Bob Camp will never go away

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Love him or hate him Bob Camp has been a fixture on the local music scene for years. With the River City Music Festival (formerly City of Roses) on the horizon, Camp (one of the event's founders) aired his provocative views on the state of the festival today to Banned Promotions' Randy Mallet.

BP: Most people may not know that you were very influential in starting up the City of Roses Music Festival years ago. Can you tell us about that, and how the festival started?

BC: I DID start the City of Roses Festival. I had spent years working on major festivals and producing events in Memphis and Nashville. It was my idea to create a festival that would become profitable enough to afford a full-time producer.

Me and Bill Shivelbine had a vague idea about a blues festival, but no real plan. Later that year I was staying in Memphis and working on the staff of the Crossroads Music Festival. Bill and company played that one gig in Memphis and seemed to have a good time. After that, he was prepared to support my idea for the City of Roses Festival.

A fellow musician, Fara McSpadden, had some experience promoting bluegrass/folk festivals in Van Buren, Mo., and expressed interest in volunteering as an assistant. That was the original City of Roses Music Heritage Association, Fara, Bill and myself. I borrowed $25 from Don who owned The Record Store" on Broadway and applied for a not-for-profit license from the State of Missouri.

My original plan was for a three-day event, Thursday through Saturday. Day one: Local awards banquet. Day two: Downtown Walk-A-Round. Day three: Day long concert featuring national recording acts.

From the start I made it adamantly clear that I expected a salary of $500 weekly for my efforts, but would wait until the festival started creating a profit before collecting any income. By the end of the first year, Shivelbine was in denial of my claim to future profits and had claimed control of the festival. I was not a happy Camper when I distanced myself from the event. After that I've watched it with a jaundiced eye. It has never came close to becoming the event that I had envisioned.

BP: Yeah, there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the CORMF in recent years -- what's your take on the festival these days?

BC: Yeah ... uh ... whatever.

Check out the entire interview at

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: