Bluegrass festival proceeds three weeks after founder's shooting
Posted August 1
Oxford, N.C. — The founder of a three-day bluegrass festival was likely in the wrong place at the wrong time when he was shot in the head, Oxford's police chief said Friday as the annual event got underway in nearby Franklinton – less than a month after the crime.
Rodney Preddy survived the July 13 shooting, which happened when he took a wrong turn on a city street. One bullet went through his truck, hit the side of his temple and knocked out his eye.
Chief Alvin Coley said Preddy was likely caught in the middle of a gun fight between two people who have never been caught.
Having undergone three surgeries and still recovering from his injuries, Preddy decided not to cancel this year's PreddyFest Bluegrass Festival, an event he's held the first weekend in August for every year since 1997.
"I've come a long way, and I'm pretty good to go," he said Friday, adding that the event has never really been his to cancel.
Festival-goers, such as Cris and Robert Morgan, have been regular attendees for the past 10 years and have formed close bonds with Preddy.
When they found out he had been shot, the Morgans took it personally.
"He's such a wonderful guy, and it shouldn't have happened," Cris Morgan said. "He's got such a great attitude. He's going to get over this and be fine, I'm sure. I think it's going to be his friends that are going to help him, and you couldn't have a better group of people than bluegrass people."
Preddy says that, this year, people have stepped up even more than usual to make the festival happen.
"Anything that needs to be done has been done – and better than I would have done it myself," he said.