Rock ‘n’ Rides underway in Royal Oak as events kick back into action

Table of Contents

The governor was still onstage speaking that afternoon in May when the wheels started turning in Jon Witz’s head.

Amid Michigan’s ongoing pandemic restrictions, the veteran Michigan festival promoter had postponed Rock ‘n’ Rides, his Royal Oak carnival and music event, to a date in September. But now Gretchen Whitmer was unveiling the state’s reopening plans. Could Witz actually pull off Rock ‘n’ Rides in June as originally scheduled?

Whitmer’s announcement set off a flurry of phone calls between the promoter and Royal Oak officials, who ultimately gave their blessing. Next came the meetings with sponsors, vendors and nonprofit partners. One by one, the pieces fell into place.

And so here we are: Rock ‘n’ Rides will hit downtown Royal Oak on Thursday to kick off four days of family attractions — including 18 carnival rides — food trucks and a block party featuring local bands and DJs on a pair of stages.