TAKE A LOOK: Storms cause widespread damage at Blue Ridge Rock Festival

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 12:45 PM EDT
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ALTON, Va. (WDBJ) - From bad to worse. That’s how some are describing their experience at the Blue Ridge Rock Festival. The festival sustained widespread damage after a storm Thursday night.

The storm caused damage to campground roads, and several bands reported their equipment was damaged in the storm.

Gaelan Mackenzie and Morgan Metalios hoped to enjoy their first time together at the Blue Ridge Rock Festival. However, now they say they don’t want to go to a festival again.

Mackenzie says when they arrived, the line at the entrance gate was backed up for 5 miles.

“And just standing still, not even the line moving,” says Mackenzie.

Other attendees told WDBJ7 they waited 12 hours or more.

“At the website, it said campers couldn’t arrive past 9 p.m. So that was a cutoff and we wouldn’t be allowed in the campsite,” added Mackenzie.

Metalios says the lines were a constant problem during the festival.

“That was one of the first red flags when I noticed that the ADA wristband center was a line of ADA people, having to stand in basically an hour-long line just to get a wristband to say that they are ADA.”

Pictures of the damage can be found below:

Extreme heat also posed problems earlier in the week, with organizers saying they were down staff due to heat strokes and even had to give IVs to security search dogs.

Metalios explained how multiple people were passing out while waiting in line, including herself.

“And they had to rush me over to the tent and give me liquid IV and take my blood pressure and all that stuff, and they were like ‘yeah, you had heat exhaustion, you didn’t have enough water, you’re starting to have dehydration.”

In addition to the lack of shade, water, and the wait in the heat--came Thursday night’s storm.

“I don’t think I’ve seen so many canopies flying and tumbling. I was worried I was going to get impaled by a canopy or something because there were so many flying everywhere. And then we both got to a point where we were like, our lives come first, and we left all our stuff and just got into our car and prayed that everything would be okay,” Metalios emphasized

She says the rain poured for hours and felt like it may never stop. The storm caused damage to trees, tents, and chairs.

Around 10 p.m. Thursday, leaders of the festival posted on their Facebook story saying, “This storm was not at all in the forecast today. Partial and full refunds will be issued for compensation for today’s loss of programming.”