Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

June 28, 2012

Rocking the Virginias A Second Chance for fun in Bluefield

Thousands are expected to converge upon Mitchell Stadium Friday for the Second Chance Rocks the Two Virginias concert, a star-studded gathering that should provide a tremendous economic boost to area hotels, motels, restaurants, malls and stores.

Last year’s concert went down in the history books as the largest one-day gathering at Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield history. And now Billy Wagner and Erik Robinson are hoping to repeat history while also helping the Second Chance Learning Center at the same time.

Friday’s line-up includes country music superstars Eric Church, Jake Owens and Lee Brice. Any one of these three country music stars would be headliners on any other night. But area residents will get to see all three perform on one stage Friday, along with other special appearances, including the Folk Soul Revival. Gates open Friday at 4 p.m.

Kudos to Wagner and Robinson for organizing another concert of this magnitude.

Wagner, a standout relief pitcher for 16 years in the major leagues, and Robinson, the executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center, pulled off the impossible last year when 18,000 fans packed Mitchell Stadium for the inaugural Second Chance Rocks the Virginias concert.

And they are hoping to apply the lessons learned from last year’s concert to help improve Friday’s show.

For example, the stage will be set up differently for this year’s concert, and additional shuttle service will be provided to Mitchell Stadium from additional sites, including Graham High School, Graham Middle School, Bluefield College and Bluefield Regional Medical Center.

This year’s concert is also being held on a Friday with the hope that the out-of-town visitors who converge upon Bluefield will stay for the weekend. If they do — and many will since hotels and motels across the region are now booked to capacity — local restaurants, gas stations, department stores and malls will see a welcomed boost in visitors.

“We are very proud of the economic impact this has on this community,” Robinson said. “People who have never been here before are coming in and they get to see what we have to offer. Just to have the influx of people we have in here is going to be amazing. It should be a great weekend. We also have a lot of sponsors from outside the area coming in. They will buy the extra tickets for their customers who aren’t used to coming to Bluefield or this area.”

We agree. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend for the two Bluefields. And all of the fun is being held for a very worthwhile cause.

Proceeds from Friday’s concert will benefit the Second Chance Learning Center and other regional charities. Second Chance Learning Center — founded by Wagner — provides free counseling, mentoring and tutoring to high school students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. The center has been a true blessing to youth across our region.

Thank you Billy Wagner, Erik Robinson, and everyone else involved in helping make this historic gathering a reality for Bluefield.

Don’t miss out on the fun Friday. Tickets are still available at area retailers, including the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the Second Chance Learning Center, the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, and at all Grant’s Supermarket locations.

 Join us at Mitchell Stadium Friday, and help make history once again in Bluefield.

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