Photo provided by: Phil Ryabkin


Robert Forte: Blue Ridge Rock has been one of the worst run hard rock/metal festivals running for a while now. Every year there have been all types of issues both business and customer/fan facing.   Things go wrong at Blue Ridge when the weather cooperates. The fact the weather was terrible at this year’s event only assured that the festival would have a melt down on a number of fronts. The Danny Wimmer / AEG Live run festivals are much more organized and when things go wrong, there seems to be both a proper logistics plan in place but contingency plans should anything, big or small, go wrong. Considering the types of long standing issues Blue Ridge Rock has had with production companies, bands, band management, logistics on many levels, paying vendors, contractors and bands, etc… It sure seems like many band management companies got involved and pulled their acts which in turn led to the cancellation of the festival after too many bands of significance pulled the plug. I thought Blue Ridge Rock would have already been put out to pasture but this year’s debacle sure makes it seem as though it may have already had its last day.


Chris Annunziata: I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been mentioned already, but I do agree with Zach, we need less big festivals like Blue Ridge and need the return of touring summer festivals like Mayhem and Warped Tour. As cumbersome as it was, they were a lot of fun and helped get the youth into the scene. 

As for this topic, I love the responses and  comeback of Headbangers Brawl!


Zenae Zukowski: After entirely watching the video from #TankTheTech’s YouTube, I decided to scale back on my American vs. European differences in festival experiences and save it for another Headbangers’ Brawl. With his detailed explanation of his experience being placed in such awkward situations for the band, along with feeling what the crowd went through, this goes beyond cultures and subgenres. Leaving such piles of trash and overflowing porta-potties alone would likely have me pass out in disgust. DWP may have it right here in the States, but plenty of festivals also get it right in Europe and elsewhere. It’s a shame to see a highly anticipated event that has reached the largest ticket sales for a festival in the States be such a disastrous disappointment. And we aren’t usually here to share such negativity on events like this, but it’s hard to overlook these mistakes. If this is a big I-F, there will be a 2024 and beyond; I do hope a lesson is learned here, and maybe they could turn it around after facing accountability for what went wrong. Perhaps it’s time to place a bet: who will turn it around better, Fyre Fest 2.0 or BRRF 2024?

And yes, Chris, it’s great to see the return of Metal Insider’s Headbangers’ Brawl \m/  


Alexander Stafford: 2022, I worked as part of the merchandise crew for Blue Ridge Rock fest. I could give you an essay on why that fest was an absolute shit show and how I would been insanely pissed off had I actually paid to attend. Last year was one of the worst festivals I had ever worked, and still people said it was improvement from the year prior. My merch crew was GREAT, but from the festival production and organization aspect, NIGHTMARE. The final straw was when a member of the festival security stole my Anthrax hoodie. I got asked to work it again this year, but I had a tight window on being home from tours, and I knew it would have been to exhausting had I tried to squeeze it in my schedule, so I passed on it. Trust your gut kids.