Many people have come to know May as the “World’s Loudest Month,” but Florida likes to get a head start on festival season in April with a rockin’ Earthday Birthday celebration. This year was the 24th installation of WJRR’s annual Earthday Birthday festival and every year the lineup (and crowd!) just keep growing.
As typical for Florida, it was already hot by the time the first handful of bands – Eve To Adam, Supervillains and Bleeker – took stage at the Orlando Amphitheater shortly after noon. Thankfully, this is one show that seems to be clothing optional as many fans sported bikinis and others even stopped at a body painting station. A stand offering frozen margaritas was also a welcome refreshment for many patrons.
Besides the refreshments and music, Earthday Birthday offers plenty of other entertainment, including live tattoo artists, suspension artists, a BMX stunt show and helicopter rides. There was also a small stage setup indoors that hosted a variety of acoustic acts throughout the day, and was another nice place to cool off for a minute.
Earthday Birthday has perfected the art of a single day festival. A two stage setup allows for nearly non-stop music all day, and no sets overlap, which means no having to pick which band you want to see. The first half of the day flew by with short but energetic 20-30 minute sets from Dinosaur Pile-Up, Nonpoint and Sick Puppies.
The first band to get a more length time slot was Thrice on the Rock Pink stage. After a nearly five year long hiatus, the California native band reformed in 2015 and released their most recent album To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere in May last year. They opened their setlist with the album’s latest single “Hurricane,” but made sure to keep things balanced with singles from across their discography.
Candlebox’s set at 5:35 PM was a throwback to the ’90s. The crowd sang along to the hits “You” and “Far Behind” as vocalist Kevin Martin walked along the barricade singing to fans up front.
Sevendust is no stranger to Florida and needless to say, fans always give them a warm welcome back. Playing bangers such as “Pieces,” “Face to Face,” and “Bitch,” Sevendust may just have been the heaviest set of the day. Hawaiian reggae-rock band Pepper followed up with a contrastingly mellow set, but also started to set the tone for the evening’s headliner.
Orlando natives, Alter Bridge, pulled in another heavier set of the day. Frontman Myles Kennedy has one of the most recognizable voices in current day rock. Coupled with Mark Tremonti’s guitar talent, not much can go wrong during their live shows. Though they released their most recently album just six months ago, their set was balanced with hits spanning their entire discography.
Typically, Earthday Birthday hosts an annual fireworks display, however an actual fire backstage caused those to be cancelled. Instead, the festival moved on with the year’s headliner. Sublime with Rome took stage right at 9:00 PM, opening with “Date Rape” and “Smoke Two Joints,” a song you could practically smell. Although Sublime with Rome has put out three studio albums, the majority of the set consisted of original Sublime songs. The evening wrapped up with what was essentially an hour and 15 minutes sing-a-long, closing on “What I Got” and “Santeria.”