Hard rock and metal festival Fort Rock, located in southwest Florida, a mere 15 minutes from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and teachers were killed on February 14, will be a beacon of support for students who want to end gun violence.
To help support the cause, students received 50 percent off weekend admission to the festival through signing Julia Kemple’s petition “Students Fighting Guns Since Adults Won’t.”
The lineup spread over the weekend of April 28 and 29, consists of headliners: Ozzy Osbourne, Godsmack, Five Finger Death Punch, Breaking Benjamin, Stone Sour, Shinedown and Stone Temple Pilots.
Though the lineup is not composed of every artist with a similar position on gun violence, Corey Taylor of Stone Sour advocates for the cause.
“I’m absolutely behind this movement. Not only the name itself, but the reason and the cause. As a father, my one concern is my children,” Taylor said. “The fact that no one is doing anything worthwhile to change the horrendous laws and circumstances around these shootings is unacceptable. So if the adults can’t extricate themselves from the politics that are keeping them from ACTUALLY making a difference, I support the generation who will.”
Festival producer and Florida native Danny Hayes of Danny Wimmer Presents has a similar fatherly perspective. When his assistant Lara first introduced Hayes to the petition, he was blown away at how the students organized such a strong response.
Hayes emphasized how the school system has developed these students into strong young adults fighting for their safety, and therefore the school system that helped raise these students should be a safe space free of gun violence.
Though the festival has shown support for the petition to end gun violence, Hayes envisions the festival not as a political rally, but a catalyst to continue the discussion on ending gun violence.
“My message is, ‘We have to keep this conversation going.’ I don’t know the answer. I’m not dogmatic enough to say that I do. But what I do know is the conversation must continue, and that to me is what those kids were saying. It’s [this] can’t be Columbine [High School], you can’t just let this end, pretend it didn’t happen, forget about it,” Hayes said.
Broadcasting to festival attendees how important social and political topics can be expressed through music, specifically bands like Stone Sour, making music a great medium to express opinions of topics prevalent in society.
Tickets for the festival, though unfortunately the 50% discount has expired, are available on the Fort Rock Festival website.