Massive music festivals are commonplace now, but they were far and few between fifty years ago. They are hard to produce well, but can be great moments in time for fans and musical artists. For every Lollapalooza, Wacken, and Ozzfest, we have Altamont, Woodstock 1999, and Fyre Fest as well. No festival sets out to fail or do harm and hurt the trust of fans, but sometimes that happens. Blue Ridge Rock Fest, as it turns out, became a perfect storm of too many fans, too small a town, to support those fans. Purpose Driven events had put on severa
If you got in to see the show, you likely had a good time. Dozens of bands on four big stages and two other smaller stages with countless bands and not too many bad overlaps. Some festival goers said they had an amazing time! This was one of the best looking, deepest festival bills in recent memory anywhere in the world; and there is no denying the star power of the bands who performed. Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie, Shinedown, Breaking Benjamin, Halestorm, A Day To Remember, Anthrax, Chevelle, Rise Against, Megadeth, Lamb of God, Avatar, PApa Roach, Spiritbox and others put on memorable shows. Even with the bands who dropped off, there was something for everyone, most genres, but especially fans of Ozzy’s Boneyard, Hard Attack, or Liquid Meta, this festival was built for you./l. Talent alone should have been enough to carry this entire thing to a triumph.
Logistically, any fest can go awry with just a few wrong moves. Maybe the town of Danville and Purpose Driven events didn’t fully account for few roads in or out and 160,000 tickets without having the planning, facilities, and management to pull off a festival at four times the scale of past years. It was ambitious, and they likely meant well or it looked good on paper. By all accounts, things got progressively better over the course of the weekend which is to be commend, especially water, transportation (shuttles), but still a lot of people were burned and state police even sent people home, citing safety reasons, and didn’t allow them a chance to see the fest.
Areas that were just patently bad were the Golden Circle VIP area, camping, hotels being oversold/soldout, ADA and security. These were all a failure and can’t be overlooked These are all areas that can be improved next year or fixed by going to a bigger venue or town. Hopefully if they keep the franchise, Purpose Driven Events, gets these things right in the future or someone else takes it over.