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RoverFest is back after a year's absence

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    Crews set up fencing and tents Tuesday for RoverFest. The annual RoverFest event will kick off at Black River Landing Saturday. According to the website, the event is sold out.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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WMMS-FM 100.7 morning show “Rover’s Morning Glory” returns to Lorain County with “RoverFest X,” which takes place Saturday at Black River Landing in Lorain.

Musical acts include Shinedown, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Jon, Big Boi, All That Remains and Red Sun Rising. Hosting the sold-out affair will be comedian Bert Kreischer.

“I’d say this is probably the strongest lineup we’ve had,” said Rover (real name Shane French), who has been on the Cleveland airwaves since 2003. “If you look at Shinedown, pretty much every single they put out goes to No. 1 on rock radio. Just having that band alone is big.

“Then adding Machine Gun Kelly, who is obviously a local hero, I think it’s going to be a great time.”

“RoverFest X” also includes the Miss Morning Glory contest and guest appearances by Rover and his on-air cohorts Duji and Dieter. Also scheduled are fireworks by American Fireworks.

In terms of economic impact for downtown Lorain, “RoverFest” in the past has attracted roughly 20,000 people to the area. Rover said that’s what he’s expecting this year.

“We did a lot of configuring in order to put the most number of people in there that we could, but we also don’t want it to be so packed where people can’t move around,” Rover said.

“It’s sort of a delicate dance to figure out and to get the most number of people.”

As far as Black River Landing is concerned, Rover said the “Roverfest X” requires quite a financial investment, upwards of $200,000, to build out the venue with temporary fencing, stage construction and more.

“If we were a concert promoter, it probably would be viewed as a potential moneymaking experience and we probably wouldn’t put the cost into it that we do,” Rover said. “We do a full video simulcast, we have a five-camera shoot with the giant LEDs.

“We’ve never lost money on ‘Roverfest,’ but we don’t make as much as people think by any stretch of the imagination because the expenses are so high. We also get the value out of having incredible branding, an incredible experience and an event people are coming to, which makes it worthwhile to us beyond any monetary amount.”

After “RoverFest” took 2017 off, Rover said he’s glad the festival is back.

“Well, people were really disappointed that we didn’t do it last year,” Rover said. “They’re very excited to be able to come out and enjoy the good entertainment and drinks lots of beer.”

When asked about returning next year, Rover laughed. “Well, it might kill me because it’s so much work goes into it. Talk to me in two months.”

Contact John Benson at ndiffrence@att.net.


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