Rockin' on the River could be searching for a new home

CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio -- One of Northeast Ohio's oldest and most successful summer concert series, Rockin' on the River in Cuyahoga Falls, could be on the move. Don Walters, the new mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, has set up a committee to choose what event will occupy Falls River Square next summer.

Rockin' on the River has built to a crowd upwards of 6,000 to the city every Friday during the summer for the last 28 years. Walters agrees that there are no known problems with the event, but says that a new transparent approach needs to be taken by the city government.

He is opening up to proposals from other promoters, and will let a group of seven men and women decide on what's best for the city based on data, not history.

The Rockin' on the River brand is owned by current promoter, Bob Earley. He says he has the event down to a science after running it for 11 years, but even if the committee ultimately chose him again for next year, there wouldn't be time to plan it properly. Unless something changes, he won't submit a proposal for 2015.

Now, Earley is planning meetings with other cities to start Monday.

"In the last 36 hours, we've had four communities already contact us, so we don't know where we're going," said Earley. "We were shocked, we were hurt, but this is an opportunity for us also."

Most residents that Channel 3 talked to had few suggestions for the event, including Joe Kleon, a concert photographer who watched Rockin' on the River evolve over the past few decades.

"I see relatively no problems," said Kleon. "I see 5,000 people have a great time down here every week and it just doesn't seem like its broke so I don't know why it needs to be fixed."

Earley thinks the festival is synonymous with the community.

"A lot of people in Cuyahoga Falls may or may not like this, but if you say Cuyahoga Falls, they say Rockin' on the River," said Earley.

Mayor Walters says he'll put out the request for proposals in August, and will organize the committee together to consider its moves in the coming weeks.

Follow WKYC's Sara Shookman on Twitter: @SaraShoookman


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