WJRR’s Earthday Birthday Cements its Position as one of Florida’s Elite Rock Events
For rock fans in central Florida, Orlando’s WJRR’s Earthday Birthday has become sort of a yearly ritual, an all-ages’ ritual where attendees get to escape from the confines of their daily routines and set all worries aside while enjoying the music that they love.
WJRR’s Earthday Birthday celebrated its 23rd iteration of the outdoor event on April 23 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. From newer acts to classic heavy hitters, this year’s lineup included something for everyone. Alternating between two stages, the line up included 311, Breaking Benjamin, Chevelle, Bush, Halestortm, Dirty Heads, Trivium, Red Sun Rising, Escape the Fate, Lacey Sturm, Bobaflex, From Ashes to New, Cilver and many more.
To kick off the Earthday Birthday weekend, WJRR hosted a pre-show the night before. The show, named Friday Night Fiasco, included bands such as Skindred, Drowning Pool, Trapt, Soil, and Shaman’s Harvest. While celebrating the 20th anniversary of WJRR, the event also marked the first concert at the new Orlando Amphitheater.
Friday Night Fiasco:
From early on, the show appeared to be doomed by a forecast of 100% chance of rain throughout the night. By 6:00 pm, only a small crowd surrounded the stage, but as the sky cleared and weather promised to prove my weather-app wrong, the crowd started growing. When Shaman’s Harvest took the stage, things seemed to be kicking off, but they were abruptly interrupted after three songs due to lightning storms. In a nice and responsible gesture, the organizers told the crowd to seek cover in a building that had been reserved as a “chill zone.” After over an hour of torrential rain and thunderstorms, the show finally continued, and the now wet and muddy venue did not prevent the crowd from sticking around and having a good time. After the show resumed, they were rewarded with great performances by Soil, Trapt, and Drowning Pool. By the time Skindred took the stage, the rain was already a memory. Skindred delivered a solid performance, but unfortunately their set was also cut short after the torrential rain returned, almost with no warning.
Earthday Birthday 23:
As things got going on Saturday for the main event, the aftermath from the night before was evident. Seeing the muddy scene across from the amphitheater stage was like observing the aftermath of a storm, and one could only hope for a better forecast for the day. Luckily, the worst that the crowd would experience that day would be the 80-degree weather and some clouds.
There is nothing like watching young bands such as Escape the Fate and From Ashes to New leaving it all on stage while performing live. These performances were loud and energetic and set the right tone for the event early on. As the day continued, everyone was treated to great performances from the upbeat rhythms of The Dirty Heads; the loud and dark hometown heroes Trivium; a nostalgia trip from Bush, led by a non-aging Gavin Rossdale; and the powerful and sexy Halestorm.
As the sun was setting, all the attention turned to the main stage for the three remaining acts of the day. Chevelle and Breaking Benjamin had the crowd energized and singing along for the duration of their sets. To close the main event, 311 took the stage and quickly raised the energy to an ultimate high. Not only did they deliver the same intensity as their albums, they elevated it. These music veterans delivered an amazing show of musicianship while performing a set of almost twenty songs.
From carnival rides, dunk tanks, body-painting, BMX demos, and pro wrestling to the great lineup of bands, WJRR’s Earthday Birthday 23 had something to offer for everyone. From the kids that got to experience their first music festival to the grownups who just wanted to see their favorite band once again, everyone got their money’s worth. Without a doubt, Earthday Birthday continues to be one the most elite music events in Florida.
See you at Earthday Birthday 24.