HALIFAX COUNTY, Va (WFXR) — Thousands of people are still searching for answers after the four-day Blue Ridge Rock festival, held at the Virginia International Raceway, was cut short last Saturday due to severe weather. However, with the weather improved for most of Saturday and Sunday, many concert-goers are fed up with the decision.
WFXR spoke with the President and COO of the Virginia International Raceway, Kerrigan Smith, about what led up to the cancellation.
“If Thursday’s storm had not have happened, I don’t feel like there would have been an issue with the rainfall that we had, there was so much damage done so quickly,” said Smith.
Smith says the concern was less about the concerts themselves but more about overnight campers on the property.
He says tents were being destroyed, owning were flying off RV’s and mud was building up ankle-deep from Thursday’s storm.
“When we really started looking at those really remote areas, it became very clear that we were not going to be able to get porta-john cleaning to them, we were not going to be able to get trash pickup, we were not going to be able to get EMS or an ambulance out there if we needed to,” said Smith.
Smith says even after Thursday… the conditions of the venue were left unsuitable due to damage from the storm.
Sanitation was a major concern for several concertgoers– with piles of debris flooding the campsites. In a statement from the Virginia Department of Health, it states that “VDH found numerous violations at the Blue Ridge Rock Festival. most of the violations were around sanitary conditions.”
However, Smith says the venue itself has not received any citations in regard to sanitation at this point– and says the Blue Ridge Rock Festival is handling the cleanup of the event.
When asked if VIR will continue to hold the festival in years to come, Smith says there are no guarantees one way or another.
“I can say right now, nobody is sitting here saying absolutely not, no, but sure we’re gonna look at things. can the problems that we stemmed, that we faced, can they be fixed?” he said.
Smith says the decision to cancel the festival was made in collaboration with multiple state and local agencies and event personnel including VIR, and Blue Ridge Rock Festival.