After severe weather resulted in the cancellation of the final two days of the Blue Ridge Rock Festival at the VIR Raceway in Alton, VA, some of the bands on the bill tried to make good with disappointed fans by playing acoustic sets. Among the acts taking to a makeshift stage on Saturday were Papa Roach, Shinedown and viral country star Oliver Anthony Music.
The event was originally scheduled to take place from Thursday (Sept. 7) through Sunday (Sept. 10), but due to high winds, rain and dangerous weather, multiple days were impacted, including the first night, when lightning, heavy rain, hail and strong winds forced the evacuation of the Raceway and the cancellation of that night’s sets, according to Loudwire. The weather reportedly moved in during Coheed and Cambria’s set just before 7 p.m.; Five Finger Death Punch, Staind, Evanescence and Rise Against sets were also called off due to the weather.
WDBJ reported that storms on Thursday caused severe damage to campground roads and attendees’ tents, after extreme heat earlier in the week impacting staff members felled by heat stroke; the station reported that the hot weather was so intense that even security search dogs needed IVs.
An emergency alert from the festival warned fans: “SEVERE WEATHER APPROACHING: Please exit immediately and seek shelter in your campsite, vehicle or our shuttle buses.” While the music was back on by Friday — including a surprise set from “Rich Men North of Richmond” singer Anthony, as well as performances from headliners Slipknot and Danzig — Saturday and Sunday’s lineups were wiped out when organizers called off the rest of event due to expected bad weather.“With heavy hearts, due to this weekend’s continued severe weather, we must announce the cancellation of the final days of Blue Ridge Rock Festival,” organizers said in a statement. “Your safety and well-being are our foremost concerns. We understand the disappointment this brings, and we share immensely in your sadness. Please know that this decision was made with the utmost consideration for everyone involved and our focus now is on supporting those of you still on-site.”
Organizers said they are working to provide refund details for attendees and said information will be available early this week. “This has been an agonizing turn of events for what was to be such a special weekend,” the statement continued. “There will be more much that we unveil over the next few days. Rest assured, we will take care of you despite these difficult circumstances. The call-off of Sunday’s lineup meant Limp Bizkit, Pantera, Lamb of God, Babymetal, Pierce the Veil, Chevelle and others never got a chance to play. Unrelated, Rammstein singer Till Lindemann’s solo set was canceled due to a reported illness. A statement about the final day’s cancellation noted that heavy storm activity was expected, including high winds and rain, with the festival asking campers to check out by 2 p.m. and those whose vehicles were stuck or disabled offered rides to safety.
A number of acts tried to make it up to drenched fans, with video showing Papa Roach doing an acoustic version of “Scars” as fans sing along, Shinedown singing “Second Chance” (with Anthony singing backing vocals) and Anthony strumming his trusty acoustic for a run through his Billboard No. 1 hit “Rich Men North of Richmond.”
Watch the surprise acoustic set and see the full event statement below.