CAMDEN TWP. — Lorain County Music Fest appears to have a home for its signature event this year after months of legal battles.
This year’s festival will be at Schaun Acres Campground, 51390 state Route 303, from Aug. 4 to 6. This year marks the festival’s 11th year.
“It’s a huge relief; we didn’t want to let anybody down,” festival founder Geri Ciacchi said. “Everybody that helps us is so good about knowing what we’re doing. It’s hard to find people to sit on standby and wait until we knew what was going on. We’re really glad all the bands were willing to hang for us.”
The event was scheduled to take place in Grafton Township, on property Ciacchi and her fiancé, Joe Rocha, rent. Ciacchi held music festivals on the property in the past, but when township officials learned of the events, they informed the couple that since the township’s zoning did not have provisions for music festivals, such events were deemed illegal.
In May, representatives from Grafton Township and Lorain County Music Fest met in county Common Pleas Court and agreed that the group would not try to hold any music festivals on the property until an amendment to the township’s zoning is approved.
Lorain County Music Fest is working on applying for an amendment to the township’s zoning to allow such festivals. In the meantime, the group had to find another home for its event.
“We’ve played at Schaun Acres before, and (the owner) had seen some of the stories in the paper and knew what we were going through,” Ciacchi said. “When I approached her, she was already aware of the situation and was open to us holding the festival there.”
The organization holds several music festivals throughout the year as fundraisers. In May, the group was planning to hold its Mongo Spring Festival in Grafton Township before the court order was issued.
Lorain County Music Fest then tried to hold the event in New Russia Township and North Ridgeville, but ran into zoning issues in both. The event was held at Eddie’s Club in Elyria.
Ciacchi doesn’t believe there will be any issues this time around.
“There should be no problems with this location,” she said. “The situation is: if the property isn’t zoned for that, you can’t hold the event. The campground is zoned for camping, and they have events. We’ve played there before. We don’t foresee any problems.”
Ciacchi expects 300 to 500 people to attend the weekend-long event. Last year’s festival drew about 500 people, she said.