Home / Oakland County / Rock ‘n’ Rides Returns to Royal Oak

Rock ‘n’ Rides Returns to Royal Oak

Live music, carnival rides and tasty treats. Metro Detroiters eager for the return of outdoor entertainment for the entire family have much to look forward to in the coming weeks. Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak returns Thursday, June 17 through Sunday, June 20, in downtown Royal Oak, just in time for the start of summer.

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak
image courtesy of Rock ‘n’ Rides

This outdoor event, which debuted in 2019, is back with more rides and attractions, including the Royal Oak Block Party now with DJs and special guest food trucks, a kick-off community event and a vaccine clinic with fun incentives and more. Due to the pandemic, the festival was not hosted in 2020.

“Rock ‘n’ Rides signals hope and a sense of normalcy. People are eager to return outdoors for community events, and we’re happy to deliver that and still have safety protocols in place,” said Jon Witz, event producer. “The event is a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together to feature local musicians, entertainers and food trucks, all excited to get back to work and  recover from challenges of the past year.”

Keeping staff, festivalgoers and participants safe and healthy is a priority at Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak. Event organizers will display signage encouraging unvaccinated guests to wear masks and keep a social distance, while requiring food and beverage staff to wear masks while serving. Added cleaning protocols for rides and the festival site, along with additional hand sanitizing and washing stations also will be in place.

Going one step further, Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak is pleased to partner with Henry Ford Health System to host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in an effort to get more people inoculated. The Henry Ford Vaccine Clinic will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 17, in the parking lot just east of The Rock on 3rd pub and grub (112 E. 3rd St.). Free admission tickets to the festival will be given to anyone that receives a vaccination at the clinic. Individuals also will receive a carnival wristband good for free rides on any day of the festival or two free tickets to the Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats festival on Labor Day weekend.

A Family-Friendly Carnival Atmosphere for A Good Cause

The celebration includes a carnival comprised of the hottest family and thrill rides, including the Cliffhanger, Ring of Fire, Screamer, Sizzler, Vertigo and more. An expanded footprint will make room for 20 attractions this year. $1 from the sale of each carnival wristband will go to Open Hands Food Pantry in Royal Oak and Forgotten Harvest, courtesy of Kroger.

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak has a jam-packed lineup of activities for kids, including live entertainers ranging from magicians to musicians and more on the Flagstar Family Stage. Additionally, The Detroit News is sponsoring free hands-on arts and crafts experiences to engage youngsters from Arts & Scraps, allowing them to create a take-home remembrance of their time at the festival. A schedule of the children’s entertainment lineup can be found at the conclusion of this release.

A Rockin’ Block Party with Special Guest Food Trucks and DJs

The “Rock” aspect of the festival will broaden its programming for 2021, as Downtown Royal Oak will transform 5th Avenue between Washington and Center streets into a party for the grown-ups. The Royal Oak Block Party will feature the all new House of Dank stage with live DJs, including Movement Festival DJs, Zen Zero of 5th Dimension and VSRL of 5th Dimension, as well as special guest food truck appearances throughout the weekend from the likes of Grampies Clam Shell, Hog Heaven, Hogback BBQ Pit, Crepe Day-Twah, Island Noodles and more.

It also will be home to the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort Music Stage, featuring a rotation of local, high energy rock bands throughout the weekend. Some of metro Detroit’s finest musical talent scheduled to perform include headliners Raising the Dead, a Grateful Dead tribute band; the legendary veterans of the Detroit music scene The Reefermen; and the ever entertaining Cast Iron Cornbread. A complete schedule can be found at the end of this press release.

Traditional Carnival Treats

A variety of mouth-watering carnival fare also will be on hand to munch on. Festivalgoers can enjoy tried and true favorites, such as freshly dipped corn dogs, funnel cakes, elephant ears and homemade lemonade, as well as the opportunity to make their own slushies. Additionally, downtown Royal Oak’s award-winning, walkable community offers a variety of dining and beverage venues that festivalgoers can support before, during and after attending Rock ‘n’ Rides.

Festival Kick-Off – Community Day

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak is kicking off the festival with Community Day presented by Kroger and The Detroit News on Thursday, June 17. Community Day will offer 1,500 local kids and their families free carnival wristbands, plus lunch for the first four hours of the festival by partnering with The Children’s Center, Courageous Kids, Franklin Wright Settlements, Metro Detroit Youth Clubs, The Rainbow Connection, The Ted Lindsay Foundation HOPE Center, Vista Maria and more to help the deserving families they service.

“The Rainbow Connection is thrilled to be a part of this year’s Community Day at Rock ‘n’ Rides,” said George J. Miller, Executive Director, The Rainbow Connection. “Granting wishes to kids in Michigan battling a life-threatening illness is our main mission, but we often look for partners in the community to help with what we call enhancements. Rock ‘n’ Rides allows our families an opportunity to enjoy a day of having fun right here in our community. Thank you to Jon Witz and his amazing team!”

Charitable Partners

Many local nonprofits and community organizations have partnered with Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak, each receiving a portion of gate or beverage sales. They include Metro Detroit Youth Clubs, Open Hands Food Pantry, Royal Oak First United Methodist Church, Royal Oak Football and Cheer Teams, Royal Oak Schools Performing Arts Committee, St. Paul Lutheran Church and Zeta Omega Zeta, with additional groups to be added in the days ahead.

Tickets and Admission

The festival opens to the public at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 17, and admission is $5. Festival entrance is free on Friday until 5 p.m.; after that, the price is $5. Children under 3 are free at all times. 

Carnival ride wristbands can be purchased during the festival for $18 per person on Thursday, June 17, and $28 from Friday, June 18 through Sunday, June 20. Individual tickets for rides will range from $3 to $6. For every carnival wristband that is purchased, $1 will go to Open Hands Food Pantry in Royal Oak and Forgotten Harvest, courtesy of Kroger. 

Free Parking Options throughout the Weekend at Royal Oak Parking Structures

Royal Oak parking will operate as it normally does. The parking structures offer two hours of free parking and is only $.75 per hour after that. Parking is free all day on Sunday, June 20. Further details and parking locations can be found at rocknridesro.com.

Sponsors

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak is grateful for the generous direct financial support from the following local sponsors, which include Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, Kroger, Flagstar Bank, House of Dank, Faygo, Tito’s Vodka and Oozelife.

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak Music Schedule

FRIDAY, JUNE 18

House of Dank DJ Stage

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.             Zen Zero of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.             VSRL of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.             Movement Festival DJs (Electronic)

10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.         Movement Festival DJs (Electronic)

Soaring Eagle Rock Stage

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.             Church Mice (Alt Rock/Radio Rock)

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.             Raye Williams (Pop Rock/Soul)

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.           Raising the Dead (Grateful Dead Tribute)

SATURDAY, JUNE 19

House of Dank DJ Stage

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.             Zen Zero of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.             DJ Dav (City Air Detroit) (Dance Remix)

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.             VSRL of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.             Movement Festival DJs (Electronic)

10:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.         Movement Festival DJs (Electronic)

Soaring Eagle Rock Stage

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.          Acoustic Ash (Singer/Songwriter)

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.             Jibs Brown & The Jambros (Bluesy Rock)

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.             Inohs Sivad (Funk/Rock/Soul)

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.             Mac Saturn (Rock ‘n’ Roll)

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.             Damon Terrell (Funk Rock/Latin Jazz

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.           The Reefermen (Rock)

SUNDAY, JUNE 20

House of Dank DJ Stage

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.             VSRL of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.             Zen Zero of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.             VSRL of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.           Zen Zero of 5th Dimension (Old School/Freestyle/80s)

Soaring Eagle Rock Stage

11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.          Lilly MacPhee (Singer/Songwriter)

12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.           Wiltsie’s Songwriters (Singer/Songwriter)

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.             Detroit Trouble (Blues Rock)

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.             Frame 42 (Rock/Classic Rock)

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.             Corktown Popes (Caledonian Rock & Soul)

8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.             Cast Iron Cornbread (Rock)

FLAGSTAR FAMILY STAGE

THURSDAY, JUNE 17

2:30 p.m. – 3:05 p.m.             The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Presents: Into The Pit

3:20 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.             The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Presents: Unity

4:10 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.             The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Presents: Neon Brown

5:00 p.m. – 5:35 p.m.             The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Presents: DSRP Jazz Band

5:50 p.m. – 6:25 p.m.             The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Presents: Drawing Straws

6:40 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.             The Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music Presents: Mixed Vibes

FRIDAY, JUNE 18

12:00 p.m.                               Kevin Devine Music Show

1:00 p.m.                                 Rosco the Clown
2:00 p.m.                                 Cool Tricks & Funny Stuff

3:00 p.m.                                 Kevin Devine Music Show

4:00 p.m.                                 Rosco the Clown

5:00 p.m.                                 Cool Tricks & Funny Stuff

6:00 p.m.                                 Rosco the Clown

SATURDAY, JUNE 19

12:00 p.m.                               Kevin Devine Music Show

1:00 p.m.                                 Randyl Lee Magic
2:00 p.m.                                 Zippity 2 Dads Music Show

3:00 p.m.                                 Cool Tricks & Funny Stuff

4:00 p.m.                                 Randyl Lee Magic

5:00 p.m.                                 Zippity 2 Dads Music Show

6:00 p.m.                                 Randyl Lee Magic

SUNDAY, JUNE 20

12:00 p.m.                               Juggler Tim Salisbury

1:00 p.m.                                 Cool Tricks & Funny Stuff

2:00 p.m.                                 Zippity 2 Dads Music Show

3:00 p.m.                                 Juggler Tim Salisbury

4:00 p.m.                                 Cool Tricks & Funny Stuff

5:00 p.m.                                 Zippity 2 Dads Music Show

6:00 p.m.                                 Juggler Tim Salisbury

ARTS & SCRAPS KIDS AREA

THURSDAY, JUNE 17

2:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

FRIDAY, JUNE 18

2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, JUNE 19

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, JUNE 20

12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 

About Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak

Rock ‘n’ Rides Royal Oak is the kickoff to summer in downtown Royal Oak that celebrates community, family and fun. With several local nonprofits benefiting from the festival, attendees can feel confident giving back to the community, while having a good time enjoying music, food, a block party and carnival. The event is produced by Jonathan Witz & Associates. For additional information, visit www.rocknridesro.com.