Rockstar Disrupt Festival @ PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ

Review & photography by Kristen Zarra

The Rockstar Disrupt Festival made a stop at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on July 6th, 2019. This is the festival’s first year running, and it is taking a whole new approach to creating set times. Instead of having multiple stages and bands playing at the same time, there are only two stages, and only one band plays at a time. By doing this, it allows the fans to experience every band’s set without worrying about having to choose between two. Despite the short rain and lightning storm that day, fans toughed it out and had a great time during the outside sets. There was never a lack of energy from the crowd; they came ready to have a great time and enjoy good music.

The festival stage featured artists Hyro the Hero, Juliet Simms, Trophy Eyes, Memphis May Fire, Four Year Strong, and Sleeping With Sirens. Each of these artists showcased their unique style of music. Memphis May Fire and Sleeping With Sirens’ sets stood out the most, having the crowd mosh, crowd surf and sing along during every song. Memphis May Fire packed people in close to the stage, encouraging fans to let loose and enjoy themselves. Singer Kellin Quinn (Sleeping With Sirens) discussed the struggles of living with anxiety, and it is unrealistic to expect someone always to be having ‘good days.’ By sharing this, it opens the conversation on mental health, how it is important to take care of yourself, and that many people go through that same struggle. Sleeping With Sirens closed out the festival stage, asking for fans to make the biggest circle pit around the sound tent. This was the crowd’s last chance to mosh and crowd surf before heading into the amphitheater, and they went wild.

Once their set was finished, fans made their way into the amphitheater to watch the bands perform on the main stage. Atreyu was up first, filling the stage with high energy to kick off the main stage performances. The Story So Far, Circa Survive and Thrice all played sets that the crowd enjoyed. Anthony Green (Circa Survive) was one of the most energetic vocalists, continually interacting with fans. At one point during his set, he jumped off the stage and walked up to a part of the crowd and surrounded himself with fans singing along. Closing out the festival was the much-anticipated performance by The Used. As soon as the curtain fell, fans cheered and vocalist Bert McCracken came on stage ready to have a great time.

The Used played a few fan favorites including ‘All That I’ve Got,’ ‘The Taste of Ink’ and ended their set with ‘A Box Full of Sharp Objects.’ Overall this new festival has so much to offer, and it will be exciting to see what they will do in the years to come. It’s a great way to spend a summer day enjoying nice weather, great music, and friends. The Rockstar Disrupt Festival has many more stops to make this summer, so make sure you grab a ticket before it’s too late!

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