Rock the Ranch: Inaugural Valley Ranch music fest sets stage for changing EMC landscape

April 14, 2017 GMT

The third and final lineup of music headliners for the Rock the Ranch Music Festival has been released, adding All American Rejects, LeCrae and New Respects to the list of performers for the two-day festival at Valley Ranch Town Center in New Caney.

These musicians join the ranks of previously announced artists Jason Derluo, Porter’s own Sundance Head, Flo Rida and the “I Love the 90′s” tour featuring Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa with Spinderella, All 4 One, Color Me Badd, Tone Loc and Young MC.

In addition to the amphitheater’s temporary main stage, where the headliners will perform; the festival will have a secondary stage on which more local bands will perform.

Rock the Ranch is occurring Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13.

The festival’s activities include more than the concert performances, such as the 35-team barbecue cook-off; the freestyle motocross shows; Vendors’ Alley, which offers local food, craft beer, vendors and street performers. Additionally, admission for children 12 and under is free. The festival midway, featuring a variety of rides, are also free of charge.

For more information about Rock the Ranch Music Festival visit http://www.rocktheranchtx.com/.

The Rock the Ranch Festival – hosted by the East Montgomery County Improvement District and produced by 542 Entertainment – will be the inaugural festival to take place in Valley Ranch Town Center Entertainment District’s amphitheater.

Kelley Mattlage, director of communications for EMCID, said that responses to Rock the Ranch are coming from as far out as the I-35 corridor, approximately three hours away.

Billie Jo Aasen with 542 Entertainment, executive producer of Rock the Ranch, has produced festivals in venues across the United States. When the Valley Ranch amphitheater is complete, she said, it will be highly competitive with the other Houston-area amphitheaters.

According to Valley Ranch developer The Signorelli Company, Valley Ranch Town Center is the largest retail project occurring in the Houston area at this time.

The magnitude of these additions to New Caney may have some residents wondering what a festival, amphitheater and retail development on this scale means for East Montgomery County.


Aasen said the impact of an entertainment venue like the Valley Ranch amphitheater on a community like East Montgomery County is massive. Even for a single event, she said, the economic impact can be substantial.

“If you have a show that brings in $1 million, your induced impact can be up to $3 million at the end of the day going into the community,” Aasen said. “So, I think what the Signorelli group and EMCID are doing is really fantastic for this area, and it’s really going to make it boom.”

The Rock the Ranch Festival is hosted by EMCID with funding through ticket sales and sponsorships, Aasen said.

EMCID’s festivals have grown significantly over the years. According to Frank McCrady, EMCID president and CEO, EMCID’s very first festival brought in 400 people. Their latest festival saw 5,000.

For first-year festivals, Aasen said it is difficult to predict the revenue it will bring in. Depending on the area and marketplace, she estimates festivals of this caliber may bring in anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 people, possibly more.

“You’ve kind of got to wait and see what it brings in,” Aasen said.

With any large event, traffic may become an issue. However, McCrady said that Signorelli is designing the development to maximize traffic mobility.

“Trafficability is a huge aspect of this,” McCrady said. “The way that they lay the roads out is so that there are ways to get onto the feeder onto 59. Additionally, there are ways to get onto the Grand Parkway down here. There are also ways to go all the way down Valley Ranch and have relief onto FM 1314. They needed three points of access to ensure we had ways in and out.”

McCrady said adjustments are being made to accommodate traffic flow exiting the proposed parking structure in the entertainment district area.

“All these relief points are designed to accommodate people in a mass exit to get out in time and end up with a good experience,” McCrady said.


For the inaugural Rock the Ranch event, the amphitheater will not yet be a completed, permanent structure. A stage will be built specifically for the event, with grass and lawn seating available.

However, once the amphitheater is complete, it will sit on a 14-acre site, contain approximately 13,000 seats and have an open-air seating area.

“It will be highly competitive with everything in the area, to say the least,” Aasen said. “It will be comparable, and we would like to say stronger than a lot of places it’s going up against.”

The final design as far as structured seating, covered area and capacity is still being worked out.

“Specs are constantly changing as we strive to create the most rewarding and unique venue for concert-goers and artists alike,” Danny Signorelli, CEO of The Signorelli Company, said. “The goal is to create something that is one-of-a-kind, that provides the best experience for all, whether that’s acoustically superior sound, shorter bathroom lines, or better food.”

Signorelli went through the process of determining whether there is a need for this kind of entertainment venue. A consultant’s study confirmed that there is.

“If you think about it, where are you going to go if you want to watch music? You go to the Toyota Center, you go downtown somewhere, or you go to Cynthia Woods,” McCrady said. “There’s just not many options. What if Cynthia Woods is booked up? What else is there? This is the ‘what else’ there is to provide opportunity where if other venues are booked.”

An amphitheater like the one at Valley Ranch, Aasen said, has the potential to host a variety of events, including concerts, live theater, conferences and comedy shows.

“Outdoor venues are really unique in the way you can shift them to your vision of your event,” Aasen said.

She believes that not only the amphitheater, but the entire Valley Ranch development is going to have an astronomical impact on the area.

Valley Ranch Town Center

One of the things Signorelli feels makes the Valley Ranch Town Center amphitheater unique from other Houston-area amphitheaters is that it will be surrounded by the rest of Valley Ranch Town Center’s 1.5 million square feet of shopping, dining, hospitality, civic and entertainment components.

“People had a hard time believing that any of this was coming,” Mattlage said. “Now, it’s coming, they’re seeing it, and I think it’s really going to blow their minds when the whole entertainment district is finished and it does become a destination spot.”

Mattlage anticipates the Valley Ranch Town Center Development and its Entertainment District will change the landscape of East Montgomery County.

“Right now, when you drive through the area, what do you do? You just drive through,” McCrady said. “I think this will provide an entertainment zone and area where people can see a movie and have dinner, or go to a concert and have drinks. There can be theater performances, arts festivals and other things to make this a central gathering place for our community.”

EMCID and the Signorelli Company do a lot of cross-promotional initiatives to encourage people and businesses to come to Valley Ranch.

“Anything we can recruit in just goes to help the economy, to create jobs here means more money people spend there,” Mattlage said. “EMCID gets a little portion of that back in sales tax and then that’s more money that we go out to bring other companies in, or to give grants, or to give scholarships. The better any retail area can do in our area, the better we do and the better the community does. It’s this growing cycle where we all help each other out.”

One reason Signorelli determined the Valley Ranch site as a prime location for a development and entertainment venue on this scale is because of its position at the crossroads of two major highway intersections: U.S. 59 and the Grand Parkway.

“We are in an excellent market with heavy population and a massive void of everything from retail to office to medical to entertainment,” Signorelli said. “We understood this when we acquired the land many years ago, and today are fortunate to be the owner and developer of this 1,400-acre project. The Entertainment District and amphitheater is one component of a much larger plan to solve for the void of each asset class for the I-69 corridor.”

As far as the impact that this caliber of development and entertainment venue can have on an area like East Montgomery County, Signorelli said the effects will be quite substantial.

″(It will add a) massive tax base supporting the county and our schools, thousands of jobs, and the attraction of many businesses that flock to a dynamic area like we are creating,” Signorelli said. “The Town Center retail component alone will create over 2,000 jobs.”