By John Indiveri
Earthday Birthday 26 hit the Orlando Fairgrounds on April 13, 2019 with a stacked line up of Rock and Metal favorites!
Earthday Birthday is the brainchild of 101.1 WJRR radio in Orlando, FL (one of the few stations around still playing rock and metal music that I know of) and has been running for 26 years now. Past artists have included Shinedown, All That Remains, Escape The Fate, Dirty Heads, From Ashes to New, Bush and many more. The locations have changed over the years as the festival grew of course and is quite impressive that WJRR has been able to put on this event for 26 straight years. Kudos to you WJRR!
Now, Florida is of course normally a fairly warm state, especially in the summer months. It’s one of those things you just have to cope with if you live here. Typically it doesn’t start to get really warm until the end of April and start of May, however on April 13th it was a scorcher. Temps hovered around 90 degrees most of the day with ~80% humidity and the sun out for most of it. It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to stand in an open field basically with the sun beating down on them all day. But stand they did. While I don’t have an exact count of how many were in attendance, it was easily in the thousands. With a line up like this years, any rock and metal fan in the area would be remiss to skip this show! The festival organizers, obviously being from Florida, are well aware of the temps that could be reached and did a great job at ensuring there were cooling stations throughout the grounds. While there could have been a few more tents in the GA areas, they did have a large cooling center (which also doubled as the acoustic sessions stage) in a large hanger. This photojournalist took advantage of this area quite a bit throughout the day!
Earthday Birthday is also not just about the music, but about the experience as well. From the food trucks to wrestling to helicopter rides (yes you read that correctly), there was a little something for everyone.
Now onto the music. EDBD had 3 stages plus the indoor acoustic stage. The main stage (aka the Bud Light Stage) was set up while the second stage (aka the Amp Stage) was already existing in the Amphitheater portion of the fairgrounds. There was also the Ink stage where smaller and local bands performed.
The day for me started with Eve to Adam playing on the Amp stage. I wasn’t super familiar with them but they came on stage with quite the show! Singer and founding member Taki Sassaris was dragged out by members of their crew in a straitjacket “struggling” to get away and placed in front of the mic. He sang the first song still in the straitjacket before it was removed. From there it was quick walk over to the Bud Light stage to catch Canadian rock n’ roll band The Glorious Sons. They opened with their hit single S.O.S and put on a great show. I stuck around the Bud Light Stage for the next act to play, Rival Sons. Man the sound these guys produce is refreshing. It brings you back to the classic rock and roll of the 70’s with a modern flare. The performance started out a bit rocky before they took the stage due to some technical difficulties, but once fixed they took the stage and put on an amazing show. High energy, powerful guitar riffs (courtesy of Mr. Fuzzlord) and commanding vocals is how I would describe Rival Sons live.
Once Rival Sons was finished it was a quick walk back over to the Amp stage to catch one of my favorite artist, Atreyu. This is the second time I have covered them and as always they did not disappoint. This was their first show since the In Our Wake tour and the following day was their spring kick off tour with Motionless In White. To my surprise they played a good deal of older tunes which was awesome and of course, the energy on stage was second to none! They went on around 4pm and unfortunately this stage faced towards the West so the sun was BRUTAL, but to their credit they didn’t skip a beat. Definitely one of my favorite artists to see live! From Atreyu it was back to the Bud Light Stage to catch Motionless In White, back from a bit of a break. Joining them as always on tour was Justin Morrow on Bass however he is now a full time member of the band, departing Ice Nine Kills. I had the chance to photograph Justin while he was in Ice Nine Kills and just as when he was with them, he put on an amazing performance as did the rest of the guys.
The evening rounded out with Underoath, Three Days Grace and the headliner, Godsmack. For me personally, it’s been a bucket list item to photograph Godsmack. I first saw them live back in 1998 when they started getting more national attention and have followed them ever since. The show was phenomenal! Fast paced, hard hitting and the guys were very engaging with the crowd and the photographers.
Overall Earthday Birthday 26 was a well thought out and fun festival, and after 26 years of putting on the show it’s evident they know what they are doing. This is one festival you do not want to miss next year.
Be sure to check out the gallery below!
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