Local News

Country music festival coming to Roanoke Rapids

Posted November 16, 2010 4:53 p.m. EST
Updated November 16, 2010 6:43 p.m. EST

— Carolina Crossroads in Roanoke Rapids will play host to a three-day outdoor music festival next summer that organizers say will help boost the local economy.

The June 16-18 Rapids Jam 2011 will be modeled after other country music festivals across the country and feature more than 20 acts, including some of country music’s biggest stars, said Liz Cunningham, a partner with Carolina Dirt LLC, which owns the outdoor venue in Roanoke Rapids’ entertainment development, The Festival Park at Carolina Crossroads.

“Similar festivals throughout the United States have an economic impact ranging from $1.5 million to $3 million per market,” Cunningham said. “We’re building a mini-city here for three days at the outdoor venue, so everyone wins from hotels to gas stations and beyond.”

The entertainment lineup will be announced Nov. 30, and tickets, beginning at $99 for the weekend, will go on sale Dec. 3.

About 20,000 people a day are expected each day, Cunningham said.

Carolina Dirt purchased the property in October and changed the name from the Carolina Crossroads Outdoor Amphitheater to The Festival Park at Carolina Crossroads.

Event organizers say that improvements to the venue, such as a larger stage, infrastructure to accommodate camping and more on-site concessions, will make it more attractive for national promoters to bring in other genres of entertainment.

Roanoke Rapids invested millions of dollars into the 1,000-acre entertainment development near Interstate 95, hoping it would bring jobs to the area and stimulate the economy.

It opened several years ago with future plans to build a water park, retail shops and other attractions, but the outdoor theater and the Roanoke Rapids Theatre are the only two attractions on the property.

The $22.5 million theater has been plagued by poor ticket sales, management issues and the bad economy since it opened in 2005.

Debt forced local leaders to increase the local tax rate by 5 cents to pay the theater’s bills.