16th Rock the Barn music festival kicks off Friday, set to hit $1 million goal to benefit Meals on Wheels

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CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — The 16th Rock the Barn music festival kicks off Friday night in Clarence. The two-night event raises money for Clarence-Akron-Newstead Meals on Wheels.

This year’s festival is special: organizers are prepared to hit the $1 million goal they set when they started the event in 2005.

Paul Stephen is the president of the Clarence-Akron-Newstead task force for Meals on Wheels. He bought the 90-acre property in Clarence 16 years ago. A friend suggested he hold a barn dance and that’s when Rock the Barn was born.

Stephen said the first year they made $6,000, the second year $12,000. It’s taken until this year to hit $1 million.

“What’s good about this goal, the money’s there it’s residual for long term long. Afterwards, we’ll be able to have money coming into Clarence-Akron-Newstead Meals on Wheels,” he said.

News 4 Reporter Kayla Green

The festival features several bands including Bon Journey on Friday and Grand Illusion on Saturday. They also have food trucks and a beer tent.

“People met each other every year here, they get to know people and friends become new friends and it’s a good feeling,” Stephen said.

Now that they’ve hit their goal, Stephen said everyone wants to know if the festival will continue on.

“I don’t wanna say never never. Right now we’re not ready to think about next year what we’re gonna do. We have it figured out how to do it fairly quickly but we’ll talk about it,” he said.

Tickets are $20 presale at Dash’s Markets or rockthebarn.com. They’re $25 at the door. Tickets grant admission to both nights.

The festival will go on rain or shine. Gates open at 4 p.m. at 9015 Main Street in Clarence.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.

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