Rockville ’24: America’s Largest Rock Festival – A Recap.

-Welcome to Rockville Continues to Break Records-

Over 200 thousand headbangers strapped on their wristbands and swarmed Daytona this May. Featuring performances from about a hundred and fifty bands spread across five stages, this year’s Welcome to Rockville pushed the envelope even farther than before, and currently holds the title of North America’s largest rock festival.

by Nathan Zucker

It was a triumphant week for lovers of the hard rock genres. The massive Daytona International Speedway temporarily switched from the “World Center of Racing” to the “World Center of Rock” to welcome and fully immerse attendees in a music experience that’s as big and powerful as it gets. World class headliners, up and coming bands, and the whole range of touring active rock, metal, and more acts filled the four day roster, plus a bonus “day zero” campground preparty show.

 by @Dusana

We’ve followed this festival for years, as it grew up and eventually moved from its previous home at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, and as it survived and rebounded from pandemic cancellations and major weather issues. The 2024 Rockville came out in full force and was a testament to the unstoppable nature of the festival and the spirit of the rock and roll community. Every year there is something new, something different, something to be excited about… and the people are here for it. My group enjoys setting up early in the camping lots and not leaving the speedway until after the last note rings out. Others come in from all over by the thousands. Once you’re in there, you could spend a full day just exploring the grounds, buying merch and wares, jumping on carnival rides, sampling as much of the variety of food and drink as you can handle, putting your hands on an instrument in the Music Experience, singing metal karaoke to a packed house at the Church of Rock & Roll, perusing the various featured sponsor experiences, or relaxing with some friendly faces in Soberville… it goes on and on. Hell, there’s even a water slide to help you beat the heat.

by Nathan Zucker
by @Dusana
Blackened Burger Bar w/ Metallica and chef Chris Santos – by Nathan Zucker
Rockville’s awesome camping options keep you close to the action all weekend – by @Dusana
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor rocking the early style mask – by Steve Thrasher

Slipknot, Foo Fighters, Motley Crue and Limp Bizkit topped this year’s lineup, which included hard hitting names like Disturbed, Jelly Roll, Breaking Benjamin and dozens more.  Kerry King performed with his solo band ahead of Slayer’s upcoming reunion shows, one of which is set for Louder than Life, another DWP festival. The Offspring had the crowd bouncing in the afternoon sun. Insane Clown Posse had the Garage stage field packed well beyond its capacity, with their followers spilling out into the common areas. My group made a point to dive into the earlier slots and check out all five stages, and we enjoyed our first time catching bands like super fun Australian punk rockers The Chats, and Seattle up-and-comers Moon Fever, who brought all their energy for their first festival appearance.

The Chats – by Nathan Zucker
Moon Fever – by Steve Carlos

Rockville performances almost always carry an air of magic and unpredictability. With so many artists together in one weekend, fans always speculate on what might go down, and who might show up where. This year’s event had a few highlights in store. Ann Wilson, lead singer of Heart, wowed audiences when she appeared on stage with Disturbed to perform their latest collaborative single “Don’t Tell Me.” In one particularly entertaining moment during Foo Fighters’ headlining set, Dave Grohl stepped to the front of the stage and appeared to begin tapping out Eddie Van Halen’s legendary guitar solo “Eruption,” before the main screen cameras cut to reveal Wolf Van Halen (Mammoth WVH) was actually playing it from the side stage, leading to an ‘eruption’ of cheers from the audience.

Foo Fighters – by Steve Thrasher
Tommy Lee of Motley Crue – by Steve Thrasher
Limp Bizkit – by @Dusana

 Limp Bizkit’s set featured a duet with Jelly Roll, who had just performed across the festival grounds on the Octane Drift Stage. Fred Durst and Jelly, who came to be known as “Jelly Bizkit” busted out a pleasing and warm rendition of Bizkit’s The Who cover, “Behind Blue Eyes.” In fact, Limp Bizkit’s set was generally chaotic and extremely fun. They played everybody’s favorite rage anthem, “Break Stuff,” twice during their set, at the open and close. During the reprise, the band invited a handful of kids up on stage out of the crowd (with their parents) to join in on the vocals. During “Nookie” the band broke into an extended mid-section and held down the rhythm as Durst addressed the crowd, and one couple in particular who was holding up a sign asking the band to read their baby’s gender reveal. Durst obliged, bringing the two on stage, polling the audience to predict the outcome, and reading the previously unseen results from a piece of paper live in front of the screaming crowd (It’s a boy!) As a friend of mine pointed out, in an even more bizarre and interesting turn of events, just before this Durst had pleaded over the mic to “Send me an angel” moments before Jelly Roll came on stage for their duet. The name of the expecting mother turned out to be…      yep, Angel.

Limp Bizkit w/ Jelly Roll – by Steve Thrasher
Cypress Hill – by @Devilman.138
Evanescence – by Steve Thrasher

From the powerhouse headliners to the up and comers, Rockville consistently offers attendees a top notch experience and more bands than you could possibly hope to see in one weekend. Any hard music lover in the southeast US and beyond should already be aware of what’s going on here, and if you aren’t yet, definitely check into it and join your people. Welcome to Rockville is set to return to Daytona in 2025, and is part of the larger Danny Wimmer Presents line of festivals. Keep up with them online for ticket packages and lineup reveals in the coming months.

Get out there and catch a show!

Scotti Redd
Coast Observer/ Coast Observer Live

Photos courtesy of Danny Wimmer Presents

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