Rockford's On the Waterfront is no more. The Rockford Register-Star reports the 29-year-old festival is $344,000 in debt. The newspaper says organizers this week will begin notifying hundreds of sponsors, volunteers and nonprofit groups of the cancellation.
The number of festival passes declined 11 percent last year for the annual Labor Day concerts. Other community groups are looking into organizing a similar event on a smaller scale.
Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President John Groh tells WNIJ his group is willing to assist the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Authority (RAVE) as they determine how to develop new festivals and events.
"We've been in discussion with them about that, but the discussions are in a very early stage so I wouldn't want to speculate on what that might look like. I'm hopeful and confident that something will rise up in its place, and as such I don't think there will be a negligible impact on restaurants/bars/shops. There is a lot of resurgence and revival right now in downtown Rockford. And, while unfortunate, OTW's announcement provides an opportunity for a new experiential event to emerge that will continue the renascence we are seeing." - John Groh