FloydFest, the summer music festival that brings much national attention to the area, sold out completely for the first time in 2013.
The festival also saw what can happen when large crowds, heavy rains and traffic problems combine to create a morass of problems.
The festival sold out of both advance full-event tickets and single day admissions before the first band took the state on Thursday, July 25. Traffic problems, long lines and waits for buses for transportation from remote parking lots to the festival sight brought complaints and a plea for help from festival officials to the Floyd County School system, which dispatched buses and drivers.
Then heavy rains swamped the festival site Friday night and Saturday, leaving parking areas a sea of mud and even washing away the tents of some who camped on site. With the muddy parking lots closed, school buses ferried patrons from emergency parking lots at Floyd schools and the county’s Commerce Park and complaints flooded social media sights about hardships at the event.
The use of county resources to aid an event actually held in Patrick County brought some complaints from elected officials and festival officials scrambled to correct the problems and deal with damage control.
Debate and controversy continued into the weeks following the festival but eventually faded from public view. Festival officials promised corrections to policies before next year’s event and even announced lower limits on sizes of future crowds. The school system reported a profit from fees paid by the festival for use of buses and drivers.
Even with problems, many festival attendees praised the event and a schedule that appeared to a broader audience. Festival officials promised the beat would go on in 2014.