Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 23, 2014

Second Chance Rocks concert cleanup started soon after the music stopped

PRINCETON — Florida Georgia Line was just starting to crank up the volume on a high-energy show that absolutely electrified the 10,000-strong audience at the Second Chance Rocks the Two Virginias concert Saturday night as Kent Martin of SRO Productions sat on the tailgate of a pickup truck — waiting for the final chord so he could strike the stage and move on to the next show.

“It’s all good,” Martin said as a big smile grew across his face. The music was superb, the audience showed their love for the show, and Martin was enjoying the moment for a while before springing back into action to dismantle the 70-foot by 40-foot stage.

Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, was one of many sponsors who were invited to the VIP tent for a post-concert meet and greet with Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line. Meachum posted a photo of he and his wife, Patricia Meachum, on Facebook before dawn.

“As you could imagine, there were a lot of people attending that event, and there wasn’t much time to visit with them, but they were gracious, polite and willing to autograph anything you gave them to autograph,” Meachum said. “It was a great concert and great event!”

Meachum works with hundreds of volunteers with many of the Chamber’s activities including the Bluefield Coal Show, Better Living Show and more, and as a result, he knows instinctively to show up the next morning to help fold chairs and start the process of cleaning Mitchell Stadium for its next use.

“I came out at about 8:30 a.m., and I was shocked to see that all of the chairs were already stacked up,” Meachum said. “I wasn’t surprised that the stage was gone, because I know that production companies move quickly and I know that it takes a lot less time to take a stage down than it does to put one up, but I was figuring all of those chairs would still be up.”

Erik Robinson, executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center, said that after the post-concert party, “my dad and some of my other family members along with some friends stayed here last night and folded chairs while Kent and his crew were taking down the stage,” he said. “I was here for about 22-and-one-half hours and I just had a biscuit. We left at about 4 a.m.”

“I was only here for about 21-and-a-half hours, and I don’t remember getting a biscuit,” Donnie Linkous, a concert volunteer and member of the Bluefield, Va., town council, said.

The concert was pretty much deserted from 4 to 5:30 a.m., until a clean-up crew started picking up trash from the football field and the parking lots that serve Mitchell Stadium and Bowen Field. By noon, more volunteers had joined the clean-up crew to stack and load chairs.

“This great event wouldn’t be anything without the support of our sponsors and the help of our volunteers,” Robinson said. “Right here we have a prime example of that. Here’s Yvonne Moses along with Carmen and Nathan Hendrick of WVVA-TV — a major sponsor — out here stacking chairs with Donnie Linkous of the town of Bluefield, Va., also a major sponsor. They don’t just give financial help and air time, but they also give their sweat to make this happen.”

Marc Meachum noticed more independent entrepreneurs taking advantage of available lots to park cars for people attending the concert.

“That was commerce at its best,” Meachum said. “Bluefield College has done it for several years, but this year, I saw civic groups, churches and businesses exercising their entrepreneurial skills. It makes a difference.

“The tickets that were made available to the community service agencies also made a huge difference,” Meachum said. “I was talking with some of the members of the Bluefield Preservation Society, and their ticket sales proved to be a very successful fundraiser. I haven’t heard reports from local motels and restaurants yet. Those reports will come in pretty soon. I’m sure the concert has had an impact there too.”

Cpl. J.D. Vance of the Bluefield Police Department said that, overall, the concert wasn’t bad. “There were just some drunks and typical problems associated with too much alcohol,” he said. He said the police made one arrest, “but most of the people we had problems with were just escorted out.”

Law enforcement officers of both Bluefields as well as Mercer County sheriff’s deputies worked the concert together.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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