News Column

Music fans to descend on stadium

June 21, 2014

By Bill Archer, Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.

June 21--BLUEFIELD -- The stage is set -- literally -- Florida Georgia Line is ready and the two Virginias are buzzing with excitement as the Second Chance Learning Center is ready to "Rock the Two Virginias" for the fourth time.

Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, the Chris Lane Band, Clare Dunn and a special performance by Sal Gonzalez of the Wounded Warrior Project have given cause for a lot of "buzz" in the community. The concert is even being promoted on Twitter at #2ndchancerocks.

"The first year, I think that some people didn't believe we could have all that talent here for one show," Erik Robinson, executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center said. "I think it's all coming together and that people understand what we're trying to do."

Robinson and All Star Major League relief pitcher Billy Wagner -- both Tazewell County, Va., natives and college roommates at -- Ferrum College established the Learning Center in 2005 to help at-risk high school students stay in school and earn their high school diplomas. But the Learning Center is only one community service agency that benefits from the concerts. Sponsors purchase tickets and donate them to the human service agencies of their choice.

"This is a major, major event for the area," Robinson said. "There's a lot of work involved in putting this together and Second Chance has really stuck its neck out to make it a success, but when you look at the tax dollars this show brings into the community, the work we are able to give to the Wade Center, Bluefield College and the 80 student athletes from Concord University, I think it is working out.

"Billy (Wagner) and I decided when we started talking about holding this concert that it only makes sense if it benefits the entire community," Robinson said. "The thing that has made this work is that we have so many dedicated sponsors in this community who have really stepped up to make it all work. People like Tommy Cole, the Comptons of Fincastle on the Mountain, the town of Bluefield, Investment Planning and Grants have done so much.

"Ron Martin of Grants Supermarkets has been such a big supporter of what we're doing here," Robinson said. "You know it has to be tough for Grants to sell tickets at all of their stores, but they do it because they support the community. We're grateful that we live in a community where people support this effort."

Kent Martin of Roanoke, Va., based SRO Production has been a part of the concerts from the beginning and on Friday afternoon, he was supervising the assembly of a stage that is 70-feet wide and 40-feed deep.

"We enjoy coming here," Martin said. "It's close to home and it's for a really great cause."

Martin said that the Bluefield show is starting to gain a solid reputation in the performance community. "You're always meeting someone who is familiar with this show." He said that the crew that works with Florida Georgia Line were in Bluefield with Dierks Bentley for the first Second Chance concert.

"These guys -- Florida Georgia Line -- have broken every sales record out there," Martin said. "It's going to be a great show."

-- Contact Bill Archer at


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Source: Bluefield Daily Telegraph (WV)

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