File photo of the Rothbury Music Festival in 2008.
Rothbury, Mich (WZZM) -- Rothbury 2010 may be canceled, but the small town is not taking this summer off. Some business leaders in Rothbury have decided, in the absence of the big event, to create a smaller home-grown music festival to fill the gap.
"It is more of a homegrown type concert. You know, hire more people from the area. Instead of having security people coming in on a bus for $8 from the Detroit area hire people in this area. We have a lot of unemployment," says Don McCormick, the owner of Lucky Lake Campground Outdoor Center in Rothbury.
As soon as word spread that the festival would be canceled this year, those business owners like McCormick started brainstorming of a way to keep the Rothbury buzz alive. That's because this event has become more than a festival. It's the source of a major infusion of cash into the area.
For the past two summers the festival has attracted tens of thousands of music lovers to West Michigan along with their money.
"It's a big boost. I've talked to people from truck stops down to I-94 and I-96. They've had some of the best weeks they've had during the festival," said McCormick. "There are dollars that come in from Texas, and New York and Colorado and all over. Those dollars are going to stay in Texas and Colorado. They won't be coming to the Michigan area. This isn't just about Rothbury. It's about Muskegon and up and down the shoreline."
McCormick says it came as a major blow when festival organizers announced Friday they were canceling the 2010 concert. He immediately started brainstorming a way to keep the Rothbury buzz alive.
"Ah, it was like somebody squashed your puppy. Oh the excuse that there is not talent available. I immediately started doing some checking with the people I know and started talking to various people and it just didn't sound like that was the real reason. There seems to be plenty of talent available," he said.
McCormick and other business leaders want to use that talent to put on a scaled-down and less expensive version of the event.
"We can continue the buzz on a smaller scale for a smaller price and then when 2011 rolls around welcome the promoter, Madison House, back with open arms. Or if they have a problem even then, we'll already have somebody who has already one year of experience," said McCormick. "We can probably locate promoters. There is contractual staff that actually puts on 99 percent of what the festival is."
McCormick says they've already created something special with Rothbury, now they just have to find a way to keep it alive.
"I talked to one of the primary owners this morning. And there are multiple owners so they have to sit down and make an agreement between them on what they want to do. We have probably a couple of weeks for the owners of the Double JJ Ranch to say yeah we want to proceed with something on a smaller scale this year or no we are going to wait for next year," says McCormick. "I don't want to burn bridges with Madison House I just want to have an option of doing something to keep the Rothbury Festival alive and well in everybody's minds. There are just so many options that we have. We're here. We are not going anywhere. Let's have a party."