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Anyone ever hear of the Rooney Fest?


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Byteman's Avatar
Byteman   (Bill) Byteman is offline Byteman is authorized to help remove malware. Byteman has a Profile Picture
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20-Nov-2003, 10:40 PM #1
Anyone ever hear of the Rooney Fest?
Years ago, just after Woodstock in 1969, the hippie spirit prevailed among us 18 yr olds here in NY State and we started our own annual music/fun festival. It consisted of rough camping at a guy named Dave's farm outside of the town I live in. During the last of it's 31 years or so, about 6,000 folks attended over 3 days each end of July/1st of August. Lots of good people from New Jersey, all over the country and overseas showed up and had way too much fun. One common expression heard on the hill was "Rooney till your dog don't know ya"
Just wondering if anyone has ever been to or heard of our now retired Rooney Fest? (You probably would not be able to ever forget it, that's how excellent it was MOST of the time) that is...if you can remember anything at all these days.....
Drop me a note if you HAVE been a Rooneyer and dare to admit to it
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Last edited by Byteman; 28-Jan-2010 at 11:01 PM..
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smitty94 smitty94 is offline
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25-Nov-2003, 04:12 PM #2
Yeah i went to one. I think it was the last time they had it. I bought a t-shirt and planned to wear it the following but heard it was over.
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25-Nov-2003, 07:40 PM #3
Smitty- Good to hear from ya. Nope, no more Fests on that hill.
Most famous person I know of that was ever there- Sam Bush, who was part of EmmyLou Harris' band. Some of the band names through the years:

Dr. Bubba
The Heartbeats
Plastic Nebraska
Susquehanna Hat Company
Sweet Petootie
Red Hots
Leftover Salmon - --- --they actually made it pretty big.
Tompkins County Horseflies
Burnt Toast
Steam Donkeys

There is a mini-Fest these days but not the same, not at that place but still draws a good crowd. Take care!

Last edited by Byteman; 01-Jan-2008 at 02:57 AM..
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smitty94 smitty94 is offline
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03-Dec-2003, 03:38 PM #4
Hey Byte,

I'll have to dig up that shirt to see what year it was. I do remember it being in Deposit I think. What I do remember is driving down this long one lane road enjoying a beer and running into a police road block We made it through somehow. I also remember it being very hot and dry and my buddy I was with told me that the year before it rained quite abit. There were some strange characters at that show which we have several pictures of. I'll try to get someone to scan them for me and send them to you. Peace!
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03-Dec-2003, 04:29 PM #5
Hiya smitty-

There are sooo many outrageous tales of things that happened at the Fest! A retired teacher here who is a bluegrass musician as well wrote a book about the Fest, including some pictures. Course, it only included the more presentable things that went on....
It was either hot and sunny or very bad weather up there- mud was a requirement for a Rooney Fest so the guys would hook up to the water tank truck and make "homemade" mud for dancing and everyone's enjoyment.
I used to help sell tickets at the entrance, and we always warned folks to hide beer and stuff when they went down to the village...some did, some got tickets and laughed it off. Cops were very frustrated by the whole thing since they couldn't enter private property until they were called for some reason.
The Fest actually divided the whole town for the years it ran....those who supported it or were supported by the business it brought, and those who just hated to see anybody have a good old fashioned outdoor event. Probably a lot of those were parents of young people who snuck up there- that was a big problem.
Great of you to forward pics, maybe I have met you or sold you your ticket in that year!
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smitty94 smitty94 is offline
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03-Dec-2003, 04:35 PM #6
One more thing, the sign above the stage said:
This Ain't no picnic!
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04-Dec-2003, 04:30 PM #7
Talking rooney fest attendance
Today is the first time I ever tried a search for anything on Rooney and I find this site with this thread! Rooney was a tradition for some of my family members and I since about the 3rd year. The guy that owned the mountain (Dave) used to date a cousin of mine. Listening to some bluegrass today, I just had to check out what may be out there. Glad to find some kin!!
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04-Dec-2003, 06:52 PM #8
Hi papergeek- Nice to hear from you- I got only a couple of result pages with a Google search about the Rooney... Tech Support Guy forums is very well established in Google search engine, after you post here it is common to see your OWN post show up in search engine results! That's one way many people find the forum here, or any website- where would we be without search tools.
I've gone to the Fests since the first- so have a lot of Dave B's good friends and mine. We really miss Rooneying, but it got really crazy in the last years as you probably know.
If anyone is interested in getting the book about it, just email me.
I found one site that was put up by a band and in some pics it showed the big "This Ain't No Picnic" signboard above the bandstand. We have an annual pig roast in summer at the same place and Dave puts the old Rooney tapes on speaker system for us, he also has satellite radio playing. He has never had electricity up where he lives, just uses generators when needed, and some solar panels. For the pig roast which runs 3 days we bring a generator cooled tap system on a trailer. Some of the way back Rooney guests come for the roast and we have a ball.
Again, nice to hear from you! Bill (Byteman)
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05-Dec-2003, 10:34 AM #9
It's really too bad it got to be the way it did. While the fun was still there, the last few years required a bit more caution and/or weariness than before. I guess all great things come to an end sooner or later. Do you or any one out there know if the Susquehanna Hat Company is still doing their thing? I haven't lived in the area for a couple of years now and I'm just curious if they've done anything new or if at all.

One other question: Where did you camp?
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Byteman   (Bill) Byteman is offline Byteman is authorized to help remove malware. Byteman has a Profile Picture
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18-Dec-2003, 10:20 AM #10
Hiya, Sorry to be so late, missed some forum time lately with all the snow. The Hat Company was playing last I heard- what a sound and good time people! Were playing in Binghamton... I can find out for sure and will let you know here. They may have a new CD available.
Camped just above the pond along the road going around to the top.
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BugSmith BugSmith is offline
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15-May-2005, 03:34 PM #11
Rooney 'til you puke...
...or at least that's one of the last things I remember hearing as we rolled our way down the mountain, somehow also avoiding those same roadblocks. All these years later, I was beginning to think I had imagined the whole thing! We went 3 or 4 years in the mid-late '90s. When did it all end? I remember loads of good folk, good feeling. And hours upon hours of mad stomping in the requisite mud.
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18-May-2005, 11:12 PM #12
Hi BugSmith,

Rooney was last held about 4 years ago. We didn't start counting from Rooney 1, and there were about 23 numbered Fests...the 21st was in 1997. (That's the last T-shirt I can find right now!) A couple of the last Fests were marred by the deaths of two partiers...one, who camped next to the big generator and was killed by CO2 fumes.
Another got lost and wandered down to a neighbor's pond and drowned. Those things probably helped decide the fate of the Rooney fest...plus, Dave B hitting 57 and getting tired of all that came with putting the event on each year.

Here are some webpages that mention the Rooney Fest:

http://www.bayoubrethren.com/history.php3

((The old Red Barn link is no longer working so I have deleted it...maybe they will make a new site for the RedBarn....))
(This one above is the new replacement for the Rooney, it's OK but not anything like the old days)



http://www.chazy.net/DAVE/dennis.htm <Broken link now!

Last edited by Byteman; 10-Jul-2009 at 02:57 PM..
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13-Nov-2005, 11:26 PM #13
One More
Just had to write a quick note to let you know there's one more person that remembers (barely) going to the Rooney Fest. My college roommate grew up in Deposit and dragged me up there for the weekend back in '86. Her family had the "silver bullet" camper and went every year. We got very drunk and the details of the weekend are bit blurry but I remember dancing, singing and having a great time. The only song I can remember hearing more than a few times was "Amy". I caught a greyhound bus back to NYC on the Sunday and slept the entire trip. I've mentioned the festival to a few people but no one had ever heard of it. Glad to have found the thread. Sorry to hear it's no longer in existance.

Catrina
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JDINNC JDINNC is offline
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27-Nov-2005, 01:49 AM #14
Rooney till ya puke
Rooney till yer dog dont know ya
Rooney till yer looney
Rooney till ya runouta Balony(to put in your shoes)

I went to the Rooney Fest every year from 1981-1997.(Yes,I still have brain cells to spare)I usually camped at the top of the hill,between the stage,and the outhouses,just past the "Attica Hotel" campsite.
I found this forum,and specifically this thread,doing a Google search for Rooney Fest.
If anyone has Rooney fest pics,please send them to dooleys (youtakeoutspaces) 1300@yahoo.com

Last edited by Byteman; 31-Dec-2007 at 11:37 PM.. Reason: JD- just trying to save the spammers some work man
Byteman's Avatar
Byteman   (Bill) Byteman is offline Byteman is authorized to help remove malware. Byteman has a Profile Picture
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28-Nov-2005, 02:17 AM #15
Hi, Good to hear from you, Catrina! The Silver Bullet is still there.
I think you were friends with a family who owned a big farm just up the road from where you turn in to go up Rooney Hill. Her Dad's name may be Virgil B.? Know them well, if that's the same...

And you too, JDINNC!

JD:> I probably know you!
I will get some of the pics and send them on to you, but, should tell you, not advisable to post a real email address like that in fourms, spambots will pick it up...unless, it's just an extra addy you don't care about or have filtered so spam goes the way of all good spam>>

Anyone wishing to email you could use the Email link in your User Profile, so no need to post an actual email addy, unless you elected not to enable email for forum members....? I checked, and you do not have email allowed...
so I will not edit out your email addy for you, (you can if you like) I have saved it, and as soon as I am able will pass some pics your way, is there anything in particular, like the bands, stage, you'd prefer? Have some nice shots from the hill looking down the valley, and most everything else.

If you camped near the stage, I'm sure you remember the Sunday morning fireworks display, and you might have seen some of us cleaning the dance area with a sheet of plywood, a guy riding on it for weight, pushed by 3 or 4 people... I did that a couple of times.
Rooney till yer puny!
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