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Blue Ridge Rock Festival organizer addresses claims of unpaid bills to Pittsylvania County

In this 10 News exclusive, Jonathan Slye says his company is owed money from the county too

Pittsylvania County claims Jonathan Slye, the CEO of Purpose Driven Events, owes $337,592.29 in unpaid bills after the controversial Blue Ridge Rock Festival.
Pittsylvania County claims Jonathan Slye, the CEO of Purpose Driven Events, owes $337,592.29 in unpaid bills after the controversial Blue Ridge Rock Festival.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Pittsylvania County claims Jonathan Slye, the CEO of Purpose Driven Events, owes $337,592.29 in unpaid bills after the controversial Blue Ridge Rock Festival.

Heavy traffic, lack of transportation, and a shortage of camping spaces were just some of the problems concertgoers faced Sept. 9-12.

On Tuesday and only on 10 News, you heard from Slye in his first television interview since before the festival.

In part two of the exclusive sit-down, he claims his company is owed money, too.

“Pittsylvania County’s in possession, as of now, of a $500,000 cash bond that’s literally wire-transferred into their account,” said Slye.

He provided 10 News with a receipt from Pittsylvania County, saying they deducted the owed meals tax from that cash bond on Oct. 7, and the bond’s remaining balance of $349,446.49 could potentially be used to pay the unpaid invoices.

[Blue Ridge Rock Fest wraps after issues with transportation, camping and other promises, say attendees]

“So not only do we not have anything that’s technically due to Pittsylvania County, [but] they’re also holding this additional contingency,” said Slye.

He also gave 10 News an email showing that the county sent invoices on Sept. 28.

Syle claims that was the first time he received invoices for the rock and previous worship festivals.

“I never received a bill of any sort,” said Slye.

We reached out to the county’s spokesperson regarding these claims, but they declined to answer.

In a statement Sept. 12, the county said those invoices were for organizations providing additional resources, including shuttle buses and security, to help the festival.

Slye says the county stepped in to help after dealing with third-party vendors who experienced labor and equipment shortages.

An email obtained by 10 News shows a third-party security company sent an email to Slye on Aug. 27 saying, “We will have to politely bow out” due to staffing.

“People think that we made huge amounts of money on the festival. We didn’t because when we’re going and finding new companies, everything was four-to-six-time the cost,” said Slye.

Despite the issues, Slye is taking the blame.

“I don’t want people to feel that I’m deflecting responsibility. I take complete responsibility as CEO [of Purpose Driver Events],” said Slye.

You can watch the full interview, which 10 News conducted on Oct. 5, below:


About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.