Jacksonville’s cronies-only urban redevelopment racket claims another victim as Welcome to Rockville moves to Daytona Beach. According to a weekend press release written on behalf of Los Angeles-based production company Danny Wimmer Presents, the major music festival—which has been hosted in Jacksonville’s Northbank district for nine years—will celebrate its 10th anniversary edition at Daytona International Speedway in May 2020. The company cited city policy as a determining factor.
“As a result of Jacksonville’s continued development of the city’s downtown area,” the email press release stated, “Metropolitan Park is no longer available to host the annual festival.”
Although Jacksonville music-lovers are already mourning the loss on social media, DWP appears to be making lemonade. “After welcoming sold-out crowds of 90,000-plus the past three years,” the press release continued, "the move to Daytona International Speedway will allow Rockville to increase its audience capacity while at the same time providing more enhanced audience experiences.”
Indeed, the copywriter went on to tout the festival’s new home as “a world-class facility, including numerous hotels within walking distance, many dining options and expanded space for camping, allowing Rockville attendees a convenient and well-rounded experience.”
The email also quoted company founder (and Jacksonville native) Danny Wimmer, who addressed the Northeast Florida ticket-buyers who built Rockville: “This is where it all began—not just for Rockville, but for me. I love my hometown, and I’m really proud of what Rockville accomplished in its nine years in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, there was no longer a space at Metropolitan Park for us to deliver the kind of festival experience that Florida’s rock fans deserve. I’m excited to have a larger site to work with that allows us the room to continue growing the festival experience. I hope all of our Jacksonville friends will join us in this next phase of Welcome to Rockville’s evolution.”
Folio Weekly is scheduled to speak with DWP CEO Danny Hayes next week. In the meantime, let's drown our sorrows with a wee dram of vintage R.E.M.: