BLAIRS, Va. — The Blue Ridge Rock Festival (BRRF) was held for the first time in Blairs last weekend. Despite some stating they wouldn’t return due to hiccups, many are praising the event as a success.
However, Purpose Driven Events CEO Jonathan Slye said in a statement that he is taking responsibility for the hiccups and is contemplating stepping away, stating, “I am unsure if I am fit to continue leading this.”
Slye neglected to comment for this story after numerous attempts to seek comment.
Taylor Pruitt of Wendell, North Carolina, said it would be a huge mistake if Slye steps down.
“I think that will be a huge mistake. He’s had so much pressure on him, and at such a young age. He honestly did the best anyone could possibly do when setting up and making this festival happen,” she said.
Pruitt explained she went to Epicenter in Rockingham in 2019, and the BRRF was by far more organized and put together.
“People have to realize that if you choose to come to a three or four day festival and camp out, you should know to get there a day earlier so you can avoid the traffic and any other mishaps,” she added.
Kevin Winkler of Fredericksburg, who went to Epicenter, confirmed what Pruitt said.
“There were severe infrastructure issues getting in and out if you did not arrive to camp the day prior,” he said. “At one point, people were waiting to park for four to five hours.”
Winkler added someone at Epicenter had to cut a hole in the fence to allow people to leave a different way, and half of a Saturday was canceled due to a tornado warning and damage to the festival site.
Pruitt said she thinks Slye is being too hard on himself being it was the first time this event was being held and put together. She says if Slye sticks it out another year, next year will be absolutely amazing.
Winkler echoed Pruitt’s statement.
“To put on a festival of that size in that location for the first time, it was destined to have pitfalls,” Winkler said. “You can’t expect an event of this magnitude to go off 100 percent perfect. It just can’t happen.”
Samantha Jennings of Galax gave her praise for Slye.
“Mr. Slye is truly an asset to the music industry, and I sincerely hope he chooses to persevere and push ahead," Jennings said. "We all live and learn. I truly belive his heart is in the right place and have no doubt if he continues, next year will be much better."
She added, “If Mr. Slye steps down, I fully expect a significant increase in ticket prices.”
Pruitt gave some thoughts on what could be improved and one thing that was mentioned was communication.
“I think that if the staff that was pulled from out of state had more communication and better structure such as checking camping tickets then it would have minimized the parking/camping errors that happened,” she said.
Pruitt added she was told the staff from out of state came to work two days prior to the first day and had no details of the event.
Pruitt had this message for Slye: “Do not give up. Most people your age couldn’t even imagine pulling a festival like BRRF off like you did. Although there were slight obstacles, you still made one of the best weekends happen for most. I’m certain next year will be 100 percent better.”