Believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory are staging an event in Jacksonville, Florida, next month coinciding with the second day of the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Pro-Q personalities and followers will gather at an ice rink and indoor sports facility 11 minutes away from the RNC to “rock out on stage to celebrate President Donald Trump’s nomination and eventual defeat of Sleepy Joe Biden,” according to the event page. The ticket page clocks the event at eight hours long on August 25 and displays a lineup advertising appearances from:
- Gene Ho, a former personal photographer for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign turned QAnon devotee.
- Dylan Wheeler, a pro-Q social media personality who uses the moniker “Education4Libs.”
- Joe Stroh, a Marine Corps veteran and child sex abuse survivor turned Q follower.
- And Brian Gamble, an organizer of the event.
The RNC-adjacent QAnon event comes during a year where the conspiracy theory has infected the GOP electorate in undeniable ways. Media Matters has identified dozens of political candidates who have embraced the far-right conspiracy theory, including some who have viable shots of winning their elections this fall. The president’s son Eric Trump shared a QAnon graphic on his Instagram profile ahead of Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month. Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, who Trump granted clemency to last week, has cozied up to supporters of the conspiracy movement.
Alysia and Brian Gamble, a Q-supporting pair who organized a gathering of Q supporters on the National Mall in Washington D.C. last year, appear to be the ones organizing the Jacksonville event. Red Pill Roadshow, the event planning business in charge of selling tickets, states on its about page that it was formed after the D.C. event, and a link on the page directs users to Alysia Gamble’s “RedShiftReality” Instagram page. The Gambles put together an additional QAnon gathering in Tampa, Florida, this past January; the Jacksonville “The Great Awakening” event appears to be the third such event put together by the duo.
Right Wing Watch attempted to reach event organizers via Instagram direct message, as no contact information was provided on the Red Pill Roadshow website. Right Wing Watch did not receive a response prior to publication.
QAnon followers believe that Trump is working in secret to expose their perceived social and political enemies covering up horrific crimes, like child sex trafficking, and committing acts of treason against Trump. As the conspiracy theory has spread, the coinciding community has absorbed countless other outlandish theories about aliens, 5G networks, and alternative medicines—just to name a few. The FBI considers the QAnon conspiracy movement a potential source of domestic terrorism, and followers of the conspiracy theory have been involved in criminal acts, including kidnapping and murder.
At the end of June, Republicans relocated their convention to Florida hoping to avoid mandates requiring its attendees to wear masks indoors, the New York Times reported. At the time of the decision, the state seemed on track to lift several COVID-19 restrictions for public gatherings. However, a surge in coronavirus cases has caused Jacksonville to reimpose orders that would require convention attendees to wear masks indoors. At this time, it appears Republicans intend to follow through with their plans to rally at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, although GOP officials are considering moving the event to an outdoor venue in Jacksonville.
But one thing is for certain: The QAnon movement will be there.