US festival RoSfest becomes casualty of Covid pandemic

(Image credit: RoSfest)

The popular US progressive rock festival RoSfest, or Rites Of Spring Festival, has announced it is saying "goodbye for now" after the Covid-19 pandemic and the increased difficulty for overseas bands to get the required permits  and increased running costs are among the reasons the festival is bowing out, for now.

In a statement on the festival website and social media pages, organiser George Roldan states: "The Rites of Spring Festival says “Goodbye, for now.

RoSfest has been a treasure in the progressive rock world for the last 17 years and it has been my privilege to produce and host one of the best progressive rock music festivals in the world, but RoSfest will officially end its 16-year run in 2020. Dedicated to delivering the highest level of talent, production, and timing is central to what RoSfest represented; an outlet for a niche genre called progressive rock that provided a venue for new up and coming artists from around the globe.

Running a music festival can be breathtakingly rewarding, but also quite expensive due to production, insurance, venue rental, hotel rental, staff accommodations, band expenses, vehicle rentals, etc. Additionally, the US government has made it harder and harder to acquire permits for working artists from around the world to perform in the US. Increasing artist permit requirements and fees makes it almost impossible for young bands to travel abroad. RoSfest has been a labor of love but has been struggling financially for years and can’t survive another “Covid” crisis. Unfortunately, we are not able to keep operating the festival at a loss.

On a personal note, I feel so lucky to have been part of this organisation. To work with such an incredible staff and dedicated volunteers and to interact with the best Progressive audiophiles in the world. RoSfest has been magical and could not have existed without YOU... the best and most supportive audience anyone could hope for. Without such an incredible community, RoSfest would not have been possible. I am so thankful for all of your support and dedication throughout our festival years.

RoSfest will continue its core mission to support the art of progressive rock and may surprise you (at some point) with a special concert in the future. But for now, with tearful heartfelt thanks from all of us at RoSfest, it’s been an honour to interact with such accomplished and inspiring musicians and music lovers in the progressive rock community.

In the words of RoSfest’s production manager, Kevin Madrishin, 'We did it right!'."

RoSfest began in 2004 at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in 2004, with the likes of Jadis, RPWL and IZZ on the bill. The festival moved to the Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Pennsylvania in 2008 and more recently to the Sarasota Opera House in Florida in 2019.

Over the years the festival played host to a wealth of progressive rock talent from around the world including Arena, Magenta, The Tangent, Kino, Pallas, The Pineapple Thief, Pendragon, Starcastle, Crack The Sky, Nektar, BJH, Renaissance, The Flower Kings, Riverside, Neal Morse, Moon Safari, Caravan and many more.

This year's festival, which had already been cancelled due to Covid-19, was to feature Big Big Train, Thank You Scientist, Pattern-Seeking Animals, The Tea Club, Cast and more.

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.