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No Groove For Groovefest American Music Festival In 2009

CEDAR CITY, UT (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The 8th Groovefest American Music Festival would have been held this year June 24 – 29, but festival founder and director Tim Cretsinger says that this year it is not in the cards.

Cedar City’s Groovefest celebrated its 7th annual event this past June. But due to a lack of funds and the inability to secure enough local sponsorship, the 2009 festivities will not be held. The current economic situation that the country is experiencing has affected many businesses and events and organizers of Cedar City’s annual outdoor music festival have discovered that they are not immune.

“I have agonized over this for months and months,” explains Cretsinger, who also, along with his wife Lisa, own and operate Cedar’s only record store, Groovacious.

He states that he has talked with so many of Groovefest’s past sponsors and they are of the same mind set. They want to support the festival, but cannot commit to a pledge for advertising in June. And without those commitments, Cretsinger says he cannot put together a music festival.

Groovefest has always been free to the public – there is no admission fee; so the money to pay the fourteen plus musical acts that arrive from around the country are paid by the funds received from local sponsors who advertise with the festival, along with the vendor fees.

But it's not only the money.

“I need to spend the valuable time that I dedicate for nine months out of the year to trying to keep my business (in essence, my living) going, and if my time is too divided, I feel I will not be doing as much as I can to survive. I just feel like myself and so many others are struggling so much and to add some more struggles to the mix would not produce a very good event this year. But still, Groovefest has become the best festival in Cedar City and I want it to remain that way. I feel very bad but I am optimistic about our future,” Cretsinger said.

“What we are faced with is making some decisions that will ultimately help us to survive the impending gloomy 2009. We are tying to stay positive, but feel like if we do not make some very wise choices, our business could easily fail.”

One of those choices is to cancel the 2009 version of the Groovefest American Music Festival.

Tim has had to break the news to many of his customers and past vendors as they have asked about this years Groovefest. Some have suggested doing a smaller, whittled down version of the festival. But Cretsinger says that he has a problem with that.

“From my experience, you cannot become something of the stature of Groovefest and then do something on a smaller scale. You cannot be as big and exciting as we've become and then put on something that looks "half-done" and disappointing to those in attendance. Not only from the spectators view (especially those who may come from miles away), but also from the point of view of potential sponsors for 2010 and beyond. You don't want them coming and saying with a frown, ‘…so this is Groovefest, why did I come to see this, or why would I want to be a part of that?’ If I'm going to spend my time and energy on something, I want it to be the best.”

He went on to explain that he thinks it is simply better to cancel a year and regroup for 2010, than to put on a shoddy representation of what audiences have come to expect in a festival like Groovefest. He thinks that people will understand – that everyone knows what is going on in the world, and in addition, mentioned that regardless of whether or not the festival was scaled down, it would still cost money that simply did not exist.

According to Cretsinger, he has been informed by various booking agents and musicians that other festivals around the country are experiencing the same problems – even the ones that sell admission tickets. Festival organizers just have to tell people that there is not a budget this year and Groovefest is regrouping to put on a better show next year.

Groovefest began as a small parking lot concert in 2002 and has grown to a four-day event drawing crowds from all over the country experiencing attendance figures of 20,000 to 30,000 and beyond. With the main part of the festival being held in Cedar City’s Main Street Park, it has expanded over the years to various venues in the downtown area. The annual event has added more and more to the local economy, but that boon will just have to wait until next year as the music festival regroups and plans an even bigger and better event.

The 2008 Groovefest was captured on video by local musician Steven Swift and has been made available on DVD. The concert film is available at Groovacious, Braun Books and The Grind
Coffee House.

In lieu of Groovefest this year, festival-goers will have to be content to play the DVD and relive last year to enjoy the excitement that only an outdoor music festival like Groovefest can bring. If local businesses are willing to advertise and sponsor next year, it will be more than worth the wait, as the appeal and spirit of Groovefest continues to grow. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers