Back in 2015, Rob Helms had a little dream of bringing a big concert to Martinsville. He did it, forming RD Productions, LLC and bringing The Charlie Daniels Band to the Morgan County Fairgrounds in 2016. This year, RD Productions has forty-seven concerts lined up and set to take place throughout Morgan and its surrounding counties, promoting both local and national acts.

“I knew when we did the initial concert in 2016, that we had something,” Rob said. “I have a goal: I want to make this area a concert destination and I feel like we are doing just that.”

Rob grew up in Martinsville and in the music business. His father was Bobby Helms, a country music singer who first recorded the popular Christmas song, “Jingle Bell Rock.” Rob had the opportunity to play the drums for his father and served as his road manager from the time he graduated in 1983 until his father passed away in 1997. His mother, Rita, was a concert promoter, which gave him knowledge about that side of the industry.

Music runs in his blood, and Rob still surrounds himself with it. For 30 years, he has played drums in his own band, Bigg Country, a country music group. He also plays in Downpour, a gospel band. He had previously organized concerts and was looking to re-establish himself back into the business when he started RD Productions, which he now co-owns with Ken Fraley. Though he doesn’t get to rehearse or perform as much in recent years due to his busy work schedule, both of his bands will participate in this year’s concert lineup.

Rob previously worked as the in-school suspension supervisor at John R. Wooden Middle School and coached athletics. He still stays involved in the schools as he coaches JV boys’ basketball and is freshman head football coach.



Following that first year with The Charlie Daniels Band, he picked up the Drink at the Creek concert series at Cedar Creek Winery, Brewing Co. and Distillery in Martinsville. That 12-concert event will continue this year, starting May 18, 5 p.m. with Resurrection, a Journey tribute band, and Fancy Sauce. The schedule runs through Oct. 19, with a different local band at each event.

“Sponsors kept coming and I just kept adding concerts,” he said. “Last year we had thirty-one concerts. This year we have forty-seven. I don’t know what the ending point is but I’m sure it’s getting close because that is a lot.”

RD Productions organizes everything from country and gospel to pop and rock concerts by nationally recognized and local artists and tribute bands.

This year RD Productions has what they call the MoJo Concert series, a sponsorship package they are selling to businesses which includes forty-two concerts. Twenty-eight of those are free to the public, made possible by its sponsors. Fourteen are ticketed events.



The largest concert in this series is what they call the Morgan County pre-fair concert. It takes place on June 15th of this year and includes national acts such as Martina McBride, Tracy Lawrence, and Diamond Rio as well as local performances by Michael McCartney and Rose O’Neal.

Lining up the nationally known artists is a detailed and time-consuming process. Before he contacts the artist agencies, he has to have everything planned out, from when the concert will take place to his budget and how much profit could be made. They’ll then send a list of who is available. He tries to narrow that list down to artists he enjoys as it’s easier for him to obtain sponsorships for artists he believes are a good fit to perform in the area. The agencies then send a list of demands, from how many hotel rooms they need to food that they enjoy. Rob typically uses Gather A’Round BBQ in Martinsville to cater meals for these artists. They also specify performance needs like lighting and sound.

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