This year's Blue Ridge Rock Festival vowed to improve on many of its noteworthy shortcomings from years prior. However, the festival was officially canceled on Saturday (Sept. 9), citing severe weather as the reason two days after a storm exposed a flawed evacuation plan. Fans have documented the disastrous fest on social media via photos, videos and commentary, underscoring a myriad of other problems beyond the impact of inclement weather.

Why Was Blue Ridge Rock Festival Canceled?

After a series of updates, some of which have since been deleted but were captured and re-shared by others online, Blue Ridge Rock Festival officially canceled the remainder of the event on Saturday (Sept. 9). The fest attributed the cancelation to severe weather.

Below are updates from Blue Ridge Rock Fest first announcing the cancelation of Saturday, which was followed by a notice that the entire festival was being called off.

Later, instructions were provided regarding the exit of all remaining attendees.

One person shared a since-deleted post from Blue Ridge Rock Festival, where the fest pushed back on common complaints, arguing that "alot [sic] of lies and rumors" were being spread, alleging the campgrounds (which the fest said earlier this summer were intended to accommodate twice the capacity of last year) were still "open with plenty of space." The fest also relayed that "traffic is barely a thing."

It was also promised that shuttles would be running in a "timely" manner.

Attendees documented conflicting reports of Blue Ridge's claims.

What Types of Problems Did Attendees Encounter?

Below, common complaints from fans touch upon a multitude of issues.

These social media posts have been sorted into the following categories:

  • Garbage
  • Bathrooms, Showers + Water
  • Staff, Security + Other Personnel
  • Camping
  • Attempts to Shelter + Evacuate During Storm
  • Shuttle Buses + Parking

Photos + Videos: Fans Document Disastrous 2023 Blue Ridge Rock Festival

Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Blue Ridge Rock Festival / X: @ViCosplays / @tehcubsfans / @spinzztah / @_heyemuhlee
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  • Garbage

Garbage was seen piled up in heaps around overflowing trash cans, creating potential health and safety hazards, according to some attendees.

  • Bathrooms, Showers + Water

On the water-related front, bathrooms, showers and availability of/access to drinking water were all problematic, according to attendees social media posts.

One post was even marked with a content warning because the porta-potty was that gross.

  • Staff, Security + Other Personnel

Attendees claimed that a sizable portion of staff, such as stage hands and security, all quit due to poor working conditions.

Electic Callboy tour manager and notable YouTuber/Twitch streamer Tank the Tech (Ian Roberts) briefly described how his day went, from multiple hours to load in and out, no water, barely any food and a clueless production crew.

He also said he told the festival promoter (presumably Jonathan Slye) that this year's event was "the most unprofessional, unorganized, unsafe pile of shit festival I've ever seen in my life."

Lightning tech Maya Jones relayed her experience as well, stating they only "got to run one successful day of show."

"This is what happens when the stagehands, aka, the backbone of all musical festivals, shows, concerts, corporate gigs, etc. are treated like the lowest of the totem pole when they are one of the most necessary components of a successful event."

Jones also expressed support for the stagehands on-site who elected to strike.

  • Camping

As a result of a storm the brought fierce winds, driving rain and even hail, the campsite was left in a state of ruin for many.

Photos and videos of battered tents and flooded grounds emerged.

 

  • Attempts to Shelter + Evacuate During Storm

As the storm arrived at the festival grounds on Sept. 7, Blue Ridge Rock Festival urged attendees to seek shelter in their vehicles at the camp site or in shuttle buses. However, the shuttle buses (school buses which were in short supply) were also intended to be use to transport attendees to their camp sites where their vehicles are parked.

Dangerously, countless fans sought shelter in other places, such as under the main stage, in merch tents and, yes, in porta-potties.

  • Shuttle Buses + Parking

One constant complaints at each of the three years of Blue Ridge Rock Festival has been the lack of shuttles, leaving fans waiting in lines for several hours.

Getting into the camp site was also a common complaint with many saying the wait in entry lines exceeded 10 hours.

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