090421 CHA R_R Day Two hh 76740.JPG

Festival goers listen to Charlie Marie perform on Day 2 of the Rhythm & Roots Music and Dance Festival at Ninigret Park in Charlestown on Saturday, September 4, 2021. The festival announced Wednesday that it was ending after 23 years. Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

[For readers finding this article on Google, the festival has been sold and saved, and will be taking place over Labor Day Weekend in 2022]

CHARLESTOWN — The 24th annual Rhythm & Roots Music, Dance and Food Festival, scheduled to take place in Ninigret Park over Labor Day weekend, has been canceled.

Festival producer and founder Chuck Wentworth made the announcement Wednesday afternoon in an email.

"Regrettably, I am announcing that Lagniappe Productions is suspending all operations immediately," Wentworth said. "As a result, the 24th Annual Rhythm & Roots Music, Dance and Food Festival scheduled for Labor Day weekend 2022 is canceled."

The festival attracted thousands of music-lovers to Ninigret Park each Labor Day weekend for more than two days. 

Lagniappe Productions was the name Wentworth gave to his company in 1985 to produce Cajun dances at the Holy Ghost Brotherhood Hall in East Providence. He also hosted the Mardi Gras Ball at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston for many years.

"I have not come to this decision lightly," he said in the email. "After consulting with my doctors and my family, we’ve decided that I should step away from festival production for health issues that have taken their toll for the past 12 years."

Born in Pawtucket and raised in East Providence and Blackstone, Mass., Wentworth hosted a folk-music show on URI's radio station, WRIU-FM, for many years. In a 2019 interview with The Sun, Wentworth said his proudest accomplishment was "surviving as an independent festival producer for nearly 40 years in a corporate environment."

In the same interview, he said his favorite pastime was to spend time with his wife, Deb, their three children and their grandchildren "at an outdoor music festival with some ice-cold beverages."

Wentworth said he was hospitalized for two days due to "a major medical event," during the last Rhythm & Roots festival.

"You can imagine the frustration and disappointment that I experienced missing the festival that I planned for two years," he said. "The consensus of all involved is that I must step away from festival production immediately.

"Deb, the entire Wentworth family and I share your disappointment that the Rhythm & Roots festival has come to an end," he said. "We have worked diligently to present the best festival possible since 1998."

"As an independent, family run festival, we have managed to succeed despite facing numerous obstacles. Our success has been largely due to your unwavering support through the good and the lean times. We all share great memories of festivals past and we hope that you can 'Keep the Vibe Alive' in spirit."

"Thanks again," he ended his email, which was signed "Chuck, Deb and the entire Wentworth family," "and we will always cherish every one of you who attended Rhythm & Roots over the past 24 years. You won’t be forgotten."

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