Welcome to Rockville halted Saturday by storms in Daytona; more expected Sunday

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DAYTONA BEACH — For the second consecutive day, a series of severe thunderstorms besieged the Welcome to Rockville music festival on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, washing out at least half a dozen scheduled performances including highly anticipated headliner Guns N’ Roses.

After frustrated fans were herded to shelter in the Speedway grandstand or in their vehicles during multiple delays caused by lightning-laden storms that occasionally packed potential for high winds and quarter-sized hail, Los Angeles-based festival promoter Danny Wimmer Presents finally pulled the plug on the proceedings a little before 10 p.m.

That was roughly 30 minutes before Guns N’ Roses was scheduled to take the stage.

“Unfortunately, there is another storm headed our way so we regretfully will be cancelling the rest of the show tonight,” stated a post on the festival’s Facebook page. “We are as heartbroken as you are that today’s inclement weather has disrupted our plans, but ultimately the safety of our fans, artists, staff and vendors are of the upmost (sic) importance.

“Please make your way to your vehicle or campground calmly,” the post stated. “Thank you and see you tomorrow.”

Fist-pumping fans crowd the stage on Saturday at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway. Later in the day, the event again was besieged by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.
Fist-pumping fans crowd the stage on Saturday at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway. Later in the day, the event again was besieged by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.

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The post generated more than 1,700 comments from exasperated, disappointed and angry fans, many enduring an unwelcome repeat of Friday’s storm-related shut-down of the event before that night’s headliner, Korn, was able to perform.

Instead of pictures of heavy-metal bands at work for exuberant fist-pumping fans, the festival's Facebook feed was dominated throughout the day by updates featuring weather radar images depicting powerful storm bands in bright red and yellow blotches bearing down on Daytona Beach.   

After the event was cut short, there were complaints from fans about congestion in the parking lots and in the concourse of the Speedway grandstand, as well as demands for refunds on tickets purchased.

A Facebook comment from Tara Munoz, an attendee from Fergus Falls, Minnesota, reflected the sentiments of many fans.

“We realize the staff doesn’t control the weather, but the lack of planning is very evident,” Munoz wrote. “Only one parking entrance open and only 2 gates open to enter. We stood in line to get in for so long that a second round of storms came before we even got back in.

“I’ve been to over 300 concerts and festivals and never experienced anything as poor as this. Danny Wimmer Presents and Welcome to Rockville should be ashamed!”

Florida-based Afterlife performs on Saturday afternoon at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway.  Later in the day, the event again was besieged by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.
Florida-based Afterlife performs on Saturday afternoon at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway. Later in the day, the event again was besieged by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.

Occasionally, however, there also was a more optimistic reaction.

“Honestly starting to feel sorry for all of the fans, staff, DWP and everyone else involved,” wrote Alex Acevedo, of Hudson, Ohio. “What a roller coaster of a weekend. I’m sure everyone is exhausted. Hoping the weather throws everyone a bone tomorrow and it can at least end on a somewhat positive note.”

Guns N' Roses not the only band shut down by storms

In addition to Guns N’ Roses, other bands also were knocked off the Saturday schedule throughout the day, as the promoter scrambled to re-set the lineup as a series of storms pummeled the Speedway infield. The list included Bush, Rise Against, Dirty Honey, Alexisonfire, Sick of It All and Saul.

Fans crowd the stage on Saturday afternoon at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway. Later in the day, the event was besieged for the second day in a row by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.
Fans crowd the stage on Saturday afternoon at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway. Later in the day, the event was besieged for the second day in a row by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.

A little after 9 p.m., the promoter announced one last updated schedule as an attempt to present four bands — Crown the Empire, In Flames, Shinedown and Guns N’ Roses — in the festival’s remaining hours. However, the storms soon returned to foil that effort.

Unfolding for the second time at Daytona International Speedway, the Welcome to Rockville music festival opened on Thursday with nearly 90 heavy-metal bands scheduled over four days through Sunday in Daytona Beach.

Scheduled headliners wer KISS on Thursday, Korn on Friday, Guns N’ Roses on Saturday and Nine Inch Nails on Sunday. The event is expected to attract 40,000 fans daily, according to the promoter.

So far, KISS is the only headlining band to perform as scheduled.

On Friday, the festival also was forced to shut down early after at least two weather-related delays. That announcement was made a few minutes after 10 p.m., a little more than 30 minutes before Korn was slated to take the stage.

More rain in the Sunday forecast

Looking ahead to Sunday, the weather forecast looks slightly less ominous for the festival’s closing day schedule that concludes with a performance by Nine Inch Nails.

The forecast calls for a 60% chance of rain throughout the day and evening, according to the National Weather Service in Melbourne. Showers and thunderstorms are still likely, however, with the potential for rainfall amounts between 1/10- and ¼-of-an-inch.

Although fans called for refunds, that isn’t in the cards, according to the festival’s website, welcometorockville.com.

Against the Current performs on Saturday afternoon at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway.  Later in the day, the event again was besieged by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.
Against the Current performs on Saturday afternoon at the Welcome to Rockville music festival at Daytona International Speedway. Later in the day, the event again was besieged by a series of severe thunderstorms that forced the show to shut down early before the scheduled headlining set by Guns N' Roses.

Online, festivalgoers are advised that while Welcome to Rockville is “held rain or shine,” the event also “may be delayed and/or canceled and the festival grounds may be evacuated if inclement or severe weather poses a threat to patron and staff safety.”

In such cases, “no refunds or exchanges will be given as a result of weather conditions; and no refunds or exchanges will be given for inclement or severe weather that necessitates an evacuation, delay or cancellation in part or whole of the event.”

For updates on the festival’s Sunday schedule, check the event’s Facebook page or welcometorockville.com.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Welcome to Rockville 2022 storms force cancellation of Guns N' Roses