CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — The Rock the South music festival kicks off this weekend in Cullman. The event is expected to bring in tens of thousands of country music fans. CBS 42 News Reporter Malique Rankin spoke with the festival owner on why he decided to change venues this year.
The festival is moving about two miles away from its original home. This year it will be along County Road 469. Organizers say the change creates a bigger space and a lot more opportunity for the festival; but with more opportunity, comes more challenges.
“[We went] from 15 acres to 150 acres, so literally 10 times larger,” Shane Quick, one of the festival owners said.
Quick is not just a festival owner, but also a resident of Cullman. He tells us he’s excited to bring a large event to his hometown once again.
“There will be people from nearly every state in the U.S. here, including people from around the world,” Quick said. “It’s kind of surreal to think that my little hometown of 16,000 people will triple in population over the next two days.”
The festival is in the middle of a residential area. Quick has attended city council meetings to answer questions as well as give tickets to homes nearby. Some are making the most of the weekend by selling parking spaces on their property. Other residents are less than thrilled about what all the festival brings.
Jim Cruce has lived in Cullman for 38 years and was concerned when he learned the festival was so close to his home.
“The people here kind of feel like they have to stay at home to protect their homes,” Cruce said.
The Cullman Police Department says festival guests and residents should feel safe. They’ve brought in help from across the state.
“Jackson County, Cherokee County, Etowah County, Blunt County, Madison County,” are just a few of the counties that will be assisting law enforcement and safety efforts, Lt. Jeff Warnke said.
Extensive plans are in place to keep the weekend safe and fun.
“We have numerous swift response strike teams that we will have deployed throughout the event,” Lt. Warnke said.
Quick says the festival will stay in Cullman for years to come. Gates open at noon Friday. With so many people coming to town, traffic and parking will require some patience. For parking information, click here.
- If you are driving on I-65 and coming from north of Cullman, please use Exit 308.
- If you are coming from south of Cullman on I-65, please use Exit 305.