In the hills of Danville, Virginia, the independently run Fan Driven Experience “Blue Ridge Rock Fest” returned for a massive four-day festival filled with national and local rock and metal groups. On paper, this is a dream come true after the pandemic to have an enormous six-stage event with on-site camping.
While the best of intentions were meant from the staff running the festival, the scope offered was near impossible to be met with massive camping and parking issues, lacking security, food and water waiting lines, technical difficulties, and many other grievances being filed.
Beyond all the chaos, however, something amazing happened: Bands returned live to their first festival since the pandemic. Some bands even had their first performance in almost two years at Blue Ridge. As wild as this sounds, the vast majority of bands that performed absolutely delivered to the sell-out crowd every day.
Headlined by Breaking Benjamin, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, and Shinedown, the music was the main positive on the pro/con list for Blue Ridge’s biggest event ever. I dare say that if not for the excellent performances across the board on all four days, a true riot would have resulted after the extreme circumstances all festival attendees were under.
While conditions and logistics were rough and there were many attendees who did not return after their first day, Blue Ridge Rock Festival continued on and for thousands, it was exactly what was needed. The music delivered for the fans, and the fan-driven experience pushed forward.
As of now, the independently run program will be aiming for a 2022 event at the same venue in Virginia. Time will tell if we will see another huge lineup and if the festival promoters are able to learn from the mistakes made, while also keeping previous ticket buyers interested in returning. Regardless, the bands and artists proved they could finally return to a massive live audience.