Continued fallout from the Blue Ridge Rock Festival.
Many festival-goers are still searching for answers. “Who was in charge of canceling the event?” “Why did they blame the weather if there were clear skies?”
In an exclusive interview, 10 News reporter Sydney Jaxtheimer sat down with the venue’s president, working for you to get answers.
VIR officials said they helped in making the decision to cancel the rest of the festival and they told 10 News they don’t regret it – a decision not taken lightly…
“There were quite a few people who I would call the emergency management group to go ahead and make that decision,” President & COO of Virginia International Raceway, Kerrigam Smith said. “There was a lot of support in that room and a lot of people who came out and said - we made the right call.”
Blue Ridge Rock Festival took to social media saying the cancelation was due to weather, despite the clear skies on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
Smith said it was the aftermath of Thursday and Friday’s storms that caused the cancelation.
“These people are in remote areas. We are not going to be able to get ambulances, trash trucks, any services to them,” Smith said.
Once the decision was made, staff with VIR, Blue Ridge Rock Fest, and others made every effort to safely evacuate people.
“It was all about how we can help; how can we get people going,” Smith said.
Now the problem – rumors about different reasons behind the cancellation, and death threats being made against Smith and others who work at VIR.
“I understand they are angry. I understand they are mad. It’s not going to help the situation when people say you know what it’s not worth putting on these festivals like this because of how people act and what they are doing to those who work very hard to put these on for them,” Smith said.
As far as the future of the festival at VIR, Smith said the problems they ran into this year are fixable, but he fears the backlash may not be worth it.
On Blue Ridge Rock Fest’s most recent statement on social media, they said state and county officials were a part of the emergency management team that made the decision to cancel the remainder of the festival.
Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, Virginia’s Department of Emergency Management, and Virginia Department of Health said they were not a part of the decision-making.
10 News has continued to reach out to Blue Ridge Rock Fest organizer Jonathan Slye.