Amps will be turned up to 11 at this year’s Rockfest in Danielsville.
The daylong concert, billed as “Rockfest 2.0,” returns May 29 from noon to 10 p.m. with 10 bands blasting a heavier dose of rock music than last year’s more diversified lineup.
“Last year, we had a lot of mainstream rock, we had rap artists, we had country artists,” concert organizer James Murray said. “This year, it is 100 percent genres of rock. So it’s going to be everything from metal core to alternative to Christian. So it is a diversification of the rock genre rather than diversity of music in general.”
Admission is free for all ages.
The event moves indoors to the Madison County High School Freshman Academy gym (the old middle school gym) after debuting last year at Danielsville Memorial Park.
The Madison County Board of Commissioners adopted a noise ordinance in 2009 that prohibits outdoor music past 8 p.m., due in no small part the concert’s existence.
“After I found out that the noise ordinance was passed because of us last year, I had to find another venue,” Murray explained.
Murray, 28, who works in construction, but describes himself as a full-time musician and father, started this concert to allow music fans too young for club admittance the chance to see a live show.
He recounts a night in Athens a few years ago when his brother was turned away at the Georgia Theatre door.
“My brother went to a show with me at the Theatre before it burned and got turned down because he wasn’t old enough,” Murray said. “That was initially what started me wanting to do something like that.”
And Murray noted the success of last year’s event.
The first Rockfest drew 400 concert-goers at one point, and the age of music fans ranged from 18 months to 86 years.
That said, Murray wasn’t planning on staging Rockfest in 2010 due to the massive undertaking it took to get the event off the ground.
“I wasn’t even going to do it this year because I almost gave myself an aneurism last year,” he said. “That is like no exaggeration. Because I tried to throw that thing together in two months.”
But some community members approached Murray six months ago to bring the event back. And with more time and help — there’s actually a Rockfest committee this year — planning has gone much smoother.
“There’s not as much stress on me this year,” Murray said. “I’m a lot happier. Things are going a lot smoother. I had the bands in less than a day.”
This year’s event features four Madison County bands — long-time local rockers Diamondback, Entropic Constant, The Mercury Veil and Blind by Sight, which headlines the show.
Murray, a member of Blind By Sight, notes that Diamondback playing on the bill should resound well with local music fans.
“When people see Diamondback playing Madison County again, it’s probably the first time they’ve played (here) in at least 10 years that I’m aware of,” Murray said. “So I think that’s going to bring people out of the woodwork.”
Other acts are Morbid Innocence (Elbert County), Clockwork Holocaust (Elbert County), The End of Alice (Elbert County), Lost Heritage (Winder), Romanenko (Athens) and Sounds of Silence (Athens), which Murray said is a “huge, huge,” band. He also notes that Lost Heritage may land a spot on this year’s Warped Tour.
Organizers of the free show are accepting donations “to help pull it off,” Murray said. Some sponsors aren’t back this year and Murray said his own money only goes so far.
One pre-Rockfest concert-fundraiser is planned for late April at the American Legion building. Admission is $1.
“That will probably be the last time that it if anybody wants to make any anonymous donations or anything like that, that would be the opportunity for them to do so,” Murray said.
Donations can also be arranged by emailing the Rockfest 2.0 committee at email@example.com.
Murray said he’s advertising the event to a larger area this year in hopes of drawing a larger crowd.
In 2009, he promoted it only in Madison County and part of Clarke County. This year, he’s advertising it to a five-county area.
“I hope it turns out a lot bigger, a lot better,” Murray said. “(If) there’s a better response on it this year and maybe it will be a continuing thing.”