December 22, 2014

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Lorain eyes future events at Black River Landing

Lorain city workers clean up from Saturday’s Roverfest. EVAN GOODENOW/CHRONICLE

Lorain city workers clean up from Saturday’s Roverfest. EVAN GOODENOW/CHRONICLE

LORAIN — The $5,200 rental fee the Lorain Port Authority received for Saturday’s Roverfest concert was a fraction of the ticket revenue, but Rick Novak isn’t complaining.

Novak said the concert’s long-term benefits will exceed the rental fee. Because the show at Black River Landing occurred with no major hitches, Novak said the site is more likely to attract bigger future acts drawing thousands more people to Lorain.

“The goal was basically to make sure we could do an event of this nature,” Novak said Monday as workers cleaned up the site at 421 Black River Lane. “We pulled it off.”

The annual concert, hosted by Cleveland-based WMMS radio shock jock Shane “Rover” French, featured rappers and a beauty contest. Chris Tyler, WMMS program director, didn’t answer emailed questions Monday, but the show drew an estimated 15,000 people.

Roverfest drew the biggest crowd so far.

At $25 per person, that works out to about $375,000 in ticket revenue, not including parking revenue which the promoter also received. WMMS is owned by San Antonio, Texas-based Clear Channel Communications. The company, which bills itself as one of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, earned $6.2 billion in revenue last year, according to its website.

Clear Channel will pay for electricity, security and water for the show — water tanks were used to help stabilize concert stages — as well as for the cleanup. Lorain’s cost for the concert, which includes fire and police services and water, is about $40,000, said Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler.

The concerts have a rowdy reputation, but safety concerns turned out to be unfounded. Police reported just three arrests and there were no major injuries. About 50 police officers were on hand in addition to private security.

About 30 people were injured at the concert, said Herb de la Porte, LifeCare Ambulance vice president. Ten people were hospitalized for non-life-threatening injuries, mainly related to mosh pits around the stages and stage diving.

Novak said the $5,200 fee is standard and about $1,200 more than was paid by Clear Channel for last year’s concert in Cleveland. He said it has been waived for some groups in the past who couldn’t afford it, such as organizers of the Lorain International Festival.

Since Black River Landing opened in 2003, Novak said thousands of people have attended events. An Eagles cover band drew about 6,000 last year and a Queen cover band drew about 5,000 in June.

Novak said it’s up to city officials and the authority Board of Directors whether to host Roverfest next year if organizers want to return.

He added that other than minor glitches, organizers did a “phenomenal” job. Novak said many of the concertgoers he spoke with said it was their first visit to Lorain and he believes they liked what they saw.

“I think we’ll get people coming back,” he said. “That’s what we want.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 oregoodenow@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter at @egoodenowct.