pure excitement to see their favorite bands. Generation X punk rockers, Pennywise, threw down classics such as “Skate or Die,” “Fuck Authority,”and “Brohymn”. They also surprised everyone by asking the crowd what they wanted to hear them play, then mixed things up by covering Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right.”
The infamous stoner group, Cypress Hill followed a similar format with their DJ spinning a mashup set on vinyl performing such hits like “Insane In The Brain” and “Hits From The Bong” (at 4:20pm precisely). They even got the crowd hyped and re-energized for the rest of the evening with a chilling mix of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” with their own “How I Could Just Kill a Man.” As hot and dusty as it was with everyone’s energy exhuming from within the mosh pits, the day concluded with an insane herd of rockers throwing up their fists to 3 Doors down, Disturbed, and Shinedown.
The following day was just as brutally hot. People were searching for any inch of shade that was available, all the way to the overpass. For those who invested in the well-worth VIP experience, there were multiple shady retreats setup on-site with huge tents, plenty of seating, live broadcasted stage performances on big screens, misting fans, clean bathrooms buildings, shorter food/drink lines and more. In comparison to other festival VIP packages, these were definitely a saving grace for us; walking around with camera gear and all. Everyone made the best of it and raged on into the night.
As the sun was setting, Megadeth began playing for their fanatics. Almost immediately, crowd surfers took over the stage horizon as devil horns filled the gaps in between. They definitely bridged the gap in generations of their fans when they started playing “Sweating Bullets” in the baking, Florida heat.
Photo by: Scott Uchida
Closing the festival was legendary freak rocker, Rob Zombie. He appeared from the mist donning what can only be described as a disco version of Macho Man Randy Savage’s iconic outfit. Needless to say, his tassel game was STRONG! Halfway though, he ditched the jacket and exposed himself to wearing a dashiki and began to cover Chic’s 1979 hit single “Le Freak (Freak Out).” On top of that, he busted out heavy hitters such as “Living Dead Girl,” “Never Gonna Stop,” and “Superbeast!” And of course, what Zombie show would be complete without crazy big-headed monsters running all over stage with abstract music videos being projected in the backdrop and dizzying lights everywhere?!
All in all, Welcome To Rockville 2016 was one for the books. If this year’s attendance record and performances were any indication, then Rockville 2017 should blow everyone out of the water!
Written by: Los Poblete
Photos by: Jen McKinnon (unless noted)