This week's Gear Factor, as always, involves a very cool electric guitar, some very cool rock stars, and of course, our own Gear Factor host, Squiggy. But it's a bit different from our usual episodes. It involves a badass young metal fan who plays drums (and maybe now, guitar), his mom (also a metal fan) and an unforgettable weekend at Welcome to Rockville.

In the video above, you'll see the aforementioned young fan's reaction when he finds out that he's going to the Florida festival. The ticket was for the festival's first night (April 27), headlined by Ozzy Osbourne, Godsmack, and Five Finger Death Punch. It was a Christmas gift from his mom, Jessie Platt, who gave us some of the background story. She's a single mom, and the family has had a rough few years. Of Charlie, her oldest son (and her daughter Scarlett), she says, "They have been the kindest, most helpful and supportive children a mother could ever ask for... they have stepped up and have been the best big brother and sister to their younger brothers. They help cook, clean, give baths, say goodnight, play."

She notes that Charlie has inherited his musical tastes from her: "Music has always been very important to us. I grew up listening to Slayer, Pantera, Ozzy and Black Sabbath and Tool, and as he grew, he gravitated to what I was listening to. When he was 8 or 9 years old, he insisted on having a Black Sabbath-themed birthday party. It was fucking awesome! It was a 'Proud Mom Moment.' And then he started showing interest in drums. He's been playing for a couple of years now and kicks ass! His favorite drummer is Neil Peart and I'd have to agree that he's someone to look up to."

She continues, "We don't get a whole lot of one-on-one time and I thought it would be a blast and good bonding time after everything we had gone through. After looking at the [Welcome to Rockville] lineup, I decided I'd purchase each of us a single day ticket for Friday since I knew Charlie would absolutely flip if he got to see Ozzy Osbourne with Zakk Wylde. Christmas Day comes, I give him his only gift. It's an envelope with our single day tickets printed as well as the line up for that day. I recorded his reaction, which didn't disappoint. He was almost in tears, which drove me to tears; he was completely surprised. I shared the video of his reaction on Facebook, just wanting to share that joyous moment with friends and family. I watched it so many times and cried every time!"

A friend sent the video to Mike Ciero of The Music Experience. "Mike got in touch with me about a week or two later and asked if we would be able to attend all three days and that the tickets would be taken care of. I was literally sobbing happy tears when I received his messages. It had been so long since anything good and fun and positive had happened in our lives. I told Charlie... and we may have done a cheesy happy dance together. Then, a few weeks later, I get a message from Mike saying that we are getting in all weekend as VIPs, but to keep it a secret from Charlie! I somehow kept it to myself."

"We arrived at Welcome to Rockville 2018 on Friday. We were met by Mike and Lindsey Medina (of Danny Wimmer Presents, the company that produces Welcome to Rockville and many other major rock festivals) and they brought us to The Music Experience tent. We were told to hang out in the back part of the tent, and suddenly Parkway Drive approaches Charlie! The look on his face was unforgettable. The guys from the band were super cool and down to earth and gave Charlie an autographed photo. We were then led out back, and Charlie was given an all-weekend VIP wristband! I remember thinking I had had never seen my son smile harder than he did in that moment. But neither of us knew what was still to come!"

Soon, they were scooped up on a golf cart and driven to a restricted area. "We were led up some steps, rounded a corner and there stood Zakk Wylde! I looked over at my son, his eyes shot open wide and his jaw dropped. I've seen my son happy and surprised many times but never like this. In fact, he uttered his first f-bomb in front of me. We were both looking straight ahead at Zakk and I heard him say 'Holy fuck!' We both started cracking up. I couldn't be mad! 'Holy fuck' pretty much summed up this amazing moment. We met Mr. Wylde. We each got a hug and he then grabs a guitar case, opens it up and proceeds to personally sign the Wylde Audio Guitar to Charlie!"

(Courtesy of the Music Experience)
(Chris Condon)

That was the guitar that Wylde would play that night during Ozzy's set... but after the set, he'd hand it over to Charlie for good. "I couldn't help but tear up, seeing the joy emanating from my son. We left the area with guitar in hand, where we were led to the backstage area where Ozzy and Zakk would be playing." Charlie had a brief cameo as a guitar tech, placing Wylde's guitar on the stand for Wylde to grab, shortly after.

"I was told, privately, to stay near the side entrance of the stage. We kept waiting to see Zakk play Charlie's guitar and when he did, he played 'War Pigs' and shredded. Charlie kept saying, 'That's my guitar! Zakk Wylde is playing 'War Pigs' on my guitar!'"

After the show, they were handed passes for Ozzy's V.I.P. meet and greet. "I thought the boy was going to pass out. I think, weeks later, he might still be in shock. We walked backstage together to meet one of Charlie's idols. On the way over he whispered things like 'Is this really happening?' and 'Oh my God oh my God oh my God.' We both had smiles plastered on our faces. We ended up in the same area where we met Zakk and waited a few minutes. The doors open and suddenly Ozzy freakin' Osbourne is standing a couple of yards away from us. When it was our turn, Charlie walked ahead of me, smiling ear to ear, and shook the legend's hand. Ozzy tells him it's nice to meet him. I shake his hand and he tells me I'm lovely. We got a picture with him and we walked out. It was very brief but it all seemed to happen in slow motion and we both remember every glorious second of it."

"It's difficult to sum up just how grateful we both are to everyone who was involved in making this happen. Did I mention that this was Charlie's very first concert?"

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