Arrests Made After Brutal Assault At Rock The South Festival This Weekend

mugshots rock the south
Cullman County Sheriff

Got ’em.

This past weekend, Rock the South hosted its first ever three-day event in the festival’s history, welcoming record crowds to Cullman, Alabama for some incredible performances from Zach Bryan, Cody Johnson, Riley Green, Chris Stapleton, Jo Dee Messina, Travis Tritt, and plenty of other superstars.

It was my first time at Rock the South, and despite the heat and a pretty intense storm that rolled through on Friday afternoon, it was a hell of a time. The music was great, we met some awesome people…pretty much all you can ask for in a music festival.

Unfortunately though, the last night was marred by the news of a brutal assault that took place after the show and left one fan in the hospital with severe injuries.

Video on social media began circulating of several people punching and kicking an eighteen-year-old festival attendee, Reid Watts.

Police responded quickly to the incident that evening, and his mother shared video hoping to identify those who were involved in the attack on her son:

“PLEASE help me find the cowards who did this to my son tonight at Rock the South. There were several grown men (30s-40s) who jumped on him and beat him unconscious while his girlfriend stood there screaming and crying for help.

They continued beating him while he was on the ground until security finally got to them and got Reid and Katie out of there and to an ambulance. He has a fractured nose, concussion, stitches, knots the size of softballs on the back of his head.

He never even saw it coming. They jumped on him out of nowhere because one of them said he spilled a drink on him.

Reid didn’t even have a drink in his hand. Anyone who’s ever met Reid knows his personality. He never meets a stranger, he can literally get along with anyone. He is a good kid, and he did not deserve this. PLEASE share and help me find who’s responsible.

One of them had long curly hair, red, white, and blue hat, about 6 ft., and a bigger guy wearing a white shirt. I don’t have much of a description of the rest of them, but I know a lot of people saw, so someone knows who these cowards are.”

The festival also quickly stepped up and offered a $10,000 reward and lifetime tickets to Rock the South for anybody who could help identify the men seen attacking Watts in the video:

“Organizers of Rock the South are offering a $10,000 reward plus lifetime tickets to Rock the South for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the physical assault of Reid Watts on Saturday, July 22.

Rock the South welcomed over 35K attendees yesterday evening, and event organizers are working with local law enforcement to identify the perpetrators.

The Cullman Police Department is reviewing all footage taken at Rock the South close to where the incident took place; these videos were shared by both event attendees and Rock the South cameras monitoring the festival.”

Watts also recently provided an update on his injuries and how it all went down, saying he’s thankful that it wasn’t worse than it was:

“We were just hanging out…and some dude said I was spilling beer on him or something along those lines. And I talked to him because I didn’t have a drink on me at the time, I didn’t have anything. And I talked to him and I shook his hand because I thought everything was ok because I explained to him that it wasn’t me.

Then a few minutes later I was walking back and I just got hit in the back of the head, and I hit the ground, tried to cover my face and then I got knocked out. And that’s really all I know…

I’m alright. It could have been a lot worse.”

Well this morning, it was announced that three people were finally identified and taken into custody for the brutal assault on Watts.

Cullman police announced that 20-year old William Joseph Benson Jr., 21-year old Zachary Scott Taylor, and 20-year old Chance Marcus Alan Starling, all of nearby Madison County, Alabama, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with second degree assault.

All three suspects have since made bond and have been released from jail.

Cullman Police Chief David Nassetta wouldn’t say what sparked the assault, but did say that it was something minor that shouldn’t have escalated into the vicious attack:

“Nothing can really justify something like that, but in this particular incident, it was something that shouldn’t normally rise to the level of violence. And it speaks to the level of character of these individuals we arrested.”

Festival organizer Nathan Baugh said he hopes that the quick arrests serve as a reminder that this kind of thing will not be tolerated by Rock the South:

“I want to emphasize wholeheartedly that this behavior is neither widespread or common at any of our events. Moving forward, we hope this sad and disappointing incident is a reminder that this type of behavior will never be tolerated at Rock the South.”

The three young men arrested face between one and ten years in prison.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock