Friday, January 22, 2010

Hidden Track: Festival Casualty - No Rothbury 2010 (Scott Bernstein)

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.” Read more at Hidden Track

Detroit Free Rothbury festival is off for 2010, might return later

Organizers have pulled the plug on this year's Rothbury festival, the much-touted rock and environmental fest that drew thousands of camping concertgoers to western Michigan the past two summers.

But they say they are still moving toward the event's return in 2011.

In a release today, event producers Madison House Presents and AEG Live said a contributing factor in the decision was difficulty in assembling an artist lineup.

“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,” Madison House Presents' Jeremy Stein said in the release.

The festival launched on Fourth of July weekend in 2008, garnering positive reviews for both its music lineup and devoted green focus, including a progressive use of sustainable technologies.

Organizers managed to reprise Rothbury last summer amid financial struggles for the Double JJ Ranch, the fest's lush rural site in Grant Township, 25 miles north of Muskegon. The 72-year-old ranch was purchased from bankruptcy court in July by a Pennsylvania resorts firm.

Rothbury embraced an unconventional music approach that assembled both rootsy rock bands (Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, Allman Brothers Band) and edgy electronic-dance acts who played well into morning hours. Promoter Jeremy Stein described the lineup's guiding theme as "street credibility and integrity."

Marni Feldman, 32, of Birmingham attended Rothbury's inaugural year and was planning to be there this summer. Feldman is a veteran festivalgoer who has attended events such as Bonaroo and Lollapalooza, and ranked Rothbury at the top.

"It's very upsetting to me," she said. "It's one of the things I was really looking forward to this summer. Rothbury is one of the best-organized festivals with one of the best sites and a crowd that wanted to have a good time and get along."

After an initial embrace from residents near the Double JJ, rumblings of discontent began to emerge in recent months. Officials with Grant Township were considering the adoption of ordinances that would have forced a 1 a.m. noise curfew, among other restrictions.

Official crowd counts were never announced, but Michigan State Police and other officials estimated that about 35,000 people attended each year.

Read more

Video: Phish "Piper" 2.16.2003 Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV Phish rock out the Garden for first time since 1995 (12.4.09 Review)

When Trey Anastasio, guitarist of the legendary jam band Phish, screamed “Can you still have fun!?” during “Wilson” not a soul in Madison Square Garden could be expected to disagree with him. Friday night marked my 13th, and most likely final Phish show of 2009 and I must say I couldn’t have asked for a finer conclusion. After all, this was sacred ground. The band had rung in 1995 with their all time greatest show here. They had broken their original hiatus in this hall and this week marked their first return since.

The show began with their late nineties hit “Heavy Things” to thunderous applause. The first big highlight of the night came with the fifth song, “Glide.” The song in and of itself is nothing too spectacular, but since its last performance at the band’s farewell festival in Coventry, VT it has taken on a rather dark weight. That night the song had to be restarted several times with horrible flubs throughout.

It came to represent everything that was wrong with the band at the height of Trey’s heroin days. Anastasio has been sober since his late 2006 arrest that jumpstarted this reunion. To many long time fans, Friday’s excellent rendition of the song showed just how far the band had come since they had watched their favorite band dissolve before their eyes. The first set ended with the funky instrumental “First Tube” which was quite possibly the loudest and most excited I have ever seen a crowd. Trey jumped, the crowd jumped higher, the guitar screeched, and the audience’s cheers overtook the amps. Once the lights came back on for intermission a man in my section asked, “Could that have been as good as I thought it was?” After a brief silence the rest of the isle agreed. Read on

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