Renegade Rebellion Country Music Festival premiered at the West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells on Saturday, July 9th. The festival was originally scheduled for last September but was postponed due to the pandemic. The festival provided a full day jam-packed with stellar artists.
The West Virginia Motor Speedway is located at 2 Matheny Dr in Mineral Wells, WV, and was recently reopened after closing in 2013. New manager and promoter, Cody Watson, along with support from speedway owners, PM Company in Vienna, have breathed new life into the track after a several hundred thousand dollar renovation. WVMS is a ⅝ mile dirt racing facility located along the Ohio River and Interstate 77 in Mineral Wells, WV, and is known as “The World’s Fastest Dirt Track.” The track first opened in 1985 and the first race was held in May of that year. Since then the track has operated off and on. WVMS is currently sponsored by many local companies and organizations and offers additional sponsorship opportunities.
Local solo artist Jake Binegar kicked the festival off with a mixture of originals and covers. Binegar has been playing music locally for about 10 years now and has been featured on a number of fairs’ and festivals’ lineups.
Arlo McKinley from Cincinnati was up next, playing his emotional and earnest blend of music featuring some of his older hits like “Bag of Pills” and some soon-to-be hits like “Stealing The Dark from The Night Sky” from his newly released album “This Mess We’re In”.
Following Arlo were The Davisson Brothers, a frequently touring fixture in the local WV country scene who brought their A-game to keep the day rolling.
Next Seaforth, from Australia, lit up the crowd with their dancey, upbeat jams, including their single “Good Beer” and recently released song “Queen of Daytona Beach”.
Then Trey Lewis, hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, and fresh off a tour with Kid Rock, took the stage and brought the party. He played some of his hits and his new song “My Ex Came Over” which will be released on July 22nd. In between getting the crowd dancing, he took time to recount his personal struggles with sobriety with his heartfelt song written for his mother “Whatever She Sees in Me.”
Afterward, Lainey Wilson, ACM Awards New Female Artist and Song of the Year winner in 2022, took the stage. Wilson’s set was full of infectious energy, fun, and big-belting vocals. She played her hit “Things a Man Oughta Know” as the crowd joined in to sing and dance along with her. Aside from her music career, Wilson will be joining the cast of Paramount’s show “Yellowstone” in the upcoming season.
Closing out the night was country music legend Tracey Lawrence. Lawrence has been active in the country music scene for over three decades and has charted more than forty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including eight songs that reached the number one position: “Sticks and Stones,” “Alibis,” “Can’t Break It to My Heart,” “My Second Home,” “If the Good Die Young,” “Texas Tornado,” “Time Marches On,” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.”
Music from all the artists can be found on the festival’s Spotify playlist.
Several artists and event organizers wandered through the crowd greeting fans and guests when they weren’t busy on stage or on duty. Watson was seen upgrading a few lucky guests’ tickets to VIP or providing meet and greet opportunities between the performers and guests. The overall atmosphere of the festival was upbeat and joyful. Everyone in attendance just seemed genuinely happy to be there, from the entertainers to the guests to the staff themselves.
Guests could choose between General Admission for $85 or VIP for $199. They could also choose to camp for the night or the full weekend on the WVMS grounds.
The festival featured several food vendors and merchandise booths. Freshly cooked meals including fried chicken, ham, pulled pork, and a deliciously sweet peanut butter sheet cake were prepared by volunteers and available to VIP guests.
Watson is hoping to garner some more support from the Parkersburg/Mid Ohio Valley Community for future events at the speedway. The WVMS offers racing events about once a month. They offer concessions and provide a family-friendly and exciting environment with kids 10 and under receiving free admission to the race events. The WVMS is a cash-only facility. Next on their schedule is the Mark Balzano Memorial on August 6th which features hotrods, street stocks, sport mods, and $10k late models. General Admission tickets are $25 and pit tickets are $35. They are also offering on-site camping for this event for $20 per night. Their full schedule of upcoming events can be found on their website.
All photography by Michelle Waters Photo