Saturday April 23rd marked the 23rd annual iHEARTMEDIA Rock WJRR (101.1) Earthday Birthday, one of Orlando's biggest rock festivals of the season. T his year was the first to include the newly structured Central Florida Fairgrounds Amphitheater. The music side of the festival included two stages to rock out at outdoors, and an indoor acoustic stage where Lacey Sturm (formerly Flyleaf), Trapt, Shaman's Harvest and others showed off their softer side. Other festivities included carnival rides, body paint, local artists and vendors, and a firework display to close out the night.
The day kicked off at the Rock Pink stage with California natives New Years Day, followed by the Perego Art Army, a live mixture of music and painting on t he Bud Light stage. Orlando locals Traverser took the Rock Pink stage next while Fit for Rivals geared up back over at the amphitheater.
Fans jumped between stages as the EDBD crew was very apt at keeping the sets on time as best they could. With 5-10 minutes between most sets, the concert goers had plenty of time getting from one stage to the other, a commendable action on the festival s part. Plenty of fans come to these shows expecting to see specific bands that may be on opposite en ds of the grounds, so having a festival that makes it easy for them is a thumbs up in my book.
Mid-day boasted heavy sets from Dorothy, Bobaflex, Cilver, Escape the Fate, From Ashes to New, Red Sun Rising, the Dirty Heads, and Trivium. British rock icons, Bush, took to the stage as the crowd had swelled to the thousands in numbers. Bush opened up with the classic “Machinehead” causing the fans to instantly erupt with excitement and there was no slowing down as they shouted out each word. Gavin Rossdale even jumped into the crowd early on in the set, he was clearly feeling the synergy as well. As expected, Halestorm finished off the sets at the Bud Light stage for the day with some major shredding and lots of material off their latest album. Alternative heavyweight's Chevelle were up next at the main stage as the sun began to set and it started cooling off for the crowd. Chevelle knocked out an energetic set including hits such as “Send the Pain Below” “Take Out the Gunman” and, of course, “ The Red. ” Breaking Benjamin kept the crowd amped up with a dynamic performance of many of your favorite radio hits such as “Blow Me Away” and “Diary of Jane," and even a medley of covers that ranged from “The Imperial March” to Nirvana that finished up with the heavy metal crowd pleaser “Walk.” 311 did not disappoint as the Nebraskan based band played over an hour of their rock and reggae mixed tunes. Despite the crowd being jam packed full of people, there was no shortage of dancing and grooving mimicking that of the band on stage.
Earthday Birthday 23 was a great way to celebrate our planet, and if you haven't experienced it yet, definitely head out to EDBD 24 next year for great music, and great people to share it with.