CULLMAN – Rock the South (RTS) will return to Cullman June 1-2 with an impressive lineup of stars. Headliners Thomas Rhett and Eric Church will be joined by classic country/southern rockers Hank Williams Jr. and the Marshall Tucker Band and some of the current generation’s hottest names, as well as up-and-coming talent.
The lineup, so far:
- Lauren Alaina
- Eric Church
- Riley Green
- Marshall Tucker Band
- Thomas Rhett
- Dylan Schneider
- Hank Williams Jr.
- Brett Young
And there’s more to come, as 46 Entertainment’s RTS Event Coordinator Nathan Baugh told The Tribune:
“We do have some exciting additions to announce over the next couple of weeks. As this event has become a great place for artists to play, we are excited to use Rock the South to develop younger talent, as well as have the major headliners like Eric Church and Thomas Rhett. More announcements will be coming soon as we finalize the earlier part of the lineup!”
Event security a priority
Last year’s Las Vegas concert mass shooting is weighing heavily on the minds of RTS event planners, and no one has forgotten the less serious problems that occurred during last year’s weather delays. Event planners and the Cullman Police Department have taken a serious look at matters of security both inside and outside Heritage Park.
RTS Founder Shane Quick recently announced on Facebook that RTS would, for the first time, use metal detectors at its gates.
Said Baugh, "While we understand things can happen anywhere, we want to do everything we can to protect our attendees and artists. As another layer of protection, we are adding metal detectors to our entrances at Rock the South in 2018. Safety is of paramount priority to our team, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to make Rock the South safe for all.”
Police Chief Kenny Culpepper is working with the RTS staff to manage security in and around the park, using CPD and Cullman County Sheriff’s Office resources. He declined to release specific details of the plan, for security reasons, but shared that it would include an increased personnel presence in sensitive areas, an expanded park perimeter and even aerial surveillance of the event site.
“We’ve always felt comfortable with our interior security,” said Culpepper. “In other words, (once) you go through the gate and you actually get into the grounds. We’ve always felt like we had a good presence, and that we were able to maintain security fairly well inside the perimeter. And that’s going to be enhanced and increased this year with the metal detectors.
“The problem now is (if) you have an event that’s out of the norm, and then you have to respond to it. So, the direction and guidance that we’re getting now is to pay more attention to the exterior, the perimeter, which is what happened in Las Vegas. You had the shooter on the outside; he wasn’t actually in the venue, he just had line of sight from a distance away,” said Culpepper.
“So, we’re putting in place some plans to, number one: try to prevent someone from doing something like that, and number two: to respond to it quickly, to limit it as much as possible if it does occur, because it’s very difficult, you know, to completely stop something like that from outside the venue. The advantage we have is that we don’t have high-rises and a lot of vantage points, but we do have a few areas of concern that we’re working some contingency plans on.”
The increased exterior security presence should not only be able to deter or respond to a crisis event like a shooter, but also to respond to issues at local businesses and other locations surrounding the park.
Minimizing the impact on Heritage Park
The expanded presence around the park perimeter will not only address security matters, but also allow the relocation of certain resources within the venue, to alter foot traffic patterns from previous years and protect areas that have tended to suffer more damage.
Said Baugh, “We have worked diligently with Cullman City Parks and Recreation to develop a plan that eliminates uses of certain pieces of the park, like the baseball fields, and helps give us more space for attendees to move about. We are excited to unveil that plan here in the next few weeks.”
Sponsors of RTS 2018 include Pepsi, Mitch Smith Chevrolet, ABC 33/40, Allstate, Bestway Rent to Own, Budweiser, Cullman Savings Bank, CW 21 Television, Fireball Whisky, Firefly, Firestone Tires, I Heart Media, Marathon Petroleum Corp., Papa John’s Pizza, Patrick Drake Associates, Priority Electric, Regions Bank, Timberline Homes, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Truckworx, Tunica MS and Tupelo.com.
For more information and updates leading up to RTS, visit www.rockthesouth.com or www.facebook.com/RockTheSouth.
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