Lynchstock Drowns With the Storm
Jasmine Brogden, Staff Writer~
The skies were dark blue and gray. However, cars were lined up and down the lots.
People were chatting, taking in the beginnings of the Lynchstock Music Festival. It was the fifth anniversary of this event on April 22, 2017, and by the end of the day, the large event was forced inside the Glass House due to inclement weather.
Hundreds of hours were spent planning for this event, a 12-hour celebration of local
music and arts. With dozens of artists and vendors, this event appealed to multiple Lynchburg College students.
One such student was junior Savannah Martin. She said that she primarily came to this
event for the vendors, and to a lesser extent, the bands.
Those attending may not have expected the event to be halted and then moved to a small
venue within walls. This was much different than the expected open venue of a grassy park.
Martin insisted that she does not feel she got her money’s worth. After being there for a
mere 30 minutes, out of 12 hours, she said “it started raining cats and dogs.”
The vendors she was eager to see left. She couldn’t get t-shirts or other merchandise.
She feels there was an issue in the planning. It seemed to her to have been exclusively
planned for sunny weather. Yet, it was advertised to be a rain or shine event.
It rained, and only the music continued, albeit not with all performers. Some had to crowd around the doors of the new venue just to get a view of the happenings.
Martin noted that if she were to plan on going to this event again she would do things
differently. She would order the tickets only a day or two in advance, in order to check out the weather. If any hint of a storm is in the forecast, she said she would stay away from the festival.
The collapse of the proposed event began with a light rain. Then the thunder came and
an announcement came over a loudspeaker that everyone had to vacate the green and go onto the cobblestone or cement.
People ran with haste, some slipping in puddles, to escape the rain. They were prohibited
from the grass for hours.
After the wait, Lynchstock posted on Facebook that activities in the park would not
continue. Vendors were sent packing and also some bands. Subsequently, the crowd had
In an online apology, Cofounder Jonathan Smalt expressed that the decision to cancel
normal festivities was painful. He doesn’t appear regretful though. He suggested that it was in the best interest of all involved.
Though their policies stated rain or shine, they were not prepared for “extreme” weather. They were advised to cancel due to a tornado watch, flooding, potential hail and lightning. The safety of all involved was on his mind, including artists, crew and guests.
Smalt said they did their best to have as many headlining artists perform as they could
after the rain cleared. He was especially grateful to Dawes, who was willing to scale down their performance to accommodate the Glass House.
He said he was sorrowful for the artists who could not perform and to patrons who were
disappointed. He and his staff are also disappointed.
I want to personally thank every member on our team who has worked countless hours
this year, the local businesses and vendors who supported us, the city officials who worked alongside us through logistics and planning, the artists who prepared and drove thousands of miles and more importantly, every person who has caught sight of our vision over the years. Saturday was not how we envisioned, but the dream isn’t over. It will just taste a little sweeter when it’s finally realized,” stated Smalt.
Yet, some people were not happy with this result. Responses quickly flooded the comments section of the event’s Facebook page. One of these comments stated “I work in customer service, and I’ll let you know that the honorable way to follow through with your ‘apology’ is to issue refunds. It’s hugely dishonest that you’re sitting back with full pockets from the ticket sales for a FULL DAY of events that your entire community did not get to enjoy! Cancelling is fine for the thunder and lightning but you still profited from events that did not take place! Many comments professing unhappiness have been deleted.
Though some were optimistic, like “I know this is a big disappointment to everyone who
has worked so hard. If there is a good in all of this rain… you brought so many people together for a common goal and showed Lynchburg that uniting together makes anything possible. Next year… may you have a sunny day.”
Martin imparted that as a work study student she does not have extra funds, and wasting
her money was upsetting. She would not say that Lynchstock is important but fun, maybe.
Perhaps some students can waste money, but I personally have to keep track of how
much I spend,” disclosed Martin.