Thursday, 09 May 2019 14:57

Land: Epicenter 'invades Richmond County on Friday'

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Land: Epicenter 'invades Richmond County on Friday' Russell Parker - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — In less than 24 hours, the inaugural Epicenter Festival — to quote County Manger Bryan Land — “invades Richmond County.”

During his report to the Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Land described the flurry of activity that has been taking place at Rockingham Dragway and Rockingham Speedway and Entertainment Complex.

More than 350 staff and crew members have been setting up stages, tents, temporary showers and bathroom facilities on the festival grounds for the past two weeks, he said.

On Wednesday, the dragway posted photos of the main stage, Ferris wheel and tents to it’s Facebook page.

“It is truly amazing to see what the festival grounds have transformed into over the last few weeks,” he said. “Ticket sales have been outstanding and we’re all praying for nice weather.”

The National Weather Service is predicting high chances of rain with likely thunderstorms over the weekend.

Land also thanked all the county departments that have contributed to “making this a success”: the sheriff’s office, emergency services, inspections, planning and zoning, environmental health, economic development and public works — “to name a few.”

“This event will be a huge shot in the arm for our local sales tax and our (occupancy) tax revenues,” he said. 

Up to 100,000 people are expected to attend the three-day hard rock and heavy metal music festival, essentially causing the county’s population to triple.

Land said he encourages local businesses to welcome attendees “with open arms” and “warm hospitality.” 

“And I feel confident the event organizers will make the choice to call Richmond County ‘home’ for many years to come,” he said.

At least one local business, Kool Kakes Bakery and Cafe, will be on site as a vendor.

As for trying to ease the traffic situation, Land said there will be two northbound lanes on U.S. 1.

He said the worst congestion will probably be on Friday, with some on Thursday as the campers get set up.

“Just bear with us,” he said. “They’re only going to be with us for three days and they’re dumping their wallets and they’re hitting every store we’ve got in Richmond County, so I’m welcome to have them.”