Rockapalooza festival found a loud and brash niche Jackson can support – The Jackson Citizen Patriot

RockapaloozaMushroomhead performs during Rockapalooza at the Jackson County Fairgrounds Saturday, June 22. (Andrew Kuhn |

The death of the six-year-old Rockapalooza music festival has lessons for Jackson, but not the lesson cited by the promoter who canceled the gig.

“Jackson’s economy doesn’t support this event,” said Tim Corser, who invented the annual festival.

We reach the opposite conclusion after looking at what Rockapalooza and Corser managed to accomplish since 2008.

Rockapalooza started as a street festival that lured about 3,500 people downtown on Mechanic Street.

Within two years, it grew enough to move to the fairgrounds, where the crowd this year was estimated at 20,000.

If 20,000 people buy tickets to anything, that’s good evidence Jackson’s economy can support the event.

Rockapalooza brought up to 100 bands to the fairgrounds to perform all day on several stages. Most were local or regional groups, with a sprinkling of nationally-known acts.

Bands with names like Saliva, Hurt and Psychostick played loud music to a young crowd. If nothing else, Rockapalooza countered the familiar complaint that Jackson has nothing for young people to do. The older set ought to thank Corser for that.

Crowd growth was visible to the naked eye almost annually, and it strained the promoter’s organizational skills.

Exceptionally long lines this year forced patrons to wait up to an hour to buy food and beverages. From a promotional standpoint, that’s a failure to maximize revenues. From an audience standpoint, it was understandable reason to complain bitterly.

Corser has been charged with allegedly writing bad checks to two festival vendors, although he said that has nothing to do with his decision to end Rockapalooza. Maybe not, but it obviously is no sign of financial stability.

Over six years, Rockapalooza tapped into a niche Jackson and the surrounding region did support. Twenty thousand customers mean something.

With the right management and organization, this kind of music festival can work in Jackson.