Rock 'n’ Rides hit downtown Royal Oak on Thursday, June 17 to kick off four days of family attractions, including over 15 carnival rides, live music, food trucks and more.
As Rock 'n' Rides is normally just another fun event on the summer calender, this year this event takes on some extra significance. Rock 'n’ Rides is the biggest entertainment event to be held in Metro Detroit since COVID-19 halted big gatherings.
What typically would involve months of planning, quickly came together this year. As originally, Rock 'n' Rides was pushed back to September due to COVID-19 restrictions via Gov. Whitmer. Now that outdoor events are officially back at 100% capacity, the event is on. Witz, who launched Arts, Beats & Eats in 1998 and directed Detroit’s outdoor Super Bowl activities in 2006, described the effort as organized chaos. But, within three months this festival event quickly came together.
Precautionary measures will be in place as unvaccinated guests will be encouraged to wear masks and socially distance. Servers will also be masked. The festival has also adopted sanitization protocols for rides and other areas across the site. Additionally, a vaccine clinic was hosted by Henry Ford Health System from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, just outside the festival grounds. Those who get vaccinated there will receive free Rock 'n’ Rides admission (a $5 value) and a wristband good for one day of free rides (up to $28 value).
For the bands and other musicians involved with the fest, this weekend is long-awaited. Fifteen artists are scheduled on Rock 'n’ Rides’ music stage. The two stages will bookend a Friday-Sunday block party on Fifth Street in Royal Oak. Raising the Dead, Reefermen and Cast Iron Cornbread will all be playing along with many more. Plus, electronic musicians playing a DJ stage sponsored by Michigan cannabis chain House of Dank
Many artists found ways to keep the music playing this past year, including online shows, bar dates and private events, but for Detroit Trouble, Rock 'n’ Rides is their first time back to normal.
About Rock 'n' Rides
Rock 'n’ Rides was started in 2019 due to a logistical dilemma: River Days, the longtime Detroit Riverfront Conservancy festival produced by Witz, was moving to West Riverfront Park downtown. The new site wouldn’t be conducive to River Days’ array of carnival attractions, so the Royal Oak fest was created to host the rides that weekend.
Rock 'n' Rides is located on 5th Street in Downtown Royal Oak.
- Thursday, June 17: 5PM - 11PM
- Friday, June 18: 11AM - 11PM
- Saturday, June 19: 11AM - 11PM
- Sunday, June 20: 11AM - 10PM
- Friday before 5PM - FREE
- Friday after 5PM - $5
For more information, visit Rock 'n' Rides Royal Oak's website here.