Orlando’s annual Earthday Birthday festival celebrated its 25th anniversary this past Saturday at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. The festival was founded in 1993 by radio station WJRR and has seen numerous mainstream acts such as Kid Rock, The Offspring, Rob Zombie, Godsmack and Stone Sour as headliners over the years.
The day started off with a threat of rain lingering during the opening sets for Nirvanna, Dead Girls Academy and Red, but the clouds had parted and left nothing but beautiful skies overhead when Nonpoint hit the stage at 1:30 PM.
Powerman 5000 had a surprisingly early time slot considering how long they’ve been in the business, but that just meant they were able to wake the crowd up quickly. Their heavy industrial set was a fun throwback to the early 2000’s with “Nobody’s Real,” “Bombshell,” and “When Worlds Collide” – songs that many people would recognize from various movie and video game soundtracks.
Known for having an over the top persona, Fozzy frontman Chris Jericho (yep – the pro wrestler!) hit the stage just before 4:00 PM covered from head to toe in studded leather pants and jacket. With plenty of experience in the entertainment industry, there’s no denying that Jericho knows how to hype up a crowd. Fozzy entertained with high energy jumps and playful interaction between the band members from the opening song “Judas” to the set closer “Sandpaper.”
In 1995, English rock band Bush came out with their debut album Sixteen Stone and rocketed to immediate success. Over 20 years later, the songs “Little Things,” “Glycerine,” and “Come Down” still stand the test of time. Vocalist Gavin Rossdale sounded as good as ever and delighted fans when he jumped off stage repeatedly to walk along the barricade and through the crowd.
Three Days Grace are another band that has a discography that speaks for itself. They just released their sixth studio album Outsider in March and the first two singles “The Mountain” and “Infra-Red” were consecutive chart toppers, making them the band with the most singles to top the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Three Days Grace managed to pack both those songs, plus 11 other hits into their hour long set, closing out with high energy single “Riot.”
Although still considered a fairly young band, Starset found quick success with back to back concept albums Transmissions (2014) and Vessels (2017), which incorporate elements of vocalist Dustin Bates’ interest in astronomy. The entire band has a backstory that they portray on stage, evident when all members minus the vocalist came out doning white spacesuits. Starset’s stage came to life for their 30 minute set with plenty of CO2 and opaque cages around the drummer and violinist that were synched with the music to appear translucent at times.
Seether hit the stage right as the sun was setting at 8:00 PM. While they aren’t necessarily the most interactive band on stage, Shaun Morgan still has a plenty of power backing his vocal chords. Despite releasing their album Poison the Parish just a year ago, the majority of Seether’s set consisted of the biggest hits spanning across their entire discography. Some highlights included “Gasoline” and “Fine Again,” but “Broken” easily took the cake as having the loudest crowd sing-a-long.
At the end of the day (literally) – what really can be said about Shinedown that hasn’t already been said? Florida is home to Shinedown and WJRR was one of the first radio stations to give airtime to the band’s debut single “Fly From the Inside” back in 2003. The band wasted no time firing their set up with “Sound of Madness” and a visually stunning laser show. As always, Brent Smith came out and easily charmed the crowd with charisma and entranced them with his vocals. Fan favorites such as “Bully,” “Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom),” and “Simple Man” were among the songs played. Shinedown closed their 75 minute long set with a new song titled “Devil,” which was a taste of their upcoming album Attention Attention, due for release in May.
While Earthday Birthday has come to be known mostly for the music, other attractions such as a BMX stunt stage, wrestling and camel rides were available throughout the day. There were also numerous arts and crafts booths to browse and you could even watch someone spray paint a custom masterpiece in minutes. A “Chill Zone” was available to relax and cool off in and also featured a handful of acoustic sets throughout the day.