Rock the South organizers are hoping the event’s second iteration in its new rural location will flow more smoothly than the first, thanks to a new traffic plan aimed at funneling guests more directly to its designated parking areas.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Cullman County Commission signed off on the new traffic plan after hearing a description of its changes from event promoter Nathan Anderson of Nashville-based 46 Entertainment. After moving from its longtime location at Cullman’s Heritage Park, Rock the South held its first two-day concert event at the new location, an open rural area near Interstate 65, in 2019.
That year, shared travel space between pedestrians and vehicles created cramped conditions along the two-lane county roads that border the concert area. A pedestrian was struck and injured in a hit-and-run accident along County Road 469 during the two-day event; the suspected driver, Kevin Michael Talley of Cullman, later turned himself in to law enforcement and was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident.
Anderson said this year’s traffic plan should reduce auto congestion in the immediate area, while reducing the exposure that pedestrians at the site will have to moving vehicles. “We feel it addresses a big chunk of our safety and traffic concerns from 2019,” he said, adding that event organizers hope to engage residents who live along County Roads 436 and 439 to assure they maintain access to their homes before the concerts begin.
“2019 was a rough year as far as traffic, and [with] figuring it out with a brand new site,” he said. “We had some pretty bad lines that affected [traffic] all the way to the interstate, so we were challenged after the event by the state and local traffic enforcement to fix those issues.”
This year’s traffic plan, said Anderson, “definitely creates more runway to line cars up, but it also brings people in [from Interstate 65] in a much more efficient way.”
After being canceled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Rock the South returns on Aug. 13 & 14.