The Inaugural HeartSupport Music Festival kicked off this past weekend at the Orlando Amphitheater with and Awesome weekend bringing bands and fans together to elevate the importance of mental health through music & community! This weekend was not just all about the band, it was also about the fans and how to deal with mental health and getting though those tough times with you dont think you have anyone to help you get through them, may artist have gone through those time and can relate with the problems that some people have and they are there to show that you can get through those times and that there is help for you.
Long-story short… They are people who care. They not counsellors, therapists, or mental health professionals.
We don’t believe that you need a degree to show love to someone.
Jake Luhrs is the lead singer of Grammy-nominated metal band, August Burns Red and founder of HeartSupport. To date, he has toured hundreds of countries internationally and reached the Top 10 BillBoard charts multiple times. After seeing his fans struggling through addiction, depression, and suicide ideation, he prayed one evening for a way to help his fans and people around the world find hope and faith. The answer to that prayer was HeartSupport. In the short years Jake has been running HeartSupport, he has united bands and fans alike to carry a message of hope, healing, and restoration to a scene that is typically viewed as “dark” and “without hope.” His efforts thus far have led the organization to be nominated twice for philanthropic awards up against the likes of Doctors Without Borders and the American Cancer Society. In 2016 he won the Artist Philanthropic Award at the Alternative Press Music Awards in recognition for his work at HeartSupport. In addition to HeartSupport and his band, he also runs a clothing line company called “More Weight” that inspires others to reach and achieve their health goals through community support.
HeartSupport Music Festival started off with the fan lining up at the entrance gate a 12:00 noon sharp, with some diehard fans getting there even earlier to be the first ones in the Orlando Amphitheatre on a nice cool day in February, with a nice cool breeze just enough to cool you off. There was plenty to do around the grounds to do before the first band was to start at 1:30 pm sharp. They had plenty of food and drink vendors, with a variety of food to from burgers to crab, Shimp and anything else you craved. They have a large merch tent that seemed like the large line never went away all day of day one, with merch from all the epic band that were to play that day.
Now, Let’s get to the music and what all the fans were lining up and waiting for.
As the festival geared up for the first band to hit the stage. You start to feel the energy of the crowd and the hard-core fans that lined the form of the barricades in front of the the stage at 1:30 shape for Bloodlines out of South Texas had the honor of getting the party started. The Christian hardcore/metalcore played very high energy twenty-minute set. While most first bands at a festival play to a small crowd as most people are just getting to the festival, or they show up for the bigger bands, this wasn’t the case today as the band had a solid enthusiastic crowd. When their set finished up almost immediately at the Hot Topic Foundation Stage Currents came on. Having toured with the likes of Parkway Drive and Memphis May Fire, this metalcore band is rising in popularity with their latest single “Remember Me” that is climbing the charts as we speak.
Bleeding From Within took to the Hot Topic Foundation stage as the crowd really started to warm up and the energy cranked to the next level. The band really kicked it into high gear as the crowd felt the grove of the and the moshers started going up and flying over the rail. He Is Legend, NC rock band since 03, came up next to The Better Help Stage with an amazing set that of killer hard rock sound that you just couldn’t keep still and had to move and throw your fist in the air. The day progressed with up-and-coming band and well as well-established bands like The World Alive, Comeback Kid and one of the heaviest bands of this epic day The Devil Wears Prada on the HTF Stage. TDWP put on a solid set that really melted some faces in the crowd as they always do, they are not new to the festival scene and always put on one hell of a show.
As the day progressed so heavy hitters in the metal and hard-core scene, the festival was really flowing nicely, you could see and feel the fans having a kick ass time. The smile on the faces of the crowd and the headbanging you can just tell the memories of on great festival was going to stick on their head for many days to come. Memphis May Fire was one of the bands that all the fans were excited to see as you could see by the massive crowd the pulled in. As Matty Mullins knows how to lead the stage and get the crowd going, you can tell he was having a blast and wanted to give his all to the fans. Up next on this cool Florida evening was local favorites Underoath, out of Tampa Florida. These guys really can bring the smack down to the stage and really hit is hard and fast. The band showed everyone at the Hot Topic Stage how it is done and just threw down like it was nothing.
The sun was setting on the grounds, and it was cooling off, but it was about to heat up on stage with the likes of August Burns Red, a huge crowd favorite Emo band Dance Gavin Dance and the one band that everyone was waiting to see, the headliner for this Saturday… Park Way Drive!!
August Burns Red, with the lead singer of the band Jake Luhrs, and one of the Founders of HearSupport , Hit the stage like they were shot out of canon.! They worked though their set like a well oil kick ass machine. They flowed through old song and new songs the kept the crowd wanting more after their hour-long set. The most memorable part of the set was the break in the set for Jake to address the crowd about his struggle though out his life and how it is ok to struggle, and to let them know that they are not alone, and that there is help out there. The band continued their set with passion and energy that flowed out to the crowd as a sea of crowd surfers flowed over the out reaching hands of people supporting them just like you would with someone that having mental struggles. that is what the metal community is all about, we are heavy in music, but soft in heart to help anyone from falling, and watching out for your fellow metal fans. The always entertaining band of the night was Dance Gavin Dance. This was one of the most eclectic bands of the night. They combine genres such as jazz, emo, progressive rock and post hardcore. They also use two singers Jon Mess and Tilian Pearson to handle clean and unclean vocals.
Parkway Drive…What can i say, one of my new favorite bands since i have seen them twice already this year, Once on Shiprocked Cruise a month back and now at this festival. They haven’t tour in the US for a bit, so it seems to me like they wanted to show the fans they have not last anything in the last few years they have not toured in the US. The kicked of their set with hard hitting drums and shredding guitars that would make your ears bleed. Winston McCall vocals were on point and sounded the best i have ever heard out of a band on stage in quite a while. The band sounded fantastic, and the crowd was really going crazy with every song they sang. The bands percision for one song to the next was flawless as the night went through to the end of the festival. It was like it was meant to be, the band and the crowd fusing together like on rocking machine. It with the perfect ending to a perfect Festival. If you missed it, you missed on hell of a day of pure heavy music and great fun for all.
Sunday was day two of the Hearsuppor Music Festival and this day was going to be a little bit hotter than the first. With highs in mid to upper 80’s, this is what florida festival looks like, you never know what you going to get from day to day. But music was going to be just as hot as the day before.
This day was going to bring us some kick ass up and bands that you are going to want to take notice if you didn’t have a chance to come the second day, With the likes of Prison, Silent Plant and Harms way, that start the hot afternoon off with some hot sets that get the stage for the other bands for follow and take notice of. Prison, a seattle based band, came out swinging to set the stage for one hell of a day, the band has massive energy and sound that you just want to throw your first in the air and get crazy. This band is going to be one you are going to want to keep an eye and ear on.Harms Way is also a band that caught my eye to be a favorite of people that took the time to check them out at the Hot Topic Stage.
68‘ are an American post-hardcore/alternative rock/blues rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. The band consists of vocalist/guitarist Josh Scogin (formerly of Norma Jean and The Chariot) and drummer Michael McClellan (formerly of Becoming the Archetype and Young Carolina). The band formed in 2013, following the split of The Chariot. Josh is one character on stage, but he really knows how to work the crowd and give them a great show, along with Michael, they make the perfect duo, its almost like they can read each other’s minds on stage and know what the other is doing at all times. Wish Josh throwing his guitar up high in the air for fun and posing for the photographers on stage, is just a few amazing things you will see out of a 68’ show.
Four Year Strong is an American easycore band from Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, formed in 2001. The group consists of vocalists and guitarists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day, bassist Joe Weiss, and drummer Jackson Massucco. Their music tends to be very fast paced and motivational. Sonically a band heavily influenced by the easy core genre.The band did a great job and kept the energy going and are one of the better sets of the day.
As the evening started to heat up with the temperature and the band like Hawthorn Heights,Senses Fail,Silverstein, and one of the most influential metal bands to date Spirit Box to finish of the set at the Hot Topics Foundation Stage. Hawthorn Heights has been rocking the stage and festival circuit since they Formed in Dayton, Ohio in 2001,and this day was no exception. Senses Fail are a post-hardcore/alternative rock band formed in Ridgewood, New Jersey in 2002, this boy really know how to bring it to the stage and rocks it like its their last performance.
Spirit Box closed out the HTFS, and did it to a packed crowd singing moshing and crowd surfing like crazy. There’s a gleeful sense of the paranormal running through all the band do, but despite their celestial stylings, this is a group of artists who are very much brimming with life and creating something remarkable with their music. The elements that make Spiritbox such a special band – fierce intensity, unwavering emotion and technical splendour are heard though out their songs. The Ghost Inside is formerly known as A Dying Dream, is an American metalcore band from Los Angeles, California, formed in 2004. The band currently consists of vocalist Jonathan Vigil, guitarists Zach Johnson and Chris Davis, and drummer Andrew Tkaczyk.and put on a show for the ages. The came out on fire and never cooled down to get the crowd ready for Rise Against.
Rise Against is an American punk rock band from Chicago, formed in 1999. The group’s current line-up comprises vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tim McIlrath, lead guitarist Zach Blair, bassist Joe Principe and drummer Brandon Barnes. Rooted in hardcore punk and melodic hardcore, Rise Against’s music emphasizes melody, catchy hooks, an aggressive sound and playstyle, and rapid tempos. Lyrically, the band is known for their outspoken social commentary, covering a wide range of topics such as political injustice.The headlined the last day of this festival and did in Rise Against style, Rocking the fans that waited all day in the heat to see this epic band perform to the HeartSupport Music Festival fans, and the blew the crowd away with some killer punk tunes that we all remember from the band in the early years that got the place pumping with uncontrollable energy for the love of the music and forget about everything else going on in their lives and losing themselves in the moment, and that is what music is all about…forgetting about everything in your head to just be tin the moment.
HeartSupport Music Festival inaugural show was a huge success for band and the fans…Thank you for a great festival and we know this is not going to be the last one!!..See you next year!!