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Promoter Bob Earley says his summer concert series, Rockin' on the River, will "officially" come to an end on Aug. 29 in Cuyahoga Falls, according to a press release issued Wednesday, Aug. 20, by Earley and his wife and business partner, Sandy Earley.
"We sincerely want to thank all of you who have supported the fight to keep Rockin' on the River in Cuyahoga Falls, but after talking to the chairman of the new festival committee this week, we were informed that there will be several changes for the 2015 season pertaining to the Friday night concert series. These include shortening of hours and committee input on both entertainment and vendors. Being that we fund the entire event, we find this unacceptable. It is therefore obvious to us that it's time to find a new home."
Earley has been contacted by officials in several communities located in Summit, Stark and Cuyahoga counties inquiring about the relocation of Rockin' on the River which draws over 100,000 visitors annually, according to the release. Early has to make a decision on where he will move ROTR by October in order to organize the 2015 season, it said.
On Monday, Aug. 18, Mike Dunton, chairman of the Festival Review Committee told a crowd of 100 people the committee was not assembled by Mayor Don Walters to discontinue Rockin' on the River or oust its promoter,
"We need a review. We need to see what we're doing with this $5 million site [Falls River Square]," Dunton said. "We need to make sure the site is being best used for the citizens." Dunton, who is the city's fire marshal, said there are rumors being spread through social media that the city wants to stop hosting Rockin' on the River. He said that was not true.
"We're not here to terminate Rockin' on the River," Dunton said. "… We don't want it to go away. We just want to review it and see if we're going in the right direction."
More than 20 people from the audience spoke at the meeting, many saying ROTR should remain and adults need the Friday night concerts to unwind after the work week. Others said the music is too loud and many of the concert-goers drink too much at the event and cause trouble and damage at establishments on Front Street. One local resident who spoke out against ROTR was booed by many in the audience.
The Festival Review Committee is seeking proposals from individuals and groups interested in staging Friday night concerts on Falls River Square. Dunton said Aug. 18 that so far they had not received any proposals. Mike Thomas, chairman of the local Oktoberfest said during the meeting he and the heads of the Irish Festival and Festa Italiana want to jointly run the Friday night concerts.