September 17, 2014

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Lorain authority board OK’d Roverfest profanities

T-Pain performs at Black River Landing during Roverfest as an audience member crowd-surfs near the stage. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

T-Pain performs at Black River Landing during Roverfest as an audience member crowd-surfs near the stage. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

LORAIN — F-bombs were dropped onstage at Saturday’s Roverfest concert at Black River Landing, but no one took shelter.

The profanity probably came as no surprise to fans of the annual Cleveland-area concert, which features sometimes raunchy rap, strippers and plenty of beer. The show was hosted by Cleveland-based WMMS-FM radio shock jock Shane “Rover” French of Avon. WMMS is owned by Clear Channel Communications, a San Antonio, Texas-based media giant.

While critics of the onstage behavior and language say it was inappropriate for Lorain, the Lorain Port Authority, which runs the site, was aware it was coming. The authority’s Board of Directors lifted the authority’s ban on “offensive, distasteful or inappropriate” music at the behest of French, according to Rick Novak, authority executive director.

“The board was aware that there was going to be obscene language and, in this case, they allowed it,” Novak said Wednesday adding that the board also allowed a different distributor to supply beer.

Novak said when profanity has been used onstage in the past, including by members of the Rat Pack, a Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. tribute band, performers were told to stop. He said the exception was a business decision based on hopes of showcasing the site and downtown Lorain for possible future shows.

Board president Carl Nielsen couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, but board member Barbara Cook said she wasn’t aware of what type of event Roverfest was when she cast her vote. Cook said she was unsure if she would vote to lift the ban again if Roverfest returns.

Novak said no decision has been made on whether the show will return. Chris Tyler, WMMS program director, didn’t return a call or email Wednesday.

Some 15,000 people paid $25 each to attend. Novak said many attended previous Roverfest concerts and knew what to expect.

“If people were offended, I don’t think they would’ve sold out,” he said.

Despite heavy drinking and rowdiness, there were few arrests and no serious injuries at the concert. However, Lorain activist and Roverfest critic Denise Caruloff said Roverfest degraded Lorain and lifting the ban set a bad precedent. She said the authority could be accused of discrimination in the future if it banned behavior for some acts and not others.

“When you open Pandora’s box, you can’t close it,” she said. “If you do it for one, do you have to do it for all?”

Novak said decisions on lifting the ban would be made on a case-by-case basis. He said Roverfest was good for downtown businesses and the city.

While the $5,200 authority rental fee for the site was a fraction of an estimated $375,000 in ticket revenue, Clear Channel, which earned $6.2 billion in revenue last year, will reimburse the city for all concert costs. The bill is expected to be roughly $40,000, according to Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler.

Lorain and the authority didn’t get a cut of the ticket or parking revenue, but Novak said some downtown businesses profited. Will Castro, Scorchers Casual Eatery & Draft House co-owner, said his restaurant was “extremely busy” Saturday and concert-goers were well behaved.

Castro said he hopes Roverfest leads to more downtown concerts and he hopes Roverfest returns. Castro supports lifting the ban.

“If you’re going to Roverfest, you kind of know what to expect,” he said. “If you didn’t want to hear that, then you just don’t go.”

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


  • Mark B

    The F Bombs and the N word only started when a certain color of performers were on stage, if you can actually call them performers. Not to mention them constantly holding their crotch.. Crabs Maybe ?

    • Guest

      OMG. Just let it go already! You’re a nutcase & need to get a life. You complain about anything & everything. You weren’t there so, it didn’t affect you. If you were there, you’re a hypocrite! The profanity used is heard everyday on the streets! Just let it go!

      • Guest

        Sorry Mark B! That post was meant for Denise, not you! I just posted in the wrong place! So sorry!

    • michelle

      I have been to alot of live shows in my life and the use of that word knows no color. Chill.

  • 2muchgovernment

    OMG. Just let it go already! You’re a nutcase & need to get a life. You complain about anything & everything. You weren’t there so, it didn’t affect you. If you were there, then you’re a hypocrite! If you think this is the first time profanity has been used at Black River Landing, you’re even dumber than you sound. Just let it go!

    • 2muchgovernment

      What’s up with disquis?! I tried to delete my reply to Mark B since it wasn’t meant for him. It showed deleted so I posted where I wanted to, but then my so-called deleted post shows up anyway but under Guest but can’t be deleted! WTH!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.holbrook.90 Pat Holbrook

    F bombs? is this a story who cares.

  • Sis Delish

    Sinatra and Rat Pack: BAD
    Rap Artists/Strippers: GOOD

    There’s the Change your President Promised… Congrats!

    • stop ur whining part deux

      Well the guy is blamed for everything else so why not rap music. One sheep, two sheep, red sheep, blue sheep.

    • in2ition

      Does everything in your world need a political overtone?

      • Sis Delish

        When a Political body like the Port Authority in Lorain decides to selectively censor one group and not another, it becomes a glaring overtone of political stink, agree?

        • Freedom4All

          It’s about time people of color can actually do something in any city! Censoring is unethical. Who gets to decide what should be censored or not? We don’t get to censor our minds when Lorain city schools pollute our youth with robot techniques and brainwashing!? Or how our city treats people with no homes.. Roverfest wasn’t anything compared to everyday life in this city. Chill out as the youth would say!

        • michelle

          Oh please go away. Things worked out, and I was pleasantly surprised and happy.

  • Bob

    “While critics of the onstage behavior and language say it was inappropriate for Lorain”

    That made me laugh. Knowing what i know about gangs, drugs and random gun fire that happen almost daily in Lorain. I think what happened on stage at Roverfest was quite tame compared to what usually happens in Lorain on a Saturday.

  • stop ur whining part deux

    So we are clear this is Lorain we are talking about and not the wonderful land of OZ. That area is the only decent part of that Lorain. Stroll down any other Lorain street (at your own risk) and you will hear that and much worse, heck you may not make it back alive. My best friend lives 5 blocks from there and I refuse to go to his house because the neighborhood is so bad.

    “Lorain activist and Roverfest critic Denise Caruloff said Roverfest degraded Lorain and lifting the ban set a bad precedent.” Degraded Lorain, really, this is where you are going to make a stance on the pride of Lorain? What about the burnt our houses, drug infused neighborhoods, rampant crime, murders?

  • Chrystal Woods

    Are u ppl serious, Lorain needs to get on the map. Stop being so judgemental bc you are doing nothing to help this city out. We lost the casino bc of ppl crying and complaining. Bc of roverfest we have possibilities of hosting other events here. Curse words are just another form of a word that you might be offended by… get over yourselves and stop messing stuff up for the rest of us who live here and want to see Lorain come up……

    • Sis Delish

      Lorain is on the Map… for drugs and crime.

      • in2ition

        And you are on the internet posing as someone’s “delicious sister.”

        • Sis Delish

          You trying to censor me?

  • Kit

    Every generation thinks how terrible the world/music/social moors of society is compared to THEIR generation. How much better things were ‘then’…..and so the current age is compared to the past. I have a tendency towards that attitude and really have to catch myself. That concert was good for Lorain. Would I go to that kind of concert? Nope/Not/Nada
    I live in the country and have to go up ‘that’ way (Lorain/Elyria) for business. I sigh relief every time I get out alive. Would I go to Roverfest? Not on your life, but I think it’s good for Lorain County since it all worked out fine.
    I think the major problem is a difference of opinion as to what constitutes good music and proper language. I cringe when I hear rap/hiphop and that whole genre but hey, it’s a new generation. *Sigh* Oh, for the good ole days!

    • michelle

      I like some rap. SOME. Not that I go out of my way but some of it is pretty good. Snoop Dogg for one.

    • jz

      “I sigh relief every time I get out alive”. Your sarcasm or you are exaggerating right?

  • GreatRedeemer

    I’ll admit that I am biased and rarely if ever curse and certainly not a public event. I don’t like people that use foul language around me nor in a public area. This same business decision that allowed this behavior would not be tolerated by the boards children, grandchildren. Nor would it be tolerated in the workplace, in fear of a hostile lawsuit. Yet, Here it is, frankly I’m truly disappointed in this and I bet many are. It’s a bad precedent.

    I’m curious on one thing though, what is the dollar figure that bends political
    decorum to toleration of the toilet mouth. I presume all future events will be
    afforded this same opportunity, to buy the cussing package.

    • golfingirl

      The price has been set at $5200.

      Oh, and the infinite “good will” such an event brings to Lorain.

    • Kit

      “..what is the dollar figure that bends political
      decorum to toleration of the toilet mouth…”

      Recognition for Lorain as an “in” place….that it’s more than a gang-infested dump…that there are events that will come to the city. It will take more than Roverfest to make that happen but it’s a start.

  • Lord Sandwich

    I did not hear the offensive language, as I stayed as far away as possible. Unfortunately, I hear the same language shouted regularly from people walking down the street outside my Lorain house. This is how they talk. Vulgar and loud.

  • Joe Flabetz

    Nice, board member cast her vote without understanding who/what Roverfest was. Now that’s a good board member – uninformed and following like a good political patronage appointment should do.

  • Carolyn S.

    Sounds about right for Lorain, Instead of complaining about the Language, why not bring up the fact most of Lorain is not safe to venture into, why not CLEAN the streets up, the language might follow!

  • BooneDawg

    The city of lorain should be happy anyone came to that city…seriously

  • http://www.roverradio.com Rover

    Yes, “Lorain activist” Denise Caruloff is terribly offended by that type of language. Here’s an email the genteel Ms. Caruloff sent me on June 20:

    “You piece of garbage..why the f*** didn’t you block out when
    your tomash rob said “honey I lost the kids” you think that was funny? You
    rotten piece of s***…I hope you rot in hell…you have no shame …you are
    garbage….as I say garbage in…and garbage out…boy ….would be awful if for your cell number got out there…”

    Just one of many she’s sent in through the years. While most people avoid things they don’t like, she actively seeks them out. My show – she’s been listening and emailing for years. RoverFest – she watched the entire 10-hour webstream. Denise is the type of person who hates broccoli…but eats it everyday just so she can complain how terrible it is. Why your newspapers print a word she says is a mystery to me.

    To the other 99.99% of you in Lorain, thanks for the help and support – I hope you enjoyed the show and we made your city proud! I’ll now let you get back to more important things.

    • HankKwah

      Thanks for considering Lorain, Mr. French. Glad the event went off better than most of us anticipated, including myself. Know that Denise does NOT represent the city in any way, shape or form, whatsoever. And you’ve pretty much got her pegged in your description. Hope you’ll keep us in mind for future events.

    • michelle

      That’s way too funny! Ms. Caruloff, who I have known peripherally for many years, is a piece of work. Ignore.

    • jz

      Wow. Some crazy broad. I,m glad the event turned out well. I,m 59 and remember the concerts in Cleveland back in the 70′s. Coming form the Beatles, Stones, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Santana, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Fleetwood Mac, Chrissy Hynde, Doors etc. genre. Nobody sounded close to anyone else. The creativity and uniqueness of each bands sound was off the charts. I have to chime in on all the F bomb and grabbing the crotches complaints. A group of us old timers got together last week and someone exclaimed, we had the best drugs, best music, best looking chics. We were spoiled in more ways than just that because the previous generations worked so hard so we could have it better. I just wish your generation could be a little more artistic, creative and musical with your entertainment. I don,t mind sounding like my dad at this stage, but, no matter how objective one trys to be, you guys could kick it up a notch or two with the quality of music. If even one entertainer could get up there and move the crowd with a piano or guitar, Like Neil Young playing “Old Man” on the piano in front of 88,000 people and you could hear a pin drop. That being said I was glad to see all the naysayers/doomsdayers eat crow.

      • Sis Delish

        Sheryl Crow?

      • michelle

        Actually, there are alot of very talented groups out there. You just have to listen to satellite radio. It’s quite a treat to the ears.

        • jz

          I,m sure there are Michelle. A few yeas ago a friend took me to a concert at House Of Blues. The band was called Tragically Hip. They are from Canada. From what I gathered there were/are a lot of fans who travel great lengths to their concerts, kinda like the old Grateful Dead fans who followed them all over.

    • Jeff

      As Degeneration X would say.Ms.Caruloff I have two words for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Exposing Trolls

      She is akin to Golfingirl, a troll on here, but not our current focus.

  • HankKwah

    board member Barbara Cook said she wasn’t aware of what type of event Roverfest was when she cast her vote.

    ——–

    Um, shouldn’t you know? Shouldn’t you be doing your homework and research BEFORE you cast a vote?

    In the grand scheme of things, I’m glad Roverfest went as well as it did. But the above statement is kind of indicative of the way this city gets run. Wake up, city and port admin!! Get your $4i# together. :)

    • michelle

      I would venture to say Ms. Cook was probably giving a political answer……

      • HankKwah

        Political or not, it still makes her look like she doesn’t take her responsibility seriously.

  • jz

    Based on what Novak says, there were enough people already familiar with the acts and since they were not offended before, therefore the same folks would not be offended at Lorains Roverfest. Kinda like if I,m interested in glorified pole dancers it would follow suit that I would be a fan of Miley Cyrus.

  • Wendy Cilnyk

    So someone was raped at a concert, numerous alcohol overdoses, one kid died after he was thought to be so intoxicated that he fell down a garbage chute…this was Roverfest right? No, it was a country concert where I am sure the on-stage profanities where kept at a minimum, if any. How many DWI arrests were there after Roverfest? Zero. How many reported sexual assaults were there? None. The person I came to Lorain with from Rochester got sick the morning of Roverfest and wouldn’t go. I was bummed, but I ended up going with two strangers I met at our hotel (I was DD). I was a little scared at first, me being a girl going with two guys, but they were so nice and respectful, made sure I didn’t get lost in the crowd, and I had a great time despite not drinking. Everyone there was awesome. This miserable lady can complain all the wants, but I hope it doesn’t stop Lorain from having Roverfest next year cause I want to plan better and stay in Lorain longer. The area we were in seemed very nice!

  • michelle

    Uh, yeah. I am.

  • GreatRedeemer

    Your nasty acronym , now that’s a class act.

  • michelle

    You failed miserably, as usual. In the spirit of this nonsensical arguement, go away. Please.