Organizers pleased with inaugural Val Stock festival

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sheriff’s office: No major incidents or arrests during 3-day event

KITTS HILL — The inaugural Val Stock music and arts festival ended Saturday night, and organizers are saying it was a success.

Bethany Russell, of the Green Dragon Farms team and an organizer of the festival, said the inaugural year went “really well.”

“We had about 400 people by the end,” she said, adding that, in addition to next year’s festival, they have tentative plans for a one-day fall concert event at the farm.

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She said they are in the process of registering as a nonprofit, so that they can work toward the goal of funding music in local schools, something that was the idea of Valerie Jenkins, for whom the festival is named.

Jenkins was killed in 2015 in an automobile accident near the farm, owned by her husband Homer Jenkins.

Russell said this year’s event mainly paid for operating costs, but the proceeds would be used toward music programs in schools.

“We hope to be able to do something little for them this year,” she said.

She said they are lining up sponsors to ease with costs with for next year’s festival, which they plan on being bigger, as well as working with one of the musicians to establish a scholarship fund.

More than 30 bands performed on the farm’s stage over the three days of the festival, and dozens set up campsites on the grounds.

While there were some concerns by Kitts Hill neighbors raised on social media prior to the festival about having a large gathering in their area, in the end, there were no reports of any arrests in connection with Val Stock.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said there were “no major incidents” reported in connection to the festival.

He said there was one report of a fight on a neighboring property, but no arrests were made. He said festival organizers said the individuals involved were not connected to the event, though he said others said that they were. A deputy also responded to a complaint of loud music, but no action was deemed necessary and festival organizers agreed to monitor the noise, he said.

Russell said there were no disturbances at the event.

“It worked out well,” she said. “Everyone who was here was all about being here.”

The Lawrence County Health Department found no issues with the festival or the camping on the farm.

“I was out there Friday and I didn’t see any problems,” Paul O’Banion, the director of environmental health for the agency, said. “It was well-organized and maintained while I was there.”