Wednesday, 09 October 2019 21:19

Epicenter moving from Rockingham to Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Epicenter moving from Rockingham to Charlotte Motor Speedway Wally Reeves - For the Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Epicenter will not be returning to The Rock.

The announcement was made Wednesday night on the music festival's Facebook page that the event will be held at Rock City Campground at Charlotte Motor Speedway — the former home of Carolina Rebellion, which was the predecessor to Epicenter in North Carolina.

"I'm very disappointed," said Kenneth Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. "We did everything we could to keep them here."

The inaugural Epicenter festival was held at Rockingham Dragway this past May bringing tens of thousands of hard rock and heavy metal fans to Richmond County.

Earlier this year, County Manager Bryan Land credited Epicenter for a considerable spike in sales taxes.

"It was huge for this county and this part of the state," Robinette said Wednesday.

Robinette said he believes there were several reasons for the decision to move.

"I feel like there were some negotiations with the round track (Rockingham Speedway and Entertainment Complex) … (that) was something they couldn't finalize," he said.

Robinette also blames negative coverage from multiple media outlets, including the Daily Journal, regarding the traffic and other issues.

While the inaugural hard rock and heavy metal music festival was an economic boon for the county, it was a bane for promoters.

Danny Hayes, CEO of promoter Danny Wimmer Presents, said in a June video that the company lost $3 million on the festival.

"I should be shutting that down permanently and not coming back," he said.

When the event was first announced last year, a press release noted that there was a 10-year-agreement.

Dragway owner Steve Earwood said Wednesday that a clause stipulated that promoters had until Sept. 1 to make a decision to stay or leave.

Earwood said when DWP asked for an extension until Oct. 1, he was hopeful.

But when that deadline came and went, he "had a sense that they weren't" coming back.

While Earwood has two events lined up for May where the dragway's income will be comparable to Epicenter, he said it won't have as big of an impact on the community.

"(Epicenter) put Richmond County back on top," he said.

However, there is still a ray of hope, according to Earwood.

He said there's a clause in the contract that allows promoters to sit out for a year and come back the next.

A spokesperson for DWP could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.

An announcement for the 2020 festival is expected to be released at noon Thursday.

Last modified on Monday, 14 October 2019 08:11