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Rothbury 2009 Preview

Maija Gustin | Monday, April 27, 2009

The Rothbury Music Festival is very young in age but grand in stature and mission. The first festival was held at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan on the 4th of July weekend in 2008. Even in its first year, Rothbury was a huge success, drawing an estimated 50,000 attendees. The Rothbury experience is unique in its firm dedication to both an exciting live music experience and to creating a better world. It is a festival with a message. It is this dedication that has drawn some of music’s greatest artists, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Frank Zappa and Trey Anastasio to such a new festival. Rothbury’s 2008 lineup was a tribute to its commitment to excellence. Acts such as Zappa Plays Zappa, Snoop Dogg, Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, of Montreal, Modest Mouse, Citizen Cope, The Secret Machines, Slightly Stoopid, Crystal Castles, Trey Anastasio, Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson and John Mayer gave Rothbury the fantastic music experience that it promised. Many have compared Rothbury to Bonnaroo, a popular music festival in Tennessee. While they share similarities, such as the people and artists they attract, Rothbury doesn’t aim to be the new Bonnaroo. Rather, Rothbury aims to revolutionize the music festival by actively incorporating music with environmental issues. Rothbury specifically aims to create its own social movement towards fighting climate change and discovering clean energy alternatives. And these goals aren’t just talk; Rothbury features a Think Tank and an Epicenter Fair dedicated to these important causes. The festival supports active dialogue between all, from experts to festival attendees, seeking new ways to help the environment. The festival also creates a special team of cleanup crew responsible for zero-waste recycling on festival grounds. The festival is also dedicated to other forms of live entertainment, including theater and circus acts. Musical performances are integrated with live theatrical performances at every turn. These may include anything from a Masquerade Ball to an aerial performance in the treetops. Rothbury also exhibits art created entirely from reused, recycled and natural materials. Rothbury promises to have an exciting sophomore year. The lineup is impressive, featuring Bob Dylan and His Band, The Dead, The String Cheese Incident, Willie Nelson and Family, The Black Crowes, Damien “Jr. Gong” Marley and Nas, STS9, G. Love and Special Sauce, Broken Social Scene, Les Claypool, Chromeo, Ani DiFranco, MSTRKRFT, Girl Talk, Guster, Flogging Molly, The Hold Steady, Zappa Plays Zappa and many more. Rothbury is also showing the same dedication to its green initiatives, offering things such as carbon-offset donations for individual travelers and another great Think Tank. Rothbury sits near the east bank of Lake Michigan about halfway through the state. For those stuck on campus this summer, the trip is only about two and a half hours and will surely be an exciting addition to any summer in South Bend. Tickets, directions, the full lineup and other important information can be found at the festival’s Web site.