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Backwoods Riot Music Festival Is Opening Its Gates To Vets And Active Duty This Memorial Day Weekend

May 22, 2017

The first Backwoods Riot Music Festival is coming to the Central Florida Motorsports Park this Memorial Day weekend.

The event plans to feature everything from trucks and mud, to live music and more. The best part? All active duty service members and veterans will receive free admission to the festival all weekend.

Tickets are available at, and active duty service members and veterans should bring an ID card or a DD-214 to gain admittance.

“As long as [the form of ID is] legit, we really don’t plan on hassling anybody over it,” said Chad Sheppard, one of the organizers for Backwoods Riot. Sheppard has booked performances for a slew of entertainers in the past and saw Memorial Day as an opportunity to give back to his fellow veterans and military community.

“For one, I am prior service [Army],” Sheppard said. “A lot of the performers on the bill are huge military supporters, like Ryan Upchurch and Mike Busey. Plus, we figured it was Memorial Day weekend, so why not? It’s the very least we could do to give back. I remember when I was in [the military], and there just wasn’t enough stuff like that for our guys. Having the opportunity to give back to our vets and active duty, and also to our community really appealed to us.”

The festival will happen rain or shine and boasts a lineup of well-known musical performers in the country, including Upchurch, the Mike Busey Show, Trace Cyrus, X-Ray Vision, Stitches, Demun Jones and others.

“Backwoods Riot is a multi-genre music festival, and the main thing is focusing on the outdoor aspect, where we can do things like motocross and outdoor racing,” Sheppard said. “We want to offer a lot to the consumer, really just throw a big party. This is our first go at doing something this big.”

“I run an entertainment business based out of Kentucky and have booked many artists for many different venues in the past,” he continued. “This time it took us about four months to plan, but we are already figuring the process out and looking towards our next festival, which will be held sometime in August in Nashville, Tennessee. Next year, we hope to have refined the process and start throwing one festival a month around the U.S.”

The event page on Facebook is here, and those who are interested can purchase tickets here.