Welcome to the CEO of Rockville Address weather issues at City Hall

The 2022 edition of Welcome to Rockville is in the books, but as those who paid attention over the weekend know, things didn’t go without a hitch. Weather issues plagued the festival, forcing several shortened sets and cancellations and the loss of performances from headliners Korn and Guns N’ Roses on Friday and Saturday (May 20 and 21). Danny Hayes, CEO of Danny Wimmer Presents, hosted a town hall talk on Wednesday afternoon May 25 to discuss and explain some of the issues to be resolved and here’s what we found out.

Safety first

The festival featured multiple breaks and possible cancellations over the course of Friday and Saturday as weather in the area became an issue.

“I wish we weren’t good at evacuations because that would mean we hadn’t done them, but when you do live events and anyone who goes to a festival knows that, there’s going to be trouble. time,” explained Hayes, who went on to share that he was incredibly proud of all Wimmer staff, site employees, and security and police personnel for completing five evacuations without major incident.

“Our No. 1 priority will always be your safety, and we will always do what’s right. I’m telling you right now, the decisions that were made last weekend, I would make them 100 times out of 100.”

What goes into the evacuation decision

As Hayes explained, evacuations are often put in place long before the bulk of the weather hits the area. “It’s not rain,” explained Hayes. “Rain is never our problem unless it becomes dangerous.” On the contrary, issues such as high winds, lightning and tornado warnings all play a role in the potential evacuation, with the CEO commenting that they often look at “what’s behind the weather” that is currently being experienced. on the site.

That said, it takes time to get people to safety. They mainly tried to move those present to the grandstand as it holds 50,000 and Hayes considered it the safest place that could withstand the weather conditions.

What happened with Shinedown and Guns N’ Roses

The weather can be unpredictable. As Hayes broke it down, they were presented with a forecast that made it look like whatever time was left along the way would miss the festival grounds. As such, Shinedown was allowed to start their set after a delay, but halted shortly after as the forecast changed and the Rockville pitches were now directly in the path of the oncoming storm.

The CEO also indicated that cloud-to-ground lightning strikes in the area require 30 minutes of clearing before the festivities can continue, so each time a lightning strike occurs, the timer is reset.

While they were hoping Guns N’ Roses could play, the weather didn’t let up. “We were heartbroken on Guns. We’d love to get them back next year,” said Hayes, who credited the band for holding on. “They really wanted to play and they were there until the last second until we said there was no chance.”

The weather messages weren’t pulled from Facebook to hide anything

As Hayes explained, Facebook has an algorithm that determines when things will appear in your feed. Since there had been multiple weather posts over the two weather days, they didn’t want people to see Facebook weather posts from Friday or Saturday to Sunday in case there was breaking weather news. hour during the day. to avoid any confusion.

Refunds?

According to Hayes, Welcome to Rockville organizers are “currently having conversations” with the insurance company for the event about what can be done. “We’re in talks with the insurance company. It’s not just our decision,” Hayes said. “I need you to be patient with me.” He added that he hoped to “have something” by the end of the week, although that was not set in stone.

If anything were to happen, all purchases would be emailed. So keep an eye out for future announcements regarding refunds.

Scheduling options

Simply moving the festival or moving to another day is not really an option in these cases. Hayes cited a window of 10-14 days to set up the festival and another 10-14 to run the festival.

Also, the festival is in May as their venue is not available during the months of January to April, so they are looking for a block of time to fit their window on both sides.

As for the original homecoming in Jacksonville, Hayes says renovations to the venue have meant that the venue can no longer accommodate the number of people that Welcome to Rockville brings.

Security checks

Why were some checked during evacuations and others not? Hayes revealed that one of the reasons was the crowd issues.

“We all know what happened as AstroWorld, and surge monitoring is one of the most important things in the ops room. We have cameras everywhere. If we see what looks like a potential surge, we will have to release the doors without security checks and let people in because we have to release this pressure point, ”he explained.

Quoting that it happened over the weekend, he explained: “We’ve seen the start of a surge and the only thing you can do at this point is if we send security over there and ‘they can’t calm it down, and then you drop the door and let people in and relieve that pressure point.”

Other ratings

Hayes said he’s heard requests for more water stations and to find more options for shade and that’s something that’s being considered for the 2023 event. He also said they had also secured “every gentleman in the state we could get our hands on” for this year’s event.

As for 2023, Welcome to Rockville will return the weekend of May 18-21.

Watch the reception at Rockville City Hall below.

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