Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rhythm & Roots puts out relocation feelers

Update: This head-scratcher of a story took another strange turn. Festival honcho Chuck Wentworth outright denied publicist Giurleo's comments about fee increases and policing issues, but he did not deny that the festival is looking at a possible move in 2009. HIs message to the festival's official email list did not say what other reasons are driving management's thinking. One thing is sure—Chuck and his PR rep ought to get their stories straight.

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With local officials considering a significant fee increase for use of Ninigret Park in Charleston RI by music festivals, the producers of the popular Rhythm & Roots Festival, held Labor Day weekend at the beachfront park, have made public that they are considering other options.

The producers' other big event, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, was forced to find and move to a new location on short notice this year after its long-time venue was sold to new owners. At this point, everything is on track for a successful debut on the new Grey Fox site at Walsh Farm in Oak Hill NY on July 17-20.

According to Rhythm & Roots publicist Ellen Giurleo, "The bottom line is we want to stay at Ninigret. The festival has invested plenty of money to make improvements in the park for it to be festival-worthy, and [we] hope for it to be a permanent home for Rhythm & Roots."

Some festival-goers have complained about an increased police presence in the Ninigret campgrounds at last year's festival, possibly an overreaction to problems at a reggae festival held on the site earlier last summer. In addition to their concerns about the fees, the festival may be seeking reassurances that police will have a lower profile.

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