Each year, the hard-working people at WJRR, Orlando’s rock station, are faced with a nearly impossible task; to make this year’s Earthday Birthday festival better than the year before. For 22 years they’ve succeeded and as of Saturday April 23rd, they made it number 23. This is no easy feat, as each year they bring in some of the hottest bands in rock music for one amazing concert and combine with a number of attractions to give fans a festival atmosphere.
This year’s music line-up had something for every rock fan on two separate stages including the newly opened Central Florida Amphitheater. Top headlining bands such as 311, Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Bush, and Halestorm to name a few were enough to get fans attention. Add in up and coming bands such as New Year’s Day, Cilver, From Ashes to New, Escape the Fate and Red Sun Rising (who currently hold the #1 spot on the Billboard charts with their single, “Emotionless”) and it’s a concert lover’s dream. The lack of mosh pits and crowd surfing made it more enjoyable and safer for everyone.
With the springtime rock festival season just about to open, WJRR knows how to make Earthday Birthday more like a festival than Welcome to Rockville or Fort Rock which are scheduled for this weekend. Motorcycle stunt daredevils electrified audiences in The Globe of Death. BMX stunt riders had funs cameras clicking into overdrive. A midway area is added with a variety of rides for fans of all ages. It’s a great addition to give attendees something more to do other than just watch music. The kids seem to enjoy it mostly making it more of a family event. All the rides are unlimited and included in the price of admission so there is no need to break the bank. Speaking of which, water and gatorade were sold for a nominal charge to ensure people stayed hydrated under the Central Florida sun. A lot of fans took advantage of the body painting booth which made for some interesting viewing around the fairgrounds.
One of the coolest things about Earthday Birthday is the cooperation of Rock Pink, a charitable organization promoting awareness to breast cancer. A variety of activities are put into place where they can generate revenue. Their hard work and dedication year after year is most noteworthy.
Those looking to escape the heat could venture into the “Cool Zone”, an air-conditioned building where artists such as Shaman’s Harvest, Lacey Sturm, Trapt, Drowning Pool and others put on amazing acoustic sets. One of the highlights for the day was Shaman’s Harvest’s tribute to Prince with their version of “When Doves Cry”. It certainly touched the hearts of those in the building and left lasting impressions as fans gave a standing ovation.
New this year was a spectacular fireworks display after an incredible set by Breaking Benjamin. Fans ooh’d and aww’d with their eyes wide open and jaws to the ground as the show could rival any Fourth of July celebration.
As the rock/reggae act 311 closed the festival it was clear that everyone had a great time. People were singing and dancing their way to their vehicles in a lively fashion. As fans filed out, “What a great day!” or “That was awesome!” were some of the positive comments that could be overheard. Clearly a sign that fans more than got their money’s worth in entertainment value. I can only look forward to see how the good people at WJRR plan to top themselves next year. I’m imagining they are already started.