The Local’s Guide to Welcome to Rockville

photo by Jon M. Fletcher

Duval is about to get loud. Welcome to Rockville makes its return to Jacksonville on April 29th and 30th and brings its strongest lineup to date. Alternative giants Soundgarden, The Offspring, and Chevelle join the likes of Def Leppard, A Perfect Circle, Seether and Papa Roach. Before moving to Jacksonville in 2013, I spent nine years working in Alternative radio hosting an afternoon show. In those years, I interviewed some of the biggest bands from around the world and attended hundreds of concerts and festivals. To say that I’m excited about Welcome to Rockville is an understatement. Thanks to my past life in radio, I know the “ins and outs” of navigating a rock festival. Here are some tips:

article continues after advertisement

Dos and Don’ts

Pace the Booze. The biggest mistake someone can make at an all-day festival is drinking too early. Even worse is when you start drinking liquor early. April in Jacksonville is going to hot. Combine the heat and the booze and next thing you know you’re passed out on the grassy knoll in Metropolitan Park with a thousand guys dressed in black starting a mosh pit around you. For every drink you enjoy, grab water and chug it down, I’d also take advantage of all the food trucks that will be on hand.

Moshing is not Fight Club. A common mistake is to confuse moshing for fighting. A push here, a push there and if you get knocked down, nine times out of ten someone will help you up. Bands get loud and people get excited, so realize if you are standing within 40 yards of the stage, you might get a nice shove every now and again. It is just a part of the dance culture.

photo by Bruce Lipsky

VIP has its perks. Avoid the crowd, get better bathrooms, and have less people touching you while you have a great view of the stage. VIP tickets are great for these type of rock shows.

SUNSCREEN. Wear it. And maybe a hat. There is nothing worse than being jostled in a mosh pit with raging sunburn.

Put your phone down. There is nothing worse than having the person in front of you holding up their phone for over an hour recording a set. Not only will no one want to watch your shaky YouTube video with horrible audio, you won’t even watch it. Enjoy the music, take a picture or two, and when in doubt, don’t be that guy.

photo by Christina Kelso

article continues after advertisement

Bands You Need To See


If you were in your teens in the 90s, Soundgarden should be on your bucket list. Not only does Chris Cornell have one of the best voices, this is the original line up. Expect to hear every song from your high school years and have flashbacks of yourself wearing flannel when grunge was a thing.

A Perfect Circle
One of the most surprising additions to this year’s festival is the return of A Perfect Circle. Lead by Tool front man Maynard James Keenan, this will be the band’s first tour in six years. Maynard is a weird dude, so I expect some entertaining on-stage banter.

The Offspring
You might forget that The Offspring have released nine albums (new album coming out this year) and produced hits including “Self Esteem,” “Come Out And Play (Keep ‘Em Separated),” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Hammerhead” and “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid.” When in doubt, you have sung one of their songs at a karaoke bar. This set will be a guaranteed sing-a-long.

photo by Bruce Lipsky

article continues after advertisement


It’s amazing how much noise three guys can make on stage. The band originated out of Chicago and continues to top the Alternative/Rock charts with each album they release. They are by far my favorite band on the festival lineup. Chevelle is more impressive every time they hit the stage.

Def Leppard
I almost left Def Leppard off the list but honestly, I’m really looking forward to seeing them live. They have sold over 100 million albums worldwide and with hits like “Love Bites”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Hysteria”, “Armageddon It, and “Animal”, there will be a lot of people left with no voice on Monday.

This festival is huge for Jacksonville. Rock fans from states away will come into town, visit our local restaurants and bars and will likely return next year ready for more head banging. If this is your first time attending the festival, enjoy. The people-watching is fantastic.

photo by Jon M. Fletcher

For more info visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *