Festival Casualty: No Rothbury 2010

I had already started planning my trip out to Rothbury, MI for the third annual Rothbury Music Festival which many thought would take place over the July 4th weekend. Sadly, the news just came down through the fest’s website that there won’t be a Rothbury 2010.


Part of the problem stems from the community which has been trying to pass an ordinance to regulate activities at the festival grounds. According to the Muskegon Chronicle,  “the proposed ordinance is in response to the negative reaction township residents had with the massive festival operation and thousands of festival-goers. The biggest complaint seemed to be excessive noise into the wee hours as ROTHBURY festival-goers enjoyed musical acts beyond 2 a.m.”

The festival’s website gives a detailed statement on the cancellation:

During the past three years, all of us involved with ROTHBURY have greatly appreciated the tremendous outpouring of support for the future of the festival.  For 2010, we have had to make the tough decision to postpone our efforts.  A contributing factor in our decision is that, due to various artists’ recording and touring schedules, we now believe that timing will not allow for us to assemble the cutting edge roster that everyone has come to expect from ROTHBURY.  The result for this year is that we are not able to move forward with the integrity and high standards that we demand from ourselves and for the festival.

Despite the 2010 postponement, we intend to move toward continuing ROTHBURY in 2011.  This event is something very special, and we are unwilling to potentially tarnish what ROTHBURY is, and can become, by working under conditions that will produce anything less than a magical experience.

ROTHBURY is more than a festival.  It is a mission intended to discover strength in community, and what it means to be a large-scale sustainable event in these times.  Our efforts are certainly not coming to an end.

It is important for us to thank the people of Michigan, Oceana County, The Village of Rothbury, Grant Township, and the Double JJ Resort.  Also, we thank our team members, volunteers, creative contributors, media partners, and sponsors.  We have made many friendships that will last a lifetime.

To all who attended the first two years of ROTHBURY we thank you for the soul you gave the event.  Those times entered rarified air because of your energy.

We hope you have a fantastic July 4th this summer.

The first Rothbury Festival was put together by AEG and Madison House Presents and featured the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer and Widespread Panic in the headliner slots. Last year’s festival saw headlining sets from Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and The Dead. We’d expect that the producers of High Sierra Music Festival, a competing festival that owned the Fourth of July weekend for a long time before 2008, aren’t shedding any tears.

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28 Responses

  1. so Rothbury is def. X’d? for sure? props to Carrie Lombardi, Madison House Presents and AEG Live for putting on, what was, truly a great festy experience for festival-goers.

    Why don’t overpriced shady festivals ever suffer this same fate? it’s always the good ones.

  2. Sounds like the local powers that be want a bigger donation(ie bribe). With the success of the fist 2 fests, I would think that can happen.
    High Sierra is a small fest that bringing in about 7K in fans in a good year, but never comes close to booking the talent that Roth does. Plus, its 2 thousand miles away in Plumas Co. CA. Their whole budget wouldn’t cover a act like Dylan. Nice fest in the Sierra foothills though.

  3. The Fourth of July is all about High Sierra for me. Always has been, always will be. Can’t wait to see what they can do this year now that Rothbury is off the table.

  4. That’s alright township residents, the economy in Muskegon County is so strong. A few late noisy nights of happy music lovers is far too great a sacrifice for the millions of dollars generated for the community as a result of the festival. Looks as though festival goers will just have to boost the economies where other festivals are held. Hey Muskegon, maybe you can host the Asian Carp Festival…soon to be in a lake near you! Could the last person leaving Muskegon County, please turn off the lights?

  5. It was not the local govt. Madison house was assured they would be allowed to go late night if the asked. They never did. This was about scheduling acts and money from aeg. Some locals nearby (a small minority) may not like the noise, but they were not responsible for this. The facts are being twisted by that chronically art.

  6. Pingback: Rothbury Links
  7. Greetings.. I’ m a 60 year old professional who took my daughter to the Rothbury for her 18th birthday.. love jam bands (Dead, Umphrey’s) and happen to hear of this event… This was the Best experience of my life.. THE most FRIENDLY concert i have Ever attended… im 60 and thats a long list :). I was prepared to make this a yearly “family” gathering …I grew up in a small town that relied on tourist trade so i know the pressure of summer and the weekend warriors. Let me say the Michigan hospitality at this event was Outstanding!!!.. I am not wealthy but on this trip i dropped 5 grand (inc ticket) near Rothbury.. These people made me feel welcome AND want to do it right for everyone… I now live near Niagara Falls where 15 years ago the locals had a morality pissing match over gambling..Niagara Falls Canada now has the hotels, jobs, prosperity and looks like Vegas…. Niagara Falls USA looks like bombed out Beirut and cant figure out why no one’s there.
    YOU must decided whether to live near the “airport”… but your lucky because its only open during the 4th of July and you have the chance to sit in the coffee shop and tell stories about those crazies that came to Rothbury all winter long… Hope to see you with my wallet open in 2011…Peace…

  8. RIP Rothbury. After attending upwards of 30 festivals in my time, Rothbury was the ultimate musical experience. go green, hear some tunes, donate to charities, attend an eco summit. No other fest can even compare. Rothbury you will be truly missed. I can’t even listen to music right now. It all reminds me of you 🙁

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