Sunday, January 13, 2008

Breaking News: Chad And Rob To Retire From Nearfest

January 12, 2008
Chad and Rob to retire after 10 years of NEARfest
NEARfest co-founders Chad Hutchinson and Rob LaDuca announce their
retirement from the festival organization after this year's 10th
anniversary NEARfest X celebration, largely due to significantly
increased family and professional obligations. Arrangements are well
underway to transfer the entire non-profit festival organization and
its crucial diverse band selection ethic into the capable hands of
others already well-established in the progressive rock community. It
is certain that NEARfest "Mark II" will have the same wide spread of
prog rock subgenres as always.
Rob states, "It's been a pleasure bringing the best in progressive
and eclectic music to the NEARfest audience for ten long (or is that
short?!) years. The demands of single fatherhood and my academic
position at Michigan State have left little time for NEARfest over
the past couple of years. My time to investigate the torrent of new
releases in all prog subgenres has evaporated, and in what little
music-listening time that sporadically presents itself, I've been
consistently reaching for old favorites. I feel that all of the
NEARfests have had stresses and joys, and they all have left an
indelible mark; I'll never forget any of them or the many people
involved... artists, volunteers, and audience alike. However now I
find it's definitely time to focus my energies more closely on my
children as they enter their teenage years, and secondarily on my
teaching and research career."
Chad says, "It has been a great ride and it is very hard to believe
that it's been 10 years already. In that time, I've not only gotten
married to Cheryl, but now have two wonderful little boys, Liam and
Cameron. The years running NEARfest have been pretty amazing. Looking
back on it, I'm still in a bit of disbelief when I think that we've
hosted the likes of Keith Emerson, Steve Hackett, Camel, Banco and,
this year, Peter Hammill on our stage, not to mention being part of
the the reformations of Anglagard, Happy the Man, Nektar, FM and
Discipline. I am realizing how many wonderful people we have come in
contact with over our tenure, from the musicians, the crew, the
Zoellner staff, the local businesses... to Roger Dean, Paul Whitehead
and Mark Wilkinson... to of course all the people who have supported
the festival by buying tickets year after year. We've had a lot of
fun and learned a lot in 10 years, and with that, when to refocus and
concentrate on other parts of our lives, like our families and our careers."
Though we are both leaving our official posts with NEARfest, Rob and
I will provide whatever assistance we can as the festival moves
forward. An announcement will be made in the coming months with
regard to the new organizers."
Thank you to all of the musicians, festival staff, and attendees for
all of the wonderful memories over the past 10 years. We will see you
in June... one more time.

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