WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.–Winston-Salem’s largest annual street festival, Rock the Block, will not close streets this year and not last as long as year’s past in an effort to ease complaints by business owners and downtown residents.
City leaders say in it’s 10th year, Rock the Block Remix, is a new format with stages in four locations and vendors concentrated around each venue.
Stages will be in Winston Square Park, Corpening Plaza, Civic Plaza, and on Trade Street. The event will run Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Ed McNeal coordinates the event for the city and said, “one of the challenges is can you put on an entertaining event that draws lots of people into the downtown, a big strong diverse crowd but still not put out the residents and not put out the businesses here trying to make a living on everyday.”
Some businesses complained that all the street closures and large crowds were disruptive to business and everyday life.
Rock the Block started in 2002 as a way to introduce people to a then newly renovated Fourth Street.
City leaders say the festival has accomplished that goal as the event draws more than 30,000 every year. This year is more about entertainment.
With the changes city leaders hope people can still enjoy downtown with fewer disruptions.
“We’ve taken the complaints and challenges we had from all these groups and sat down used that to rebuild rock the block,” said McNeal.
Rock the Block Remix kicked off Friday night with a pre-party and 5k fun run.