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Blame My Roots Fest Organizers Hoping For Bigger Turnout Entering Event’s Third Year

ST CLAIRSVILLE — The third annual Blame My Roots Fest, held at the site of the Valley View Campgrounds in Belmont County, kicked off ticket sales at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning and officials, along with the local tourism office, expect an even bigger year in 2022.

Co-founder of BMR Chris Dutton expects ticket sales to rise compared to this past summer when people were still apprehensive over the COVID-19 situation, which covered an array of logistics.

Dutton also talked of the improvements that are coming, some the public may not see but deal with “features and experiences” that took place during the 2021 festival. He said the VIP cabana area will be expanded, as well.

“We’ve got a couple surprises in store that we’re not really announcing yet,” Dutton said, adding that Thursday night will be a different opening than they’ve shown in the past with Nikko Moon returning.

“That kickoff night will be much bigger than what we’ve done in the past,” Dutton explained, but the surprises he declined to detail are still being worked out.

The COVID crisis obviously hurt, as most other businesses suffered, too, with the cancellation of the 2020 festival and ticket sales so far down this year compared to their first festival held in 2019.

“We know that people just weren’t willing to risk it,” Dutton said. “We know that people just weren’t comfortable, still aren’t comfortable even through this fall.”

Dutton felt it was an accomplishment just to get the 2021 concert off the ground considering all the unknowns. What he felt hurt even more was the fact there weren’t many concerts leading up to this year’s BMR.

“We couldn’t really draw off of too many other shows to see how they handled from a production standpoint right? How they handled this, how they handled that … we didn’t know how a lot of these artists were going to act once they got on the ground,” Dutton said. “I’m proud of the team we had that was actually able to pull that off.”

He expects ticket sales to rise well over 2021’s weekend numbers, which were over 12,000, and is confident that will be eclipsed in 2022. One promising sign is what he called their presale loyalty sales from November – where people who previously bought tickets to past festivals bought tickets without knowing the lineup – sold out. General admission and VIP tickets also sold out and cabana sales doubled from this past summer from that same presale group.

He called BMR a small but growing festival where they have to work at gaining the artists’ trust, where he described it as they’re pushing the shopping cart, “not us.”

“We’re new and we’re competing with Live Nation so you really have to make a case for yourself,” Dutton said. “It’s really important to get the backstage stuff right, to get the production stuff right, to treat the managers really well, to make sure these folks feel good about coming to your festival.”

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