DWP Presents Welcome To Rockville at Daytona Beach International Speedway
Review by Kyle Hansen
I was looking forward to this weekend for a long time. It was my dad’s 80th birthday party on the 11th and saw Welcome to Rockville was the same weekend. After finding out I was approved to review the weekend I extend my stay in FLA. My review will be a from a fan of festivals and an ex worker of a festival. I will look at security – bands – fans – grounds – fans – merchandise and more. So let’s get this party started.
When I showed up on Thursday I realized how big this place actually was. I figured if you are going to throw a festival it better be a big area. Well Dayton International Speedway is massive. I have never been around a Nascar trac so it was way cool to see. The credentials were off site now as it was Thursday and I did not read my email right. Danny, a guy on a golf cart escorting people around was nice enough to bring me over to the site and get my pass for the weekend. Already off to a good start. As I went in it looked to be plenty of entry areas and exits. I always check cause I was planning my entry and exits for the next few days. The general parking lo is right behind one entry on the south east side. So it was easy in and out. So as I went in camping was on the right and Octane stage was on the left. As I walked down the grass to the north the Rockvillian stage was on the left / west side and right ahead was the Space Zebra stage. On between the two stages on each side was bar service and food all the way down. In the center was Jack Daniels tent and vendor booths back to back. Then the massive merchandise booth on the left. Best thing about this was all the bands had all their merch up all weekend. Most festivals only have the merch up for that day they are there. Metallica had their own line if you just wanted Metallica shirts. Which was perfect cause I just wanted a event shirt. Made it super easy to get and fast. Even the massive lines went quick for all the other merchandise. VIP had two site one at each main stage. It was HUGE areas. I took a couple pics of the tents and ares. I would go VIP if I was debating cause it looked great and right by stage left to watch. They even had bleachers up if wanted to sit and watch the shows. I can’t say enough how cool it was to be in the race track. Just looking at all the seats behind the stages was so cool. Plus you get to actually walk right on the pavement where the cars race. As the first two days went by I lept looking for somewhere to sit in the middle jsut to eat my food. Day three there were tables everywhere. No idea how but someone listened or had an idea. The clean up crew was amazing. People everywhere cleaning at all times.When everyone moved from one stage to the other to see the band on the far stage, several people would come out and clean as much as they could. I loved the grounds.
The security was top notch. There were EMT’s all over. There was security everywhere you looked. Up front they had the crowd surfing totally under control. Even thought signs were everywhere not to crowd surf. Every incident I saw the response was quick for EMT or security. I have been to many concerts where the lack of security sucks.I felt completely safe. Even leaving the parking lot they directed everyone and I was out without waiting forever.
Food / Beverages
My god what do you want. Cause it’s there. Huge Jack Daniels booth. Blackened whiskey booth. Try it it’s really good. The beer was mostly your regular beer but for us craft beer people they had a craft beer section. I picked Britney as my bar tender for the weekend and kept just going to her. 12 different craft beers to try. They also had cocktails all over the place. The Kraken even had blended drinks. There was so much to choose from. The food was amazing. BBQ – Vegan eats – tons of Mac n cheese dishes – grilled chicken – burgers – pizza – funnel cakes SO MUCH FOOD. There is no way you could not find something good to eat.
Rock fans are the best. Unique – fun – attitude – happy – friendly – excited. This explains just a few of what I witnessed. Now the pit. If you don’t want to deal with the pit, don’t go. If you don’t want to crowd surf or help with it don’t get in that area. I always hear people complain but that is the way it is. Now with several people dying at Astroworld in Houston it was addressed several times by bands over the weekend. No one that went down was not gonna get up. I retired from the pit in 2000 so I get close but do not participate. This 52 year old likes his up front comfort. I was up front for both Metallica show and Anthrax. I’m an old school trash guy. Both were comfortable to each side, not in the middle. We had a few surfers but we all helped each other out. People watching is always great at any festival. Everyone I talked to and met were awesome. Even the group yelling at me through the camping gates behind the Twitch stage. They were great.
Of course one of the main reasons I wanted to cover the festival is because of the Metallica / DWP shows. I wanted to see 2 unique sets from one of my favorite bands. I was pretty sure I was only one of the few that saw the 86 Master of Puppets tour. Now that being said there were so many other bands. We also got another from the big 4 – Anthrax. They had more energy than I have seen in the post but it was also their first show in 300 and 90 some days. Slipknot was incredible as always. This was their last show of 2021. There was a lot of that with every band. Skynyrd playing one of their last Florida shows, Maybe. I never believe anyone is done until they say it. Well crap, they still keep touring. For Cypress Hill I worked my way up so I could grab some photos and get down with them. If you can see them go. So much fun. New band Whit3 Collar from LA were sweet. I heard a lot of LA influences, Van Halen, Motley Crue. Young kids that won the crowd over. Check them out amazing.
Now at a festival you usually don’t get a full set from every band unless they are headlining. But that does not mean they are not gonna bring it. I saw so many bands go to the max just because their time is limited. Fever 333 stands out every time. Holy crap do they have some energy. Mudvayne returned after cancelling due to Covid reasons for Louder Than Life. Chad chatted a bit too much could have snuck in at least two more songs. Stone Temple Pilots had to cancel due to Covid protocol. Bummer but hey I get it. I loved seeing Social Distortion and Pennywise but seemed to be the crowd was not as into it as I was. GWAR was insane as always. A Day To Remember had the Octane stage packed. Dance Gavin Dance was an interesting listen. They had everyone going though so gonna have to listen here at home. Ice Nine Kills came out in suits for their American Psycho themed set. Metallica in my opinion was the perfect band to headline a festival of this magnitude. They still sound so good after 40 years. I remember in 83 when 13 my friends having Kill Em All and thinking What the Hell is this. The when Ride the Lightning came out we were in. We got half that album this weekend. It was awesome to hear them play The Black album back to front. I have been seeing them since 86 and have never heard some of those songs live. We even got Damage Inc as the next to last song. They blew the crap out of the stage on Fuel the first night. The second they did it with Enter Sandman and Creeping Death. All the bands were amazing I saw. Even if I had never heard them before.
There was a ton of people at every band. It was amazing to see so many people out after being locked up for almost 18 months. Now onto May 2022 when it all returns. KISS – Korn – GNR and Foo Fighters headlining!!
Photo by Steve Thrasher