Review By: Jordan Nathanson

HeartSupport Festival Day 1

Orlando, Florida welcomed the first ever Heart Support Festival. This two-day festival welcomed those who have their 9 – 5 jobs to have a chance to come together, drink, hard core dance and put their “adult” lives on pause for a weekend. The weekend of February 18th and 19th kicked off with beautiful weather and the attendees already in line for their merchandise. The festival consisted of two stages, the Hot Topic Foundation stage and Better Help Stage. At each stage, the attendees would take their place in the sun and start stretching to get ready for the mosh pits.

Saturday kicked off at the Hot Topic Foundation Stage with Bloodlines. They took the stage and that was everyone’s cue to “open the pit”. Before the first note was even played, a pit broke out in the middle of the crowd. While Bloodlines left their hearts and souls on that stage, the speakers did not do their music justice. Since there were a few minor sound issues, it was hard to hear lead singer, Alexis Rodriguez. Despite the sound issues, Bloodline kicked off the festival with a high note. Following their performance, across the field, Currents opened the Better Help Stage. From the heavy bass line, killer guitars and some well-placed “bleghs”, this New England band had crowd surfer after crowd surfer making their way to the front as they screamed the lyrics back to them.

Back across the way, Bleed From Within took the stage and opened the first “wall of death” of the day. Hailing all the way from Scotland, they took the stage and showed us what their made of. He is Legend may not have had a mosh pit like everyone else, but they did everyone in the crowd dancing. Lead singer, Schuylar Croom, lead this dance party with killer moves. Though it sounded like his mic was turned down compared to the guitar and bass, you can see the passion that these guys had for their music and their fans.

 The Word Alive kept the energy alive with their high energy and they even debuted a new song. During their set, they had a huge wall of death that got the entire field to open and when they break down came, everyone rushed at one another and moshed the day away. Come Back Kid took their place on the stage an, before they could get the first note out, everyone started to hardcore dance in anticipation for them to officially start playing. In fact, Come Back Kid had the biggest mosh pit of the day. While their songs varied in tempo, their songs never brought the mood or energy down. They also have a new album called Heavy Steps which is available on Spotify.

The Devil Wears Prada gained everyone’s attention with their theatric automated voice introduction. The voice instructed everyone to open the pit and they listened. The band took he stage and played their set and left their heart and soul up there. The entire crowd was not only moving then entire time but, they were singing everything back. It was the most beautiful sound you could witness. Memphis May Fire took their places and let the audience know that they were here to rock and have a good time doing it. Their stage presents was immaculate and they gave the crowd everything they wanted. To close out the Hot Topic Foundation Stage, Underoath made sure that their set one was to remember. They left the crowd wanting more with their guitar riffs, sick bass lines, killer drum beats and beautiful vocals.

August Burns Red kicked off the evening with a amazing set. Their light set up looked amazing against the setting sun. It was here that front man Jake Luhrs, told the crowd that he started Heart Support Foundation as a place for people who may be struggling with mental health to come and find resources that can help them find their way back or give them what they need. This festival became that for every attendee that made it. It was a safe space for everyone to let loose, have fun, and forget their troubles just for the weekend. Following their performance, Dance Gavin Dance came out swinging with their “dance mental” as one can describe it as and had everyone screaming back the lyrics while dancing. Even the band members had some moves out there. Closing the show on the Better Help Stage was Parkway Drive. Though they started a little late, it was well worth the wait. Those waiting in anticipation were not disappointed when they came out and started playing. The crowd was hyped and they made one rememberable ending. As day one came to a close, attendees were making their way back to their cars, smiling as they held their new band merchandise, torn clothing from the pits, and the hope that tomorrow would be just as exciting as the day they just had. Day one may have had some technical difficulties, but that never stopped the day from being the best day ever.

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