FloydFest 12 is now in the books although the music continued well into the night Sunday, past the original closing time and some campers remain on the site and cars are still in the parking lots today.
Was FloydFest 12 a success? Yes, in many ways it was. Record crowds from the event’s first complete sellout of all four days, a varied lineup of bands with a lot of appeal to younger attendees, enthusiastic responses from many of the attendees.
Yes, there were problems, from long backups at new offsite parking lots from the beginning. Some said it took three, four or even more hours to get from the parking lot to the festival’s front gates. Some said they had to wait so long for shuttles that they missed the primary band they came to see.
Complaints also centered on portable johns that some said were not serviced as often as needed, vendors with prices that appeared much higher than last year and the increased cost for parking angered some.
When rains flooded campsites and turned parking areas into mud pits, the complaints increased. More than a few packed up and went home.
Many weathered the storms and promised to be back next year. Others said this was their last FloydFest. Such is the nature of large, complex events that bring 15,000 people to a rural site in the Blue Ridge Mountains for each of four days in the summer.
Some critics claimed local vendors were shut out this year. But many of the tents and booths at FloydFest featured local businesses: The Republic of Floyd, Green Label clothing, Red Rooster Coffee Shop. Dogtown Pizza served up food. So did other local eateries. Some claimed the prices were too high.
With the actual site of the festival in Patrick County, some claim FloydFest is not a true Floyd event but the sponsoring company is a Floyd outfit, most of the volunteers and staff are local and Floyd businesses say they enjoyed a brisk four days of business during the festival.
Is FloydFest a hippie event? Not really. Attendees range from young people to middle-agers who have never owned a tie-dyed shirt or a hash pipe. Over a dozen years, the festival has evolved into a family event. Yes, the alternative lifestylers are present. So are doctors, lawyers, cops, ministers and local farmers.
The complaints will be addressed by FloydFest officials. Things that happened this year are a public relations nightmare for anyone. But FloydFest is part of Floyd and will be so for a long time.
Long-time newspaperman, photographer and videographer who still shoots photos and covers government and courts for a newspaper, shoots video for TV and documentary use and owns web sites like Blue Ridge Muse, Capitol Hill Blue and American Newsreel.