This was Jess and I’s 2nd year doing Blue Ridge. Despite all the issues the festival had last year we had a great time. Going into this year’s festival Jess and I had 3 concerts back to back to back the day before Blue Ridge. The night before we attended a show and had to leave early so that we could catch our 1 am flight to Charlotte North Carolina. We made it in plenty of time in fact we could have stayed at the concert another 25 mins and saw almost the whole show. However, we didn’t want to risk missing our flight, so we played it safe. Our plane was pretty much on time and we landed in Charlotte at 6 am in the morning. We managed to get a few hours of sleep on and off on the plane, but we were both exhausted. After we landed grabbed our rental car and headed to Alton, Virginia where the festival was. That was about a 2 and a half hour drive. We also had to make a stop along the way at Walmart to pick up a few extra supplies we didn’t bring with us on the plane. By the time we were done and drove there it was around 11 am. We were meeting some of our friends there around noon. That gave us time to take a quick nap in the car as we waited for them. They ended up showing up around 1230 but we still had to wait for a few other people who they were meeting up with. I think it was an hour or so later that everyone got there and we were now a group of 7 or 8 cars. After going through security and getting to the spot we were going to set up camp and call home for the next 5 days we all just hung out. Jess and I got to know a few of the people in our group.
Later that evening the camping part of the festival was having a pre party show with like 5 or 6 bands. We as a group all went up there only to see Crazy Town, Alien Ant Farm, and Puddle of Mudd. On our way to the stage it started raining on us. It pretty much rained on and off the rest of the night. When we got to the stage area at first Jess and I hung out with the group as they were hanging near and in the pit. We stayed with them through Alien Ant Farm then Jess and I ran to the bathroom. When we came back we were only able to find one of the guys, Kenneth from our group so we went and stood by him. From there we started making our way to get as close as we could to the rail. I think we ended up about 3 or 4 deep so we were pretty close. Unfortunately during their set a crowd surfer landed on Jess and hurt her neck. He hit her so hard it brought tears to her eyes. Even though she was hurt I am glad it wasn’t anything serious. After Puddle of Mudd’s set Jess and I headed back to camp. Despite running on only a few hours of sleep her and I stayed up with the people in our camp having some drinks. I don’t know how late it was that first night but I know when we hit that air mattress we were both out.
That following morning we woke up to a half inflated air mattress, where if one of us moved or got up the other person bounced around or off the mattress. It was some what comical especially if anyone could have seen us. After getting up we had a quick breakfast burrito that Greyson (1 of the guys in our group) had made for us. Then it was time to get cleaned up and ready for the day. Jess wanted to see Smile Empty Soul which was playing at noon so we had to move pretty fast in getting everything done, walk up to the gates, then get through the line, and finally walk to the stage. The walk from our camp to the gates was about a mile give or take, I just know it took about 30-40 minutes to walk one way. Which at first didn’t seem like it was that far. I’ll explain that more in a minute. So, after we got in we made it to see Smile Empty Soul. After their set we went and grabbed some merch. Instead of having to carry what we bought around all night I offered to run it back to camp and I told Jess I would meet her at the Monster tent in 30 minutes. I figured I could walk fast and be back in that amount of time. I was wrong, it took me 30 minutes to walk one way. Once I did make it back Jess and watched a few bands then grabbed some lunch then continued to watch the bands. That day we saw Smile Empty Soul, Red, Pop Evil, Bad Wolves, Nothing More, Cannibal Corpse, Ice Cube and Stone Temple Pilots. Ice Cube was absolutely amazing and something I can cross off my bucket list! All the bands did a great job that night. We skipped Ghost that night. They were the headliners but Jess and I decided we didn’t want to walk up the hill from the lower stages to get back up to the main stage. Plus, we heard there was a short cut back to camp from the lower stage. So, we left and took that semi short cut way back to camp. When we got back to camp Jess and I cooked some food and hung out with the group from our camp.
Friday morning Jess and I woke up again to a half-inflated air mattress despite filling it up again the night before. We also woke up to a grasshopper in our tent. We had actually noticed him earlier when we got up to go to the bathroom but we were both too tired to do anything about it. Well, when we did wake up he jumped on us and we both jumped up trying to get off this half inflated mattress. Again, I’m sure very comical to someone who was watching. Thankfully no one but Jess and I know what happened. After that we of course repeated our process from the day before. Breakfast then getting cleaned up and ready for the day. Once we got inside we repeated what we also did the day before. In fact, I even made that walk twice back to camp. At one point I ran back to camp to get some more vodka, however, I had left the keys with Jess, so I made that walk for nothing. Though I took the short cut it was still a long walk in that heat and humidity. Needless to say, it wasn’t a fun walk to make. However, that night we saw some great bands including Saving Abel, Buckcherry, Candle box, Bad Flower, Theroy of a Deadman, Halestorm, Down, Alice Cooper, Insane Clown Posse, and Mudvayne. After Mudvayne Jess and I met up with friend I made on Facebook in one of the festival groups. He smoked a joint with me and we all caught a ride back together on one of the golf carts that were offering rides for $5 a person. It was cool we were able to meet up as we had been trying to meet up since we had gotten there on Wednesday. When we got back to camp we once again stayed up and hung out with the people in our camp. We ended up staying up late that night. Greyson from our camp had us all laughing so hard. I’m not sure how late it was but it was a late night.
Saturday morning once again we woke up on a half-inflated air mattress. It was starting feel like no matter what our mattress wasn’t going to hold air all night. Being that we are now on our 4th day with little sleep and our 7th overall day of our live music vacation, we were moving a lot slower than the days before. We had managed to get up and in pretty much when it started the first 2 days. On this day we didn’t make it in until around 3, even though I wanted to be there early to catch the Red Light Kings. We still got to see a lot of great bands that night including Adelites Way, Apocalyptica, Queensryche, Motionless in White, Skillet, I Prevail, and Slipknot. Jess and I crowd surfed when Slipknot hit the stage. I did a 420 clip of me taking a toke first then going up. Unfortunately, Jess got dropped and got hurt. Thankfully it was nothing major. I felt bad since I was the one who convince her to crowd surf with me. When we both made it over the rail, we just mixed in to the VIP crowd then made our way to the side and managed to get on the rail. We watched their entire set from there. I even managed to get a couple of picks from the bass player. After the show Jess and I once again hung out with the people at our camp until we went to bed. However, that night we decided to try and just sleep in the minivan seats. We didn’t have a way to blow up our mattress because Manny and Alisha were gone. Alisha had a death in her family and had left earlier that day. Manny went to get a massage and wasn’t back before we were ready for bed. Trying to sleep in the minivan was a bad decision. I felt like I couldn’t get comfortable all night and got the least amount of sleep that night.
Sunday our final day we pretty much followed the same routine to what we had been doing every day. Hit the Monster tent, watch a few bands, get something to eat and watch more bands. The only difference was I didn’t have to make that walk to camp and back to the gate 2 times. At one point I ran out of beers that I had brought in. Instead of going all the way back to camp Jess and I went out to the first camp area right outside the gates and I offered to buy a 6 pack from some people. They didn’t charge us, they just gave them to us but they were warm. So, we went inside, and I got one of the bars to fill my bandana with ice and I wrapped a couple of the beers in it then I wrapped that into a plastic bag. It worked and got a couple of the beers cold but not all of them, so we ended up drinking a few of them warm, at least they were free! The other thing that I want to mention, is I think it was on Sunday it could have been Saturday. Either way at one point Jess and I are walking through the crowd of people hanging out behind the crowds in front of the stages if that makes sense. Anyway, as we are walking this guy screams out “DAN” I turned and didn’t know who he was. He walked up to me and said “I follow your weed reviews my name is Lucian”. I thought that was so cool. I have been mistaken for someone in a band before, but this guy knew me for who I am and it made me feel a little famous for a minute. Again, we saw some great bands on Sunday including Non Point, Hoobastank, New Found Glory (which I managed to get Jess on the rail for and a pick from the bass player), Seether, Story of the Year, 3 Doors Down and Disturbed. This night we didn’t even bother filling the air mattress and slept on it half inflated.
I know that there were a lot of problem again this year, if you check the groups you can find lots of bad stories. Nothing was perfect but I personally have to say it was better than last year. Jess and I had a great time and really the only complaints I had was the hill you had to hike to get from the lower stages to the main stages. Between the rain and the humidity my hair never dried the entire trip. Other than an entire day where it rained all day pretty hard, overall the weather was fairly nice and thankfully we had no lightning and no bands were postponed or cancelled. There were no major issues for me to complain about. Personally, I am glad I got to go and see all the bands that I got to see. I am glad to have met all the new people I met not only at our camp but also inside the festival. Everyone for the most part was cool when people fell down in the pits. Even the bands stopped a few times in the middle of a song if they saw something going wrong. I heard not all the bands did that but I did see several of them do it when they saw a potential problem. The only other thing I will mention is the food vendors and the disorganization they had. I am not complaining in fact because of it we got several extra tacos for free and a couple free cannoli. I will also say the Teriyaki bowl at the Asian Sensation truck was amazing. We ate there twice while we were there. Would I go back again next year? Yes of course if things work out and we can make it work we absolutely would do it again next year!
I should also quickly mention that on our travels home, our plane was delayed over 3 hours and we didn’t end up getting home until 1:40 am on Tuesday morning. Jess and I were exhausted but it was so much fun and all worth it!
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