May 24, 2012

Versatile, energetic, creative, innovative … these characteristics describe JHE Production Group, which on a daily basis transforms an ordinary event into something extraordinary and unique. Food Lion Speed Street is one of the events that exemplify JHE’s diversified talents.

Food Lion Speed Street

JHE is often asked to dream up extravagant productions and festivals, including designing stages and sets, hiring crews to staff events, sponsorship sales, booking entertainment, and handling set-up and tear-down of events.

Debuting in 1995, the three-day festival now known as Food Lion Speed Street was designed to provide race fans with additional activities to enjoy during Coca-Cola 600 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As a free event in Charlotte, N.C., the festival offers live entertainment, fan access to NASCAR’s stars, and vendor displays from sponsors. Concerts with top entertainers, activities that involve drivers and consumer events conducted by corporations headline the festival.

Since 1996, JHE has promoted and produced the festival and in 1997 Food Lion became its title sponsor. In the 17 years since taking control of the event, JHE has introduced more national entertainers, diversified the music genre, added new sponsors annually and kept the activities fresh in order to appeal to several generations and interests. JHE has transformed the festival into a consumer-focused event that provides fans with a glimpse into NASCAR while enjoying free music and the opportunity to interact with sponsors and consumer brands.

Food Lion Speed Street highlights since JHE assumed its current role include:

1999 - Montgomery Gentry and Kool & The Gang headline the concerts.

2000 - A promotion known as Food Lion RaceFan Challenge is hosted by nationally known talk show host Regis Philbin.

2001 - The SPEED channel moves its show “Trackside Live” from Charlotte Motor Speedway to the festival.

2002 - Entertainers include George Jones, Keith Urban, .38 Special, Pat Green and Better Than Ezra.

2005 - “American Idol” finalists and show host Ryan Seacrest appear at the Coca-Cola Stage.

2007 - The American Strong Man Competition and 14 bands, including Diamond Rio, Joe Nichols and Sara Evans with the Wreckers entertain festival attendees.

2008 - Travis Tritt, Albemarle, N.C.-native Kellie Pickler and Jagged Edge are among the musicians who perform.

With a constant evolution of new ideas, JHE has turned Food Lion Speed Street into the largest motorsports-themed, consumer festival in the nation. In May 2011, JHE delivered an unprecedented experience to 400,000 people via live entertainment, racing’s stars and vendor displays from such corporations as Food Lion, Coca-Cola, Miller Lite and Chevrolet. Of those who attended the festival, more than 65 percent were NASCAR fans with 38 percent coming from outside the Charlotte region.

Entertainers in 2011 included Clay Walker, Josh Turner, Eddie Money, Everclear and Rose Royce. Drivers from various racing series made more than 75 appearances. In addition, there were 37 interactive displays and fans were treated to an estimated 2,250,000 giveaways during the three-day festival. Opening ceremonies included a parade through downtown Charlotte featuring grand marshal Bobby Allison, a NASCAR Hall of Fame member, and the star of Disney*Pixar’s movie “Cars 2”,  as Lightning McQueen.

In addition to being a family-friendly event, Food Lion Speed Street also features four of the five longest-running sponsorships in the Charlotte region. Coca-Cola maintains the top spot with ownership of the Coca-Cola 600 followed by its involvement with Food Lion Speed Street starting in 1995. Miller Lite also joined the 18-year-old festival in 1995 with Chevrolet and Food Lion joining in 1996. Additional sponsor activities provided fans with the opportunity to test drive their favorite Chevrolet, cooking demonstrations, a Kids Zone presented by General Mills and a barbecue competition.