Festival fallout: Blue Ridge Rock Fest stagehands come forward

Stagehands tell 10 News they walked out of the festival

ALTON, Va. – ”Of all of the hard work that we do, it was like we were devalued,” Blue Ridge Rock Fest stagehand Justin Sirry said.

Stagehand Devon Taylor sent 10 News his first-hand videos of the staff’s living conditions at the festival. He recounts moldy showers that he said didn’t turn on most of the time.

“Immediately just greeted with the smell of mold. It was dilapidated and run down,” Taylor said.

A mess from the start. That’s how Sirry described his time working at Blue Ridge Rock Fest.

As we’ve previously reported, the festival cites the reason for cancellation as being the weather, but Taylor tells a different story, saying he and other stagehands walked out of the event after Friday night.

“The combination of us, the security, just the complete degradation of the event itself, they were realizing that they had a hot mess on their hands and it was not going to be able to continue,” Taylor said.

Taylor described the treatment as nothing he’s ever experienced on a job - building stages without water, and no emergency plan in place for weather.

“It took them til almost noon, the festival, to even get a water source out to us, and we’re out there in an unseasonably hot week of September,” Taylor said.

Sirry and Taylor are meeting with the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees to see about possibly pursuing legal action.

“More accountability in this industry. It’s not just Blue Ridge Rock Fest. I mean this was the cherry on the cake, but there’s no accountability for when these things happen,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he just wants the festival organizers to be held accountable.

“At the end of the day, we do this for the fans. This is what we love this is what we breathe. We eat and breathe this stuff,” he said.

We’ve reached out to Blue Ridge Rock Fest regarding these claims, and the status of refunds, but they have yet to return our messages.

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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