Later this month, Metal Hammer will be heading to Jacksonville, Florida, for Rockville – the state’s biggest and best rock and metal festival. We’ll be repping on our socials across the weekend as the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Killswitch Engage, Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm and many more bring the riffs to what will be a stand-out weekend in the States’ metal calendar. There are a ton of reasons to be excited for this year’s fest. Here are ten of them.
The lineup is ridiculous
Seriously, have you seen this thing? Ozzy, Avenged, Foo Fighters, Parkway Drive, Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, Clutch, Power Trip, Halestorm, Atreyu, Andrew WK... the list of killer bands playing Rockville this year goes on and on (and on). You will not find a bigger or better lineup in the US this month, so if you can make the trip to Jacksonville, do not miss out.
It's not just about the bands
From interactive exhibits (we’re most excited about the Music Experience, where you get to check out and test a load of state of the art gear), to onsite charity initiatives like Fxck Cancer and Love Hope Strength, to the unreal mix of food and drink options around the festival (honestly, we could just spend the whole weekend stuffing our faces and still be happy), there’s so much to do, see and eat/drink at Rockville that you’d almost be forgiven for missing half the bands. Only almost, though.
Jacksonville is cool as fuck
It’s not only the city that gave us Limp Bizkit, you know (and yes, you can jump in a cab and ask the driver to take you to the Mathews Bridge). Jacksonville has become one of the top emerging cities to visit in the whole of the US, with everyone from TripAdvisor to Forbes picking it out as a place worth heading to. From its miles and miles of beaches to cool bars and excellent restaurants and gig venues, it’s a great place to spend a few days in, so why not book yourself an extra couple off and hang out? You know it makes sense.
Ozzy is on top form
It’s probably fair to say that the Black Sabbath reunion-cum-farewell tour featured a couple of less than stellar performances from the Ozzman over the course of five years, but since returning to his solo band, he’s been at the top of his game once again. We got to catch the Prince Of Darkness headlining Chicago Open Air last year, and hearing him belt out the likes of Crazy Train, Bark At The Moon and I Don’t Know without anything like a bum note in place was, quite frankly, awesome. Back Ozzy to surprise a few people and silence his naysayers when he headlines the Friday night at Rockville.
Avenged Sevenfold have become one of our greatest headliners
From pulling off topping the bill at Download back in 2014 to creating a truly eye-popping stage show with latest album The Stage, Avenged have become an unmissable live band and have segued into the role of festival headliners with consummate ease. You cannot afford to miss what will be the most unique and, quite possibly, spectacular set of the weekend when they headline the Saturday night. It’s going to be special. And it’s going to be heavy.
It's gonna be one of the first stops to see a ton of bands road-test some new material
From Five Finger Death Punch to Parkway Drive to Bullet For My Valentine to Andrew WK, there are a lot of big hitters with new music out right now. You can guarantee they’ll all be smashing through some brand new songs at Rockville, so if you want to see Parkway open up some pits with Wishing Wells or Five Finger bring the heavy with Fake (more on that in a sec), you know where to be come the last weekend of April.
Five Finger Death Punch are ready to make the step up
It seems like they’ve been touted as the next band capable of headlining festivals for years now, and with a long-awaited new album finally in their arsenal, you can bet the Las Vegas bruisers will not be coming to play when they take on the main stage on the Friday night at Rockville. FFDP have amassed one of the best greatest hits sets in modern metal, and now that they can sprinkle it with some much needed new material they’ll be doing their damnedest to blow everyone else off stage and stake their claim to headline Rockville the next time they roll into town.
The two biggest stages don't clash
You heard that right. The Monster Energy and Metropolitan stages alternate, so you won’t have to fret about missing any of the biggest bands playing this year. And, if you’re not fussed about some of those bands, you’ve also got the kickass River Stage, which this year is housing the likes of Power Trip, Toothgrinder, Atreyu and Turnstile. You’re spoilt for choice whether you want it or not, basically.
It's gonna be toasty
Florida in April is pretty much perfect for any sun-loving metalhead, with temperatures averaging from around 25-30ºC (that’s 77-86ºF). Some of the world’s best metal and rock bands in the lovely, blazing sunshine? You know it makes sense.
You can book the perfect hotel
Not down for camping? Rockville have worked closely with some of the best local hotel chains to make sure you can book a place to crash that’ll be comfy and in close enough range to the festival itself that you won’t have to dick about travelling for hours on end. Perfect. Check out some options now.
Rockville takes place April 27-29 at Metropolitan Park in Jacksonville, Florida. For more info, head to the official website.