This is my first in a series of blog posts about my experience at Rock by the Sea 2013…
Rock by the Sea’s 2013 festival in Panama City Beach was a great success. I’m honored and humbled to be on the board of directors of this great organization which organizes music festivals to raise money for some very deserving charities.
This year those charities included the Pediatric Brain Tumor Program at Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando as well as the Anchorage Children’s Home in Panama City. The first Rock by the Sea I attended was in 2009. It’s hard to believe this is now the fifth year in a row I’ve attended. In the early days it was on little St. George Island. Last year, we moved it over to Spinnaker Beach Club in Panama City Beach. The location and the venue have been great. We are literally right on some of the best beaches in the world and we have been blessed with beautiful weather every year I’ve gone.
Our festival schedule included a Thursday night, Friday night, and then all afternoon Saturday until 3am. On Thursday, we started with a “light” lineup including RBTS alums Brian Fechino, Heather Luttrell, Steve Everett, Chardy McEwan, and Jackson Rohm. We also heard from a U2 cover band called U2 by UV. Even though they sang U2 covers for a very lively 2 hours, the first night — and the whole weekend — belonged to Jackson Rohm.
This was a special year for Jackson. He has played every major Rock by the Sea festival since 2007. I (and others) have personally dubbed him “Mr. Rock by the Sea.” He not only performs, he brings fans, friends, and often times we find him pitching in an extra helping hand.
This past year Jackson got married to a very lovely and beautiful woman and has now decided to hang up the full-time music career and get sucked into the corporate world. While he spends most of his time in the Cleveland and Buffalo area, he and the wife are moving out to San Francisco to start a new life together. So he has told us he can’t promise he’ll play Rock by the Sea next year (or any year). But while at the festival, after being prodded by Rock by the Sea founder and board member Beth Gosnell, he said he would certainly try. On Saturday night, after his “last” performance of the weekend, Jackson was presented with a nice recognition gift on stage. I believe I saw tears. If not from Jackson, certainly from Beth.
I have always enjoyed getting to know Jackson over the past five years. He is truly one of the nicest people you will meet and he sings about traveling to far off places that have captured his heart, such as in one of my favorite songs of his, “Rio.” He also sings about “the one who got away” and about all sorts of other trials and tribulations of love and life. In his music, there is passion, there is a story. He’s a singer. He’s a songwriter. He might be heading off into the corporate world, but he’s not done with music at all. And I’m certainly not done with throwing on his tunes. Thank you, Mr. Rock by the Sea.