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‘Rock the Red’ event back on, organizers say

Festival for conservatives moved to location in Weddington

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Days after word that the “Rock the Red 2012” festival for conservatives had been canceled, organizers say the event will go on in a new location.

The festival is expected to be held starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday at The Hunter Farm in Weddington.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz.; U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and Republican Lt. Gov. candidate Dan Forest are among the expected speakers, along with musical acts such as the Chris Lane Band and local musicians Craving Jane.

“It’s going to be a little bit of country, a little bit of family, a little bit of God, and a little bit of alternative voice for the DNC,” an event representative said Sunday.

Tickets cost $5 for most attendees, but the event is free for kids 12 and younger and current and past members of the military, according to the website.

Tickets can be purchased at RocktheRed.com, and anyone who had previously requested a refund is asked to fill out an RSVP form on the site or email organizers.

The Charlotte festival – which organizers say they hoped would provide “an alternative voice” during the Democratic National Convention – was originally set to be held at the 11,000-seat Bojangles’ Coliseum. But on Thursday, officials announced the event had been canceled.

A spokeswoman from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which manages the coliseum, said event organizers did not meet financial obligations outlined in a contract granting them use of the facility, according to WCNC-TV, NewsChannel 36, the Observer’s news partner.

But an attorney for “Rock the Red” faulted Ticketmaster for not displaying the event as a concert and said the ticketing service called it a “Republican” event when he said it wasn’t affiliated with the party. Organizers also said the CRVA dropped the ball on marketing the event.

Rock the Red was expected to draw both national speakers and musical acts. Originally, country music acts Charlie Daniels, Travis Tritt and Lee Brice were set to perform, but they have since withdrawn.

Organizers said Thursday that they hoped to find a way to still hold the Wednesday festival.

On Saturday, messages began appearing online that “the event is on.”

“The @RockTheRed EVENT IS NOT CANCELLED,” began a Twitter message sent overnight to local media.

In messages posted on the “Rock the Red” website and social media accounts, organizers thanked people for their support in recent days.

“We are working tirelessly to make this event worthwhile and better than expected,” organizers state in a letter on Rockthered.com.

Bethea: 704-358-6013
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