I attended Blue Ridge Rock Festival in Danville, Virginia this past weekend along with my friend Rachel, and my brother and sister-in-law. I have NEVER been to a music festival in my entire life. I was super excited, but I also didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Luckily Rachel has attended festivals before so I knew she would be able to walk me through everything. It was a four-day festival, but we all had a three-day pass for Friday through Sunday.
As a stay-at-home mom, and also babysitting a couple kiddos on top of that, I definitely needed a break. My husband stayed home with our boys and I am so grateful for that. Rachel and I headed out Thursday morning and arrived at our Airbnb for the night in Roanoke, VA. Let me just say that Roanoke is such a cute city. We had lunch at a small restaurant called Food Fanatics Kitchen. It was such a beautiful day, so we sat out on the patio. It was early afternoon so there was only one other table of people and that was it. After we ate, we got ourselves situated at our Airbnb. For dinner, we walked to a restaurant and bar called Beamers 25. The building was super cool. We once again sat out on the patio, which was right on the street. There were so many people walking dogs that Rachel and I were so excited! I got their Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and oh my was it good. I also got a free glass because I ordered one of their special beers. I get excited about stuff like that, so I was pumped.
Once we got back to the Airbnb, we sat and relaxed on the rooftop patio. The building only had one other apartment in it, so we were the only ones up there. Even though we were right in the middle of the city, it was super relaxing to hang out there. My brother and sister-in-law both had to work that day, so we spent the rest of the evening being lazy and waiting on them to get there. It was after eleven when they finally arrived. I met them outside and helped them bring their stuff up to the apartment…all while being cautious of a man who was apparently bathing in the porta-potty across the street……at least that is what we think happened…we still aren’t exactly sure, to be honest.
Anyway, we all got up the next morning and had to pack up and drive about another hour to the hotel that we were staying at for the next couple of nights. We dropped Rachel’s car off and headed to Danville. We had all been reading about all of the issues that everyone was having with camping and shuttles, so we were hoping that everything was fixed that day. We got to an offsite parking lot and waiting for a shuttle to the festival. I believe we waited for a little over an hour, and still no shuttle. The line continued to get longer and longer. People started getting frustrated and began walking, which no one in my group wanted to do that because the festival was MILES away. FINALLY, a bus shows up. The bus pulled in, pulled past everyone to turn around, and we assumed the bus would drive up to the front of the line. BUT NO. This bus literally parked at the END of the line! And I am sure you can guess what all of us toward the front of the line had to say. It was not good. People were MAD. People started making their way toward the bus to find out that it was a privately owned bus, and he was charging $20 per person. Of course, not many people wanted to pay that. WE didn’t even want to pay that. But we did. We didn’t know how much longer we were going to have to wait, and we were afraid that we were going to miss a few bands. It was very frustrating, but we paid it and moved on. We made our way to the festival, and the closer that we got, the more traffic backed up. It took us forever to actually get to the drop-off spot. It was madness. But again, we got a ride and we were finally there. So we made our way into the festival. My brother and sister-in-law wanted to see different bands than Rachel and I did, so we went out separate ways.
There were six stages total. We started the day by seeing Sevendust. Nonpoint was supposed to be our first stop, but they dropped out. We made our rounds to catch Gemini Syndrome and Bad Omens. We caught a little bit of Asking Alexandria and then made our way over to a different stage to see Chevelle. I have been a HUGE fan of Chevelle for YEARS and I have never been to a show. So to say that I was excited is an understatement. We didn’t get right up front, but we were very close. And I literally almost cried because I was so happy. I still want to cry just thinking about it lol. My oldest son also loves Chevelle, so I made sure to get plenty of pictures and videos for him. I also promised him a t-shirt, but we were unable to find any of their shirts, so I ordered one on Amazon (he doesn’t know the difference lol). After seeing Chevelle we were supposed to see Rise Against, but we ended up missing them..along with Atreyu, and I Prevail. We were struggling a little bit. But hey, we had to eat!
By the time The Offspring started playing, we were still waiting in line for food, but we were close enough to be able to hear it still. After eating, we made our way over to their stage for a few songs. The crowd was HUGE by that time so we didn’t really get a good look. We decided to head to another stage to watch Rob Zombie, which was the last band for the night. By this time we were pretty tired, so we left before they were done.
Saturday rolled around and we headed back to the festival. We didn’t know what to expect that day. We were all hoping that the shuttle situation was figured out. And luckily it was. The privately-owned busses were no longer being used, and they hired plenty more to replace them. There was a bus already waiting when we parked, so we got right on and headed into the festival. Roads were blocked off that day, so the traffic getting in was minimal and we made it in no time. I was happy to see that all of the previous day’s issues were always addressed and fixed in a timely manner.
Saturday was a pretty big day for me and Rachel because we were seeing 10 Years and then Avatar immediately after. Two bands that we were super excited for. We wanted to be as close to the front as we could possibly be, so we ended up getting to that stage a little early and sat down waiting for about an hour before 10 Years played. We were hoping that the people on the gate right in front of us would leave after 10 Years because they didn’t really look like the type of people that would stay for Avatar….but they did stay. But it was fine because we could still see really well. We got our Avatar fix while Rachel headbanged her heart out and I had a guy drop a crowd surfer on me. We sweat our asses off during that show, and I ended up with a pulled muscle, but it was worth it. Shout out to the URW stage for handing out towels because they were a lifesaver! We were pretty exhausted after all of that and ended up taking a break. We missed Trivium and Beartooth, but we needed to relax. We were going to see about watching Hellzapoppin, the circus sideshow around that time, but they canceled that time slot, so I sat in the shade and Rachel took a much-needed nap.
We made our way to the other end of the festival to watch Jelly Roll. He is somewhat of a local for us since he is from Nashville, so I didn’t think that there would be a big crowd, but there was. And people even knew his songs, so I thought that was pretty cool. We then saw Badflower. The lead singer Josh had laryngitis and we were told that he refused to cancel, but might need a little help from the crowd. I was expecting to hear more people from the crowd singing than hear him sing, but he killed it. And he sang EVERY SINGLE SONG, so I give him HUGE props for that! The last show for the night was Five Finger Death Punch. They of course did a 9/11 tribute and it was super cool to see. We once again headed out before it was over. That day kicked our butts for sure.
And then there was Sunday. Our last day there. We were a little slow going that day, but we managed to see Starset and Pop Evil (sitting down). Bush was supposed to be there, which I do not care for them, but they dropped out and the time slots were a little out of wack. So we ended up missing Underoath and caught a little bit of Killswitch Engage just passing through. But we were able to finally catch Hellzapoppin. There was sword swallowing, swallowing razor blades, balancing on chairs, sweet yoyo tricks, and shooting things with arrows while blindfolded. Definitely recommend checking them out if you aren’t bothered by stuff like that too easily. We ended up missing Drowning Pool, but we made sure to catch some of The Hu because we weren’t sure if we would ever have a chance to see them again.
Steve-o from Jackass was there that day. He was performing stunts randomly throughout that festival. He hopped on stage before Papa Roach and pretty much got completely naked. We also got to see him trying to take the perfect picture of himself in front of the Liquid Death stage while standing on top of a golf cart. Papa Roach had a very long set that evening, so we made it for a few songs, and then headed over to Falling In Reverse. This is where the lead singer Ronnie got into it with two guys in the crowd who were wearing F@*ck Ronnie Radke shirts. The argument went on for a good few minutes. Definitely entertaining. The last show of the night was Shinedown and they did not disappoint. I have never seen them live, and they put on an amazing show. And of course, we headed out early…again.
We headed back home to reality the next morning. Other than extremely dirty shoes, struggling with allergies due to all of the dust, and a pulled muscle in my stomach, we survived the weekend and made it home okay. We were so exhausted, but I would definitely do it again! If anyone else attended the festival, I would love to hear how your experience was!
PS, I am still waiting on my son’s Chevelle shirt, but he hasn’t said anything about it LOL.