ALTON, Va. (WFXR) — Thousands flocked to the 2023 Blue Ridge Rock Festival in hopes of seeing some of their favorite rock bands and artists; however, as the final days of the festival approached things took a turn.
Hail and rain hammered the festival on Thursday and storms continued and pelted the area over the weekend. On Saturday, Sept. 9, the four-day music event was canceled reportedly due to severe weather.
But attendees said there was more to it than weather troubles. Bray Vella came all the way from Georgia and purchased a four-day pass. Vella and her fiance booked an Airbnb in Greensboro, spending nearly $3,000 on the trip to see the concert.
Vella told WFXR News that when she arrived on Thursday, she experienced powerful hail and said she was one of the lucky few who took cover in an enclosed tent before being told to evacuate.
“We get down to that line, we waited cold, wet, and hungry in that line for three to four hours to evacuate,” said Vella.
She said aside from the weather, shuttle issues persisted, causing her to miss acts she paid to see. Vella shared that the festival was overall disorganized with long lines for water and trash overpiling on the first day.
“The first warning sign should have been, as we were walking through the main entrance, the huge pile of trash,” said Vella. “The trash cans were already overflowing on the very first day halfway through the day.”
Vella shared she wants to see the organizers held responsible, but she would also like to hear from the performers that they won’t collaborate with the organizer
“All they have to do is acknowledge that they see us you know, that they know what we went through and that it is unacceptable,” said Vella.
The Blue Ridge Rock Festival posted to Facebook that they canceled the remainder of the event out of caution due to ongoing weather.
“We understand the disappointment this brings, and we share immensely in your sadness. Please know that this decision was made with the utmost consideration for everyone involved and our focus now is on supporting those of you still on-site. We are working diligently to provide refund details and will share the information early this week when business re-opens,” said the Blue Ridge Rock Festival in a Facebook post.
WFXR News has reached out to the Blue Ridge Rock Festival for comment regarding claims of disorganization and a lack of emergency planning. We have not heard back.
This is a developing story. WFXR News will continue to update this story as additional details are released.