Tour Manager Shares Video Describing Experience at ‘Unsafe’ Blue Ridge Rock Festival
Ever since Blue Ridge Rock Festival was canceled this past weekend, it's been one of the most buzz-worthy topics in rock and metal. There have been a lot of stories shared on social media about the event, and now, a tour manager working for the band Electric Callboy has posted a video on his YouTube channel describing his experience.
The festival, which had a massive lineup of some of the biggest names in rock and metal, was held in Alton, Virginia. The first day of the event was Thursday, Sept. 7, but a sudden evacuation was called for later in the day due to a severe storm that entered the area. While the next day went on without any weather cancelations, the organizers made the decision to call off the final two days (Sept. 10 and 11) on Saturday due to the weather forecast. They issued a statement noting that refund details would be made available soon.
Electric Callboy were one of the performers on Friday, Sept. 8, so they were able to carry out their set as planned. However, it apparently wasn't without its setbacks. Ian Roberts, who's the current tour manager for Electric Callboy but goes by Tank the Tech on YouTube, uploaded a 37-minute video on his channel yesterday about the event. He prefaced the video by stating that his opinions do not reflect that of Electric Callboy or any other band or individual who was at the festival.
Firstly, Roberts recalled that he struggled to find a direct person to communicate with regarding the band's transportation to the venue dressing rooms from where they were parked. Once they arrived to their dressing room, the air conditioning wasn't working, and Tank was told that someone was working on the situation — which is an answer he was given to several other issues they faced during their time there.
"Catering for lunch was pretty much non-existent at all. I was told that because of the storm the night before that catering was all unorganized, and they didn't really know what was going on. There was barely any water backstage, there was no hospitality in the dressing rooms. And I know that sounds like a diva thing, but these are the things that are advanced," Roberts explained.
Electric Callboy was contracted a signing session by the festival, which was originally scheduled to take place that day at 5:30PM. Roberts had requested to push the signing to an earlier time so it wouldn't be so close to the band's set time, which the organizers granted. However, when they were escorted to the signing area, they realized that the festival never alerted fans that the time of their signing had changed. So the people lined up for Electric Callboy's signing were actually expecting autographs from a different band.
Roberts noted that after a couple of other mishaps, "What I started realizing in that moment was that every single fucking thing that I advanced with that festival never got relayed to anybody. So I realized that the staff at the festival was basically flying blind. The stage manger had no advances on anything. The stage hands that were there, which was not many of them... nobody knew what was going on."
He added that he felt bad for all of the fans who were in attendance. He said there were large piles of trash all over the grounds, he heard that the porta potties were overflowing and that there wasn't enough water for everyone.
Despite everything, though, Roberts said that Electric Callboy's performance was great and that the audience responded really well. Fortunately, the air conditioning in their dressing room was working after their set, and there was catering for dinner.
"People need to be held accountable in this business. I am so fucking tired of things happening where nobody has any accountability... The fans were treated horribly. The crews were treated horribly. The staff, the bands — nobody should have to experience this, ever. If nothing else from this video, I just want people to be aware," he concluded.
See Roberts' full video below to hear his full experience.
Blue Ridge Rock Festival shared another post online yesterday, writing that "There is an overabundance of misinformation circulating" that they eventually plan to address.
"This past weekend's weather cancelation was a collective one, made by the event's emergency management team composed of state and county officials, as well as representatives from the venue," they continued.
Read the whole statement underneath the video.