PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY, Va. – The Blue Ridge Rock Festival expects to draw tens of thousands of people to the Danville region this September and Tuesday night Pittsylvania County leaders took feedback on their plans to update rules and regulations through an ordinance for the show and others like it.
It may not look like much nestled here on a mountainside in southern Pittsylvania County, but people from around the world will know the spot come this fall. Blue Ridge Rock Festival organizer Jon Slye said people from all 50 states and even other countries are preparing to travel to the region for the four-day festival.
“The second largest rock publication in all of North America actually said that it was the strongest lineup they’d seen since Woodstock ’99,” Slye said.
Headliners include Rob Zombie, Shinedown, Limp Bizkit and Lil Jon among others. The festival began five years ago in Appomattox and Slye said growth made them search for a place they could not only own instead of lease, but expand the operation. He purchased the Old White Oak Amphitheatre and Campground off Route 29 and the planning began. This year’s show expects to draw 30,000 people a day.
“We really want to work with the community, everything about this has been long-term focused and not short-term focused, and I think that has a trickle-down effect across a lot of areas that people might not think of,” Slye said.
The news spurred the county board of supervisors to review its music festival ordinance created in the 1970′s. Tuesday they hosted a public hearing on the plan to bring it up to date.
“The ordinance is fine but not strict enough, my main concern is security,” Deborah Dix offered.
The festival has been the talk of this small community since it was announced. Some living right around the site are against it particularly because of the narrow roads going in and out.
“Put all the teeth into it you can, I understand it may pass anyway if they check all the boxes, but please help us in that regard,” Joey Bray said.
But many others feel this is a boost to a rural, sleepy farming community and welcome the show. In addition to the rock festival, the site plans to host three other festivals, including country and Christian music. Slay said economic developers in both Danville and Lynchburg expect the four shows to create more than $23 million in economic impact and have a $3.4 million tax impact on the region.
The board approved its updates to the ordinance and will vote on the festival’s permit Tuesday.
“We will do our due diligence to review those to make sure everybody has signed off on them properly and our citizens are protected in every way possible,” board chairman Bob Warren said.