For most people, there is always a fear of the unknown. VIR has known for some time we needed to answer the question “What are we capable of?” To answer that question, we had to step outside of our comfort zone and embrace something that presented new challenges for us, not only internally but outside our gates as well.
VIR has always done what it does and has never had to ask for external resources to any great depths. Along comes the Blue Ridge Rock Fest which instantly required a network and relationships that we have not had before, nor even who all needed to be involved. Once questions started being asked it was very clear this was going to take a team effort from Halifax, Pittsylvania and Caswell Counties, NC and VA State Police/Departments of Transportations, Virginia Department of Health, the Danville Pittsylvania Fairgrounds, VIR staff and our regular service vendors and the BRRF staff including bands, vendors and partners.
Monthly planning meetings began in February and by July we pretty much had the right people in the right seat from all the parties that needed to be involved. The greatest thing about the success of this event was this was a team effort and not the efforts of just one person. Every single person and agency had to be on the same page and rowing together. What we stumbled on, we stumbled on together and what we learned from we shared with the team.
The greatest takeaway from everyone was the BRRF fans. They were a colorful bunch and maybe some of the most disciplined and nicest people you will meet. They will stand in long lines, play in the rain, and walk the property thanking those who are picking up trash and helping them and first responders all day long. At the height of the headline act Saturday night when there was a sea of people as far as we could see, the message from the stage and amongst the people was look out for your fellow fan and if they fall down then help them up. It was a welcomed display of humanity in an otherwise misunderstood and mislabeled culture.
As the Festival started to come together in maps and layouts with vision from BRRF and suggestions from VIR and the involved agencies, it was fun to explore the possibility of “what if” on this impressive property. Maps are one dimensional and are great for planning purposes but they do not capture the size and scope of what you are actually talking about. You can read about the specs of the two main stages but not until you are standing beneath them in their shadow do you truly have an appreciation of how massive these structures are. As we connected the dots around property and then made one connect to another, and to expand to the next, it soon came very clear that the size and purpose of BRRF would use almost all of VIR and its infrastructure.
It was not unless you had the opportunity to have prior knowledge of the planning and then be able to observe the final product, that you could come to understand that VIR was destined for BRRF. It was as if the property was made for this event and the possibilities to expand and refine this event for the fans, bands and support services was just starting to begin.
To the tens of thousands who joined us, we want to thank you for coming out and enjoying this first-time event for VIR and for treating the grounds with such care. As for those who enjoyed Haymaker Hill, and the long walks, thanks for having fun with us!
President & COO