August 20, 2014

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RoverFest presents logistical challenge to Lorain

LORAIN — The prospects of downtown businesses doing well when RoverFest 2014 comes to town in late July are something about which they should be eager, local officials say.

But it’s the unknowns surrounding a potential crowd of thousands partying in and around Black River Landing and spilling out into the surrounding downtown are worrying some.

“We wish for this to be a very positive thing for downtown, but we have concerns with anything that has a projected target of 15,000 at a limited venue,” Loraine Ritchey, co-chair of Charleston Village Society Inc., a group that works to promote and preserve the city’s oldest neighborhood.

Word of the one-day music festival’s announced move to Lorain on July 26 after six years in downtown Cleveland has some local officials fretting over potential problems.

In a letter to Mayor Chase Ritenauer, Lorain Port Authority Director Rick Novak, and Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera, Ritchey said the festival’s plans to move to town “has caused us some concerns as to the logistics” as well as the potential audience targeted by advertising.

“The marketing banner alone is one of a lack of respect,” Ritchey said.

One poster advertising the festival includes an image of scantily-clad women, with one appearing to be nude, to promote the event’s Miss Morning Glory calendar contest, which awards $3,000 and a vacation to the overall winner.

“The only morning glories I know are those I planted by Settler’s Watch, and they do not include naked women,” Ritchey said.

The festival also features rock bands P.O.D. and Trapt, as well as hip-hop artists T-Pain and Lil’ Jon.

RoverFest is the creation of Shane “Rover” French, host of “Rover’s Morning Glory,” a syndicated radio show heard over 100.7 WMMS-FM in Cleveland. He lives in Avon.

The festival got a big boost in 2013 when it featured the first public appearance by Amanda Berry after she was freed from 10 years of imprisonment by Ariel Castro.

A major concern is security and parking for the Charleston Village area during after the festival set to run 1 p.m. to midnight July 26.

“It’s not like the International Festival where people come, pick up food, stay a couple of hours and leave,” Ritchey said of the city’s best-known civic event, which plays out over several days each summer. “With Mr. Rover, the beer will be flowing like nectar of the gods, and we want to make sure people are respectful when they leave that venue.”

The Charleston Village group is particularly sensitive to how things will go around the Settler’s Watch area a few blocks west of Lorain City Hall. The spot is often used for overflow parking for local events.

“To be honest, we don’t want these yahoos relieving themselves on the monuments (along the Eric Barnes Heroes Walk and Admiral King Tribute site),” Ritchey said.

Charleston Village Society is asking that the downtown area have security patrols from 10 a.m. July 26 until 4 a.m. July 27.

In a note to Ritchey and others, Mayor Chase Ritenauer said all security costs for the festival “will be covered by Rover.”

Security plans call for a private security company, Lorain police and a number of area police departments, Ritenauer said.

“We would rather go too far with security and staffing than not far enough,” Ritenauer said.

Lorain Port Authority Executive Director Rick Novak said he understood that RoverFest would provide security through Tenable Security, a major firm that provides similar services for major Cleveland events.

Questions about the festival were referred by a program spokeswoman to French, who could not be reached Monday.

City officials and police have been in discussion with RoverFest promoters for some time about bringing the festival to town, according to Novak.

“Charleston Village has very legitimate concerns, and we’re trying to accommodate those concerns,” Novak said. “There’s always the chance something could happen when you have 10,000 (or more) people.”

He hopes the event can be a major opportunity to showcase the city in hopes of attracting future entertainment and other events.

“Sometimes the entertainment business hesitates, saying it’s not sure Lorain can support big acts,” Novak said. “Let’s show them it can.”

Tickets for RoverFest 2014 are $25 and go on sale 7 a.m. Friday. The festival press release noted last year’s event sold out in 61 minutes.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

  • Denise Caruloff

    let’s see…stripper polls….hiphop…..drinking from 1pm to midnight….what could possibly go wrong. nice class act you brought in Mr. Novak and Chase…class act for sure….um I think the quote on the radio was…a$$es shaking and panties dropping…thanks again guys!..i was told by a source..they had about 150 arrests last year. :)

    • Pablo Jones

      150 out of 15,000 is 1% which isn’t that bad. That is if your “source” is correct. At least Lorain is trying to increase the activities in that area above the handful of events that normally

    • Oneday67

      Make the best of it and join the calendar contest. You never know. $3000 and a vacation would be nice.

    • Jimmy Igloo

      Lorain, OH is the biggest craphole in all of northeast Ohio. You should be lucky that anyone wants to come there at all you whiny witch.

    • Bob

      stripper polls….hiphop…..drinking from 1pm to midnight.

      That sound like a typical day in Lorain. So what’s the difference??

    • brandy hammel

      Denise, where does it say in the article anything about stripper poles? I’m confused.

    • David C Johnson

      Denise Caruloff,though I never met you, I have read and agreed with your editorials for years and respect your past articles,but I can honestly say that I think you are way off on this one about roverfest,have faith in the city officials and the LPD on handling this event,Lorain has to do something to generate income,broadway is mostly dead,Ford is gone,the steelmill isn’t what it used to be,shipyards are long gone.Denise,you have to admit that the one landmark that Lorain can truly be proud of is Black River Landing and unfortunately it has been grossly under used.I live here in Lorain and have for the last 14 years,I have heard the jokes (slow-rain)and how people dont come here because there is nothing here.Well if this works out than i expect other events to follow-maybe even one more to your liking

    • KillaMilla

      When all else fails try to scare people with “hip hop”! It’s more rock than rap so you can quit spreading your misinformation.

  • Otter

    Downtown businesses should do well? Yep, I can see that happening.
    My favorite, “There is always the chance something could happen when you have 10,000 (or more) people” Ya think? Maybe they can use some of the empty buildings to house the overflow from the jail. And they might want to add some lifeguards to the security detail, just incase someone might decide to go for a swim.

    • Denise Caruloff

      so i am wondering…chase had negotiated a $5.200 rental fee for the park and cost of utilities….I am wondering what Vionovich park had charged for the use of their park last year for that event. Plus I believe rover gets the money for the parking and not the city? why not the city…how are we making any money? someone correct me if I am wrong with any info please.

      • johns62

        actually Denise it was at Captains park in eastlake I believe.BTW, its simply a rental, the city is not sponsoring a damm thing so they get the rental fee, just like when someone books a reception there.

        • Julia Weaver

          ACTUALLY… it was held in Eastlake once and they were asked not to return. All other years it was held at Voinovich Park on E 9th St downtown Cleveland. He left Cleveland to avoid paying admission tax on the tickets sold.

  • 2muchgovernment

    lmao at all the naysayers. No one is being forced to go nor be in the vicinity of Black River Landing that day/night so you won’t be subjected to the naked and scantily-clad women! What’s so funny is I see “scantily-clad” women/girls walking around on any given day, at all hours of the day, everywhere! Have you ever gone to the Lorain County Fair? Vermilion Fish Festival? Should we get rid of these events as well? Do you think there have never been arrests at those events? And any time you add alcohol to the mix, there is always a chance of trouble and arrests. Anywhere you go now, there is a chance someone will be arrested. Hell, you can’t even go see a movie now without the fear of being shot. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any place that is safe anymore. So, stop condemning something you have never attended. And, by the way, you may want to stay out of Quaker Steak & Lube in Sheffield Village that night because that’s where the after-party will be.

    • Guest

      So the gauntlet for Law Enforcement to arrest the drunks driving that night will be from the Black River Landing to Quaker Steak & Lube. That will bring in some cash for the City.

    • Otter

      As one of the “naysayers” I just don’t see how this event is good for the downtown business. (and tell the people who live near there they aren’t being forced to be in the vicinity.)
      Comparing Roverfest to the Fish festival, and Lorain county Fair is a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?

      • 2muchgovernment

        No, not a stretch. I’m comparing larger events that serve alcohol and have their share of drunk people. Especially the fish festival. For that matter, throw the International Festival into the mix. While the entertainment is not the same, there is still alcohol and the chance of trouble and arrests.

        • HankKwah

          Different demographic, though. The International draws families and people of all ages. Rover will draw a much younger crowd, fans of the bands, and those fans of RMG. People that will want to watch the calendar contest will be in the 18-35 crowd, too. Hope all goes well for everyone involved.

        • Otter

          “It’s not like the International Festival where people come, pick up food, stay a couple of hours, and leave”
          The festivals you mentioned have other things to do, besides drink, and listen to music.
          Anywhere there is a crowd there is a possibility that there will be some kind of trouble, but adding alcohol just increases the odds.
          I hope it is a successful event, my concern is that it could go wrong very quickly.

  • Sis Delish

    With all that pent-up energy just waiting to be released, perhaps the City of Lorain could give each attendee a sledge hammer and take them around the city to begin demolition of vacant and abandoned homes… for the weaker members of the audience, sickles to cut the weeds… (sickle and hammer, get it?)

    • TruthWhisperer

      Whats stopping you from cleaning up your neighborhood?

      You need Rover’s morning glory to do it for you?

      Get it?

      • Sis Delish

        Actually, no, I don’t get it.

        BTW, name the last President to have the Price of a Gallon of Gasoline Double during his tenure…

        • HankKwah

          LMAO

          I see what you did there.

  • Matt

    Denise, there were three arrests. Yes, you read that correctly, THREE arrests at Roverfest last year, not 150. I worked the event CCSD

    • johns62

      dontcha just hate it when facts outweigh the BS

  • therest_ofthestory

    What businesses?

  • Phil Blank

    Remember, there are no working traffic lights on Broadway, just flashing yellow lights. Cross the street with caution because no one stops.

  • Kassady Oberacker

    Rover is doing Lorain a favor! Learn to be gracious and say, “Thank you!” Perhaps people will start doing the same and there will be some chance at saving your city. It used to be a beautiful and booming steel town. Now, I would be afraid (and was when my ex-husband worked there) to walk down Broadway during the day! I was at Roverfest for Vanilla Ice and I had a blast. Great times!

    • Sis Delish

      Saving the City by hosting dance parties? What about December thru March?

      • http://www.medicallyme.com/ Kassady

        Calling it a “dance party” is a bit naive, don’t you think? Have you ever been in attendance to the event? I’m not saying that Roverfest itself is going to be an over-night saving grace, but it’s a step in the right direction and perhaps (LIKE I SAID), other larger festivals and organizations will also come to the venue – bringing in more revenue… or Lorain could continue to do more of what they’ve been doing (because that’s been working out so well) and balk at the posters advertising the event. It baffles me that they have a problem with the posters, considering… Have they actually opened their eyes and looked around the city as of late?

        • Sis Delish

          Sorry… should have called it what it most likely Will be, a puke fest… regardless, there are never any plans for thiese type of events when season’s change for the worse…

          • http://www.medicallyme.com/ Kassady

            We live in Ohio. What do you want? A dome? This isn’t the event organizers problem or even an issue with the festival itself. Lorain fell victim to the steel injury and there hasn’t been any efforts to revitalize and bring in new industries, even if they are only seasonal. I’d take seasonal festivals and tours over no industry at all. Beggars can’t be choosers. There are PLENTY of locals that thrive off of seasonal industry. Perhaps Lorain could be one of them. As far as what they should do in the winter, Festival of Lights? I don’t know. Maybe they should ask Rover.

  • David C Johnson

    i lost a lot of respect for the chronicle to print this piece of rubbish ,and whoever Ritchey is”Nectar of the Gods”are you serious!!!,you Ritchey are clearly not in your right mind,Rover,who has been around the country and the world was very impressed with BlackRiver Landing and what have we done with it?nothing til now.Roverfest is a huge event and am very proud of the officials that helped land this event.Aside from being a financial windfall for the one day event,it will also open doors for future oppurtunities once Lorain can prove it can handle this event,which I for one have faith that they can

  • David C Johnson

    if you want to read a decent article about “Roverfest”coming to Lorain July 26th-than read the Lorain Morning Journal

  • Pabz

    I didn’t realize the City was sponsoring and controlling this event? OH WAIT. They are not, so calm yourselves. It is a one-day event. The worst that can happen=lots of arrests=lots of bail $ for the City. The best that can happen=people have a good time and spend some money in our downtown area!

  • ekwaykway

    I been a big fan of RMG for years. Do my best to make the fest. :-)

  • golfingirl

    Really? Such a classless idiot!

  • Julia Weaver

    Not sure how up to date Lorain County residents are on Cleveland News but here’s what Mr. French has been up to:

    http://www.cleveland.com/court-justice/index.ssf/2014/05/courts_over_for_rover_shock_jo.html