Music Festival Ordinance
Music Festivals Approved
Purpose Driven Events, the company managing these concerts and the Blue Ridge Ampitheater, has received permits for each of these events. To obtain a permit from the Board of Supervisors, an event promoter must develop comprehensive plans around things like public safety, fire and ems, security and crowd control, traffic and parking, and many others. Each of those plans must be approved by the appropriate regulating agency before the Board will approve the permit.
An important note: Pittsylvania County will be reimbursed for any costs related fire, EMS, or law enforcement assistance with any music festival event to ensure that these events do not put a burden on the taxpayers or the Pittsylvania County general fund.
Revising the Music Festival Ordinance
After months of work from Pittsylvania County staff and input from the public and agencies like the Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia Department of Health, the Board of Supervisors approved revisions to the music festival ordinance during their June meeting. This was the first wholesale revision since the ordinance was created in the 1970s.
What Does This Revised Ordinance Regulate?
The revisions that the Board of Supervisors approved allow for regulations regarding Fire and EMS coverage for events, traffic control, insurance coverage, bonds to ensure compliance, security and crowd control, lighting and noise spillover, and much more. Detailed plans, including a comprehensive site plan showing every amenity and where it would be located, will have to be provided and signed off on by the appropriate regulating agency, and the entire permit must be approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The following things are now required from any music festival organizer:
- An overall site plan that shows the layout of the festival. This would need to be approved by Community Development
- A plan for adequate sanitation facilities and garbage, trash, and sewage disposal. This would need to be approved by Public Works.
- A plan for providing food, water, and lodging. This would need to be approved by Community Development and the local Health Department
- A plan for medical facilities and EMS coverage. This would need to be approved by Public Safety
- A plan for parking facilities and traffic control. This would need to be approved by VDOT.
- A plan for adequate fire protection. This would need to be approved by Public Safety
- An outdoor lighting plan. This would need to be approved by Community Development.
- An outdoor noise plan. This would need to be approved by Community Development.
- A security and crowd control plan. This would need to be approved by the Sherriff’s Department.
- A secure bond to ensure that the organizers follow all requirements of the permit
- Adequate general liability insurance coverage.
You can review the full, adopted revisions here. Each of these elements have been thoughtfully enacted to ensure that music festivals and other large concerts can happen safely without disrupting the lives of our residents. The Board of Supervisors’ goal is to protect our residents and those who do business in our county.
Public Information Meeting and Public Hearing
“We were pleased with the turnout of Wednesday’s public information meeting. We were able to bring many regulating agencies together to discuss how our new ordinance will allow music festivals to proceed safely and efficiently.” - Pittsylvania County Administrator David Smitherman
Some of the highlights includes:
- A presentation from Community Development Director Emily Ragsdale about ordinance revisions relating to sound and light, insurance and bonding requirements, and the overall sight plan. The new ordinance requires any music festival to have proof of general liability insurance for at least $2 million, and any event with more than 10,000 attendees needs at least $4 million.
- Comments from Deputy Director of Public Safety Michael Lee, who spoke about the role of Public Safety in approving a Fire and EMS plan as well as any pyrotechnic displays or fireworks under the proposed ordinance.
- Comments from Jay Craddock, Assistant Resident Engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation, regarding required land use permits and traffic management plans that must be approved for any music festival under the new proposed ordinance.
- Pittsylvania County Sheriff Mike Taylor spoke about the role his office will play in planning and coordinating security at any large music festivals in Pittsylvania County.
- Representatives from Purpose Driven Events shared about their plans for the Blue Ridge Amphitheater in 2021 and potentially beyond. The company has run many music festivals and similar events.