History is built into the very foundation of St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Built in 1965 to commemorate the city's quadricentennial, the stage immediately began featuring Cross and Sword, a historical drama about the founding of St. Augustine. It was a tradition that continued unbroken for 32 years. In 2002, St. Johns County funded a refurbishing of the amphitheater. Five years later—after upgrading the capacity, constructing a hikeable arboretum, and clearing out lingering conquistadors—the new facility is capable of comfortably hosting up to 4,100 concertgoers.
They tell a tale to quake your bones at Warehouse 31—on October 13, 1875, a woodcutter by the name of Billy Turner killed his nine-year-old daughter in a horrific accident. Unable to cope with his grief, Turner killed himself. But the pain was too great for death to assuage. Soon Pelham was under siege from a series of mysterious events. A young girl found roaming unattended along a railway. The sound of a chainsaw echoing from the forest. Glass doors sliding open as soon as somebody stepped in front of them. Today, Warehouse 31 stands on the site of that ill-fated lumberyard, and guests can experience some scares of their own, thanks to a cast of monsters, high-tech animatronics, and gravely unhinged clowns.
Formed in the glory days of heavy metal, Queensrÿche rocks audiences with songs that reveal the fierce polish of 30 years of evolving artistry. The band's distinctive mix of prog rock, metal, and subliminal messaging rocketed its Empire album up the charts, launching hits such as "Silent Lucidity," "Jet City Woman," and "Best I Can." Normally reserved only for members of Queensrÿche's fan club, a backstage meet-and-greet lets a small group of the devoted make personal connections with the four lords of loudness, shaking their lightning-fast hands and comparing headbanging techniques. Opening band Driven thrashes through a set of classic hard-rock covers and original cuts as raging as a riverbed full of angry bulls.
The seasoned performers of Piccadilly Circus dazzle audiences of all ages with 90 minutes of acrobatics, comedic high jinks, and trained animals beneath the big top. Audiences gasp at high-flying trapeze artists swooping through the air with the confidence of a kite in a wind tunnel, as well as contortionists able to bend themselves into human bonsai trees. Death-defying motorcyclists roar into a caged globe to perform a 360-degree display of vehicular mastery. Gaggles of clowns coax out chuckles, and a trained elephant parades around the ring, occasionally stopping to memorize an audience member's phone number. General-admission seating surrounds the ring, allowing ample viewpoints from which to observe the boisterous spectacle.
The Jacksonville RollerGirls’ derby divas, members of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, deliver fast-paced, four-wheeled fun to crash-craving audiences. The group of more than 70 wheeled warriors is split into four teams, composed of hip-checking hustlers such as Crash Register and Kat Von Skratchereyezout, who whip around corners toppling opponents like human bowling pins in search of points and respect in the streets. This year’s home-opening bout features two of the Jacksonville RollerGirls’ teams—the River City Rat Pack and New Jax City Rollers—skating against Knoxville’s Hard Knox Roller Girls to determine which team gets to join the NFL.
Tired of the vulgar material found at most venues, the owners of the Comedy Club of Jacksonville open their stage to comedians without mile-long blue streaks. The club rates each standup on a G–R scale, with most comics falling under PG-13 language or soft-R content. This thoughtfulness even extends to the kitchen, where the proprietors try to avoid fried foods in favor of a char-broiler that fires up tasty kabobs and provides ashes for applying funny fake mustaches.
Kaluby's Dance Club takes the same simple approach to teaching that the club used when it opened in 1983. Before playing a note, the instructors take the time to break down popular dances into their most basic patterns. This way, when the music starts, dancers of all skill levels are able to master the steps quickly so that they can focus on having fun so instead of whose toes they're stepping on. The studio shares their secrets in group and private lessons, both taught in a ballroom where members are also welcome to practice during any open studio hours. In children's classes, kids practice basic dance moves while also making new friends, exercising, and learning how to behave at charity galas. During club dance parties, members get the chance to show off their new dance skills in special themed events or dressy-casual gatherings.