Beefed up budget for Rocktoberfest approved

Rocktoberfest’s second year will feature Minnesota artists with a touch of national fame: Chris Hawkey, Kat Perkins, Jesse Larson, and the Shane Martin Band.

Contributions, EDA budgeting, and grant will cover experimental stage setup

As fall draws closer, an ever-clearer picture of what this year’s Rocktoberfest will look like comes forward. The Rockford City Council again reviewed details and contracts for the event at its Aug. 22 regular meeting.

Contracts have been typed up for the headlining acts to perform Saturday, Oct. 7. This year’s dual stage setup will feature the talents of:

  • Kat Perkins, Rocktoberfest alum and top 5 finisher on NBC’s The Voice Season 6.
  • Chris Hawkey, popular Twin Cities country performer and radio co-host of KFAN’s Powertrip Morning Show.
  • Jesse Larson, fourth place finisher on last spring’s season of The Voice, Minneapolis native and guitarist of #MPLS.
  • The Shane Martin Band, a country-rock outfit whose bandleader is also an Albertville native.

The planning committee is still considering the addition of two more local acts.

The first Rocktoberfest, held at Riverside Park last year, brought out sturdy numbers despite bitterly cold weather. The council seemed optimistic that after a year of working out the kinks, Rocktoberfest will be back and better than ever.

Councilor Rick Martinson was hopeful that Rocktoberfest could “grow teeth” in the coming years and anchor itself as a new Rockford tradition.
The event budget was reviewed, and council was asked for direction on how much money to allow to be taken from the EDA fund.

Rocktoberfest 2017 will cost $28,000 in stage and production. Incidental expenses like cost for materials to market the event are not included. The city’s Economic Development Authority budgeted $20,000 for the event, and 25% of income the fire department and historical society make at the event will also be taken. Based on last year’s turnout and this year’s stage updates, that 25% is projected to total around $3,500. A donation/grant was also given to the city in the amount of $50,000. The donor asked that the remaining funds be used for the hockey rink at Riverside Park.
According to Madsen, last year’s event cost between $18,000 and $20,000.

This year’s cost is a departure from last year largely due to the grant. As a result, the city was able to experiment with the second stage to cut down on setup time. Described as “Battle of the Bands”-style, the stages will face each other on opposite ends of the park.

“I say take advantage of the stages while we’re able to,” said councilor Debbie Buoy. “We might not always be able to pay for two but let’s give it a try.”

The question of weather protection was again raised. City Administrator Madsen said staff had decided against a large tent last year due to cost.

Councilor Rick Martinson reasoned that October weather warrants some additional spending to keep attendees warm, like propane heaters or fire pits. Madsen recommended councilors add the issue to the agenda of a future meeting.

Councilors approved a Rocktoberfest budget of $28,500 with no more than $11,000 coming from their EDA fund, with the rest coming from RAHS, Rockford Fire, and donation contributions. The artist contracts were also approved.

With this approval artist contracts can be signed and marketing for the concert can begin.


The City Council also:

HEARD a Q2 update from the Rockford Area Historical Society. Director Dustin Bardon told council that a noticeable leaning of the garage will likely prompt a cheap fix for now, with more ambitious reparations in the future.

ACCEPTED the resignation of Mike Hoppe, public works employee. Hoppe was a temporary 2015 hire due for review in Oct., and “an asset all the way around” according to Public Works Director Trevor Brummer.

HEARD the Hurstwoods 4th Addition will be under construction starting after Labor Day. Communication will be sent out from the city warning nearby residents of incoming heavy machinery, and temporary water shutoffs. “It will be a busy area this fall,” said City Engineer Jared Ward.

HEARD from that all crack filling on roads has been completed.

THANKED residents, committee members, and volunteers for coming out to the 2017 Rockford River Days.