The fourth annual Monster Energy Fort Rock took place on April 30th and May 1st, expanding to two days after three consecutive years of a sold out crowd. Apart of the “World's Loudest Month” festival series Fort Rock packed unstoppable sets that drew out over 23,000 fans to the JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, FL. The crowd and bands alike battled a brutally hot weekend, but that didn't stop anyone from rocking out. Fort Rock hosts two stages next to each other, with bands alternating performance between the two. Amenities of the festival included a VIP Jack Daniels sponsored viewing bar, the Jägermeister chill zone with misters and fans, and FYE music tent where fans could purchase CDs and later have them signed by participating bands, and plenty of food and drink vendors.
Day one of Fort Rock was headlined by A Day to Remember, Five Finger Death Punch, and Rob Zombie. The festival gates opened around 11am, with the first band, the winner of the 93X Battle of the Bands, SOWFLO, taking the stage shortly after 12. Avatar, who recently released their latest album Feathers and Flesh, took Fort Rock by storm with their circus act performance hailing all the way from Sweden. I first experienced Avatar live back in January and with their new material (and new outfits to boot) it's safe to say that Avatar isn't slowing down anytime soon. The Glorious Sons, Issues, Saint Asonia, and Sevendust were among the other day time bands that rocked out day one.
A day time ritual took place as the masked musicians Papa Emeritis III and the Nameless Ghouls of Ghost took the stage. While initially it felt odd seeing Ghost in the light, the early set did not falter Ghost's act one bit. Known for their stage show, including backdrops, Sisters of Sin, and ritualistic props, this festival set was a showcase of Ghost's raw musical talent. Lamb of God followed with ultra- energetic singer Randy Blythe jumping from one side of the stage to the other as the band thrashed their way through the setlist. The heavy metal didn't stop there as founders of thrash metal both Anthrax and Megadeth played for the next two hours. Having the opportunity to see not one, but both of these bands in the same day was an incredible experience. The sounds of shredding guitars, thunderous bass, and wailing percussions overtook Fort Rock and the crowd was right there with these incredible musicians, showing them love the entire way .
Florida natives A Day to Remember followed as the sun began to set. Confetti, beach balls, and streamers continuously bounced back and forth through the crowd as ADTR pounded out heavy hit after heavy hit including “2nd Sucks” and “Sometimes You're The Hammer, Sometimes You're The Nail.” The band slowed the set with “Have Faith in Me ” and of course the Florida favorite “All Signs Point to Lauderdale. ” ADTR proves continuously to be a band you do not want to miss live, these guys kill it at every performance. Kids and adults alike braced themselves for Five Finger Death Punch knowing they were in for a true metal show. With this being only their second show since December, 5FDP nailed their performance. The crowd went wild with moshpits and singer Ivan Moody brought the smaller children from the front of the crowd up on stage during “Burn MF ” not only to rock out, but clearly to get them out of the frenzied crowd.
Rob Zombie closed out day one of Fort Rock with a return to the live stage since November, having only played one show prior. If you have never been to a Rob Zombie show (I'm sorry) then you should know it is a full theatric performance that leaves you dangling on every song and this was no different. The crowd, despite going on hour eleven of baking in the heat piled over to the main stage and rocked out with Rob, John 5, Piggy D, and Ginger Fish. Oh, and the giant alien that visited us from his UFO, if the “F” in UFO stands for “fornication.” The hour long set list hit Zombie staples such as “More Human Than Human” “Living Dead Girl” and “Thunderkiss’ 65.” Even their Grand Funk Railroad cover of “American Band” had people shouting out every word. The band finished the set out with “Dragula” and the concert goers dragged themselves to the car for a shower and to get ready for day two.