Chuck Wentworth’s yearly Rhythm & Roots tunes festival held a notable position in his big heart. The Charlestown new music pageant was in the hearts of a lot of supporters, also, which was fantastic.
But Wentworth’s real heartbeat was not terrific. It was irregular.
The festival’s 70-calendar year-previous founder and seemingly perennial organizer uncovered himself at chance past summertime in the midst of the hardest management job he’d ever encountered — due in significant part to the pandemic.
On the Saturday of the Labor Working day weekend party, his wife, Deb, informed him he was not himself. At the healthcare facility, the health professionals did not like his essential indicators. They admitted him.
On Wednesday, Wentworth announced that following a lot more than two decades, his household-operate audio fest has operate its training course. He cited assistance from his doctors and claimed the stresses of the yr-spherical career are also terrific.
The pageant, which drew an approximated 10,000 people today to 227-acre Ninigret Park about the holiday getaway weekend last 12 months, has been a key contributor to the late-summertime economy along Rhode Island’s southern shoreline.
“It’s a bittersweet selection that we designed,” claimed Wentworth, a South Kingstown resident and retired College of Rhode Island services supervisor. “On the 1 hand, I’m heading to overlook this right after 40 yrs of executing this. On the other hand, I know I can cease to acquire care of myself.”
Wentworth co-started Rhythm & Roots in 1998 and introduced it to Ninigret Park in 1999.
The fest grew from a gathering of no additional than 1,500 in 1998 to a key attraction. Crowds of about 4,000 persons collected at the venue on consecutive days previous calendar year, Wentworth mentioned.
He says he drew huge fulfillment from getting unfamiliar, gifted musicians, recruiting them for the pageant and unveiling their artistry to hundreds of appreciative lovers.
Alongside the way, he also derived excellent joy from the participation of his little ones and his nine grandchildren, who took on unique roles in the festival’s operation.
“I believe that’s the best memory I have,” he claimed.
“The vibe of the festival was just so laid again and loaded with songs and all of these accompanying things,” Wentworth said. “That’s what produced folks take pleasure in it so a lot.”
Some associates of his household have grappled with the temptation to consider to maintain the occasion heading with out Wentworth.
He states he does not regard that as appropriate with his children’s careers and his grandchildren’s pursuits in faculty.
“It usually takes somebody operating 365 days a year,” he mentioned.
In 2021, the festival experienced to scramble for insurance coverage. While well known with music fans, its COVID-19 specifications — possibly proof of vaccination or evidence of a negative test — extra complexity to the procedure.
Then a storm dumped 5 inches of rain on Charlestown just 24 hrs in advance of the predicted arrival of about 1,500 men and women at their weekend-prolonged campsites, suggests Wentworth.
Following his hospitalization, Wentworth compiled a lineup for the 2022 pageant.
Afterwards, he uncovered that the company that materials an important pageant element — tents — had gone out of business enterprise.
And he uncovered that four senior customers of his team had resigned. Then, the Rhythm & Roots web-site crashed.
Wentworth felt a couple pangs of that troublesome tension. He produced his decision, acknowledging that the demise of the fest would pack an economic punch. He known as it a “blow.”
He wrote an e mail.
“Regrettably, I am saying that Lagniappe Productions is suspending all functions straight away,” it says. “As a outcome, the 24th Yearly Rhythm & Roots Music, Dance and Foodstuff Competition scheduled for Labor Working day weekend 2022 is cancelled.”
The Charlestown Chamber of Commerce’s government director, Heather Paliotta, explained she was “shocked” to listen to about the festival’s demise, incorporating that both of those Wentworth’s songs pageant and the chamber’s seafood festival carry a lot of identify recognition to Charlestown.
“It puts us on the map,” Paliotta reported.