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Blue Ridge Rock Festival Moves Some Mountains

After the announcement of the line up for the fledgling festival, it was hard to not be both excited and curious as to how this was going to happen. After all, with so many begging for live music to return, and the sheer size and depth of the line up it was a guaranteed sell out. This presented it’s own set of difficulties. Sell outs and sponsorships provide money, the foundation of any festival. Nothing is happening without it, but then the monumental task of honoring commitments to bands and fans becomes the focus.

For some, the experience was terrific. For others disappointing. First day complaints seemed to go on and on with critical social media posts on every platform. Several posts circulated calling the festival Fyre2.0, which after the conclusion, was a largely unfair comparison. Ultimately, it seemed that only a small portion in attendance had issues. Among them, according to some posts, camp sites were oversold, the waste company ran behind, and parking for ADA and shuttles were in short supply early on. However, after the first day, organizers stepped it up and this seemed to level off as did public complaints.

Bands on the other hand, appeared to be having a great time. The large crowd of show starved fans created an unbelievable energy. The internet was flooded with many positive posts from various artists. While some social media posters began claiming that numerous bands were cancelling, only two were no shows, neither attributable to the festival. Bush cancelled all of their fall shows “due to circumstances beyond our control” and Nonpoint lost their trailer in an accident. Fortunately no one was injured.

The take aways from this entire undertaking was, while there are certain issues that arose, there should be an honest amount of assessment given to whether it was unitentional oversight, or growing pains exacerbated by the current pandemic driven environment. As festivals go, I have experienced much worse. I think this festival might just need the opportunity to improve from this year, and given a decent shot for year two.

It was good to see everyone just out of their home bunkers and supporting live music. Maybe the one positive we can draw from the last eighteen months is an honest appreciation for artists, crew and fan’s symbiotic relationship.

Sure it was a bit of a bumpy ride, but I look forward to seeing how they build on next year.

Belinda Reedy

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