ION INDIE MAGAZINE September 2016, Volume 28 - Page 122

By Bruce “Twister” Lenzi • From the never-ending echoes of “Freebird”, Gator Country and Nookie…Jacksonville, Florida (A.K.A. "ROCKVILLE") has changed and influenced the world rock scene from the 70's through the new millennium. What happened from 2000 till now? Was it greedy label CEOS, online music streaming, MTV switching to "reality show" format (this is a whole another article), but there have been only a few bands since then that have seen the spotlight of success from the ROCKVILLE area: SHINEDOWN, COLD, YELLOW CARD, RED JUMPSUIT APPARATUS--to name a few--but they haven't been able to reach the same plateau of rock stardom as the afore-mentioned. I can personally tell you that it's not from quality of the bands or lack of trying. The North Florida area is the breeding ground for over 100 non-signed indie bands of all genres of music, with another few bands starting up every month or so, ready for their chance at rock and roll stardom--or at least the chance of playing in front of a crowd of 100 or more fans. THE BIG DREAM! Of these 100 or so bands, a good percentage (in my opinion) are ready for the next level--or as I call it "Mini Regional Tour”-a 3-5 city tour in 7 days as a co-headliner with another regional band. There are a few bands from the area already doing this (but not as many as there should be) and another good percentage ready for "Semi National Tour" as a support act for an indie/major label band. And then at least another 20-25 (again, in my opinion) ready for "National Touring" and/or signed by an indie/major label…as I call them "Diamonds in the Rough--Ready for the Picking". I know there are some bands that say that they dont want to be signed by a label; they don't want their music/artistry compromised by some "suit", but believe me, if Sony or Atlantic sent them a letter of interest, we would definitely hear about it! LOL! Our Jacksonville, Florida scene has roughly 25 live venues/clubs that give a stage to our bands--with a few bringing in semi and national acts to the area--which gives our local bands a chance to be in somewhat of the spotlight. Once a year we have "Welcome to Rockville", which is now a 3 day event, bringing in all levels of rockers. In the past, it had a “Locals” stage, making dreams a reality to some of our bands by being able to play in front of 5,000 people or more. But this past year, NO LOCALS were able to fulfill their dreams. NO local stage was provided at this large event. Was the reason money, time, sponsorship??? This is another article for the future! There definitely was a want for it by the locals. So a few great supporters of the "LOCAL MUSIC SCENE" decided to produce their own festival this year, "VillainFest 2016"-a great event with 8 local bands, including some of the best talent in North Florida. Bands that were a part of the event were: