There are not too many things better than a weekend filled with music, fun and friends. And, with this being the 4th year in a row that We Rock for Autism was invited to be a part of 80s in the Park, there were plenty of all three last weekend.
The first 80s in the Park we attended was the infamous “Mud Bash” of 2014 at Wickham Park , then it was moved over to the Melbourne Auditorium for two years and this year we found ourselves at the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach. Now, in my opinion, this was the best location yet. All of the main events were right here, on location at the hotel. The main stage, the after parties, the Rock Con room, bars, restaurants and the beach…all without leaving the property! So, here we go…
I got there Thursday evening and immediately found Taylor in the lobby assisting bands and guests with check in. She was checking in Donny, the amazing sound guy and then she got me checked into my room. Unlike a few other people, I didn’t have any issues with getting my room, as I got there pretty early. However, the hotel over extended their bookings, due to the Daytona 500 and some cruise passengers. Yes, annoying and frustrating for some of the bands…but out of the control of the promoters. Anyways, back to MY story!
I caught some of the bands on Thursday evening (Adawak and Rollin’ Heavy) two great cover bands. Adawak handled the Motley Crue and Ratt style songs while Rollin’ Heavy took care of the heavier tunes from the likes of Metallica, Motorhead and a killer Judas Priest medley. The after party featured Carnivalle from West Palm Beach, FL and they did a great job covering everything from GnR to Iron Maiden. They had a great sound and tons of energy, and kept the after party rocking for all of the VIPs.
Friday morning started out with breakfast. For me, that meant hanging with an old roommate and really good friend who was in from Los Angeles, Stevie Rachelle. Stevie was there to promote Metal Sludge and to give these hungry rock fans the chance to get some TUFF CD’s and merch, as well as various other CD’s and some killer Cathouse, Wildside and Headbangers Ball shirts. After breakfast we hit the vendor room and set up our booths, along with some other great vendors, like Metal Babe Mahyem, Kivel Records, Dead Serious, Till Death Do Us Part, Matt (who had more CD’s to sell than most stores) and Lillian Axe had a killer set up as well. After set up, it was time to just hang out until the bands stared.
Friday evening came around and before Junkyard took the stage, I met up with Don Jamieson from That Metal Show and got him so sign the guitar…he was super cool!
Oh yeah…the guitar! Every year We Rock for Autism brings a guitar to the event and does our best to get it signed by the bands. Afterwards, we auction it off online to raise money for our Music Therapy programs. So, Don signed and took some pics.
Junkyard was one of the bands I was really looking forward to see and they did not disappoint. And, after the set, I was able to catch up with lead singer, David Roach and got him to sign the guitar too.
After Junkyard played, Winger came out and played their hits…they signed the guitar after their set as well. Then LA Guns came out and destroyed. They sounded great and it was awesome to see Phil and Traci on stage again. We managed to track down Michael Grant before the set and got him to sign.
We did the after party for a little bit on Friday night, but headed to the room to rest…Saturday would be a busy day. Saturday commenced the start of the Rock Con / Vendor Area. The Rock Con room was in a far off corner of the hotel and we were a little nervous on the traffic that would come through. But, much to our surprise, there were a ton of great people that came in. It was so cool to see people for the third or fourth year in a row, as well as meet so many great new people. We received a lot of love, got some donations and sold some shirts. It was a really good day for We Rock for Autism. We heard some of the drama going on with a band or two and there were a few issues with rooms…but the promoters handled it as they should. They did right by the ones that were willing to work with them.
Let’s not forget, the thing was scheduled for Sept. 2017 and Hurricane Irma messed that up. So, these guys rebounded and put this thing together in minimal amount of time. They deserve props for that…in fact… Richard, Kyle, Taylor, Julie and all of the rest of the 80s in the Park crew, THANK YOU! It’s because of them that we get to be there doing what we do!
After the Rock Con on Saturday, we got out to the stage to catch Every Mother’s Nightmare, Nova Rex and Lynch Mob. EMN put on an amazing set and after a slight delay, Nova Rex came out and rocked it. It is hard to find a band with more energy on stage then Nova Rex. Kenny Wilkerson is the ultimate rocker and one hell of a nice guy. After that Lynch Mob played and I got to go back into the trailer after their set so they could sign the guitar. The whole band was super cool, George even played the guitar a bit while posing for a picture. All in all, was a great night on the main stage.
The after party on Saturday night featured New Machine and Jetboy. Jetboy was supposed to be on the main stage, but there was a mix up on their scheduled day and time. So, rather than not play at all, they and the promoters got it worked out so they could play the after party. This was one of the highlights of the weekend! Due to the mix up, everyone was invited to the after party and Jetboy absolutely delivered. They were amazing and sounded great…this was the perfect end to a Saturday filled with rock!
Sunday featured Enuff Z’nuff and House of Lords, unfortunately I wasn’t able to see them or some of the other bands. I am not trying to leave anyone out of this post, but I was there to represent We Rock for Autism and could not catch everyone. But, the weekend was amazing and we got the guitar signed by a lot of cool people. Here are some pics….
* I am not a pro writer, so take this for what it is. All pictures were taken by We Rock for Autism