Rock ‘N River Cancellation Removes Needed Revenue from Long Branch

A proposed music festival scheduled for June 4 at Historic Long Branch has been cancelled. According to both Clarke County administrator David Ash and Historic Long Branch executive director David Boyce, the cancellation is the result of the event application being voluntarily withdrawn by the applicant.

Cancellation notice on Historic Long Branch website for the June 4 Rock 'N River event - (Click to enlarge)

A notice appearing on the Historic Long Branch website states:

“Long Branch regrets to inform you that June 4, 2011 Rock n River Festival was canceled for 2011. But mark your calendar for 2012.”

Contacted on Tuesday, administrator Ash said that both the initial application and a revised event application submitted by Historic Long Branch on May 11th were determined to be incomplete by county staff.

Although the County Supervisors appeared poised to waive public notice requirements in order to make the event possible, Long Branch’s withdrawal meant that event was not discussed at yesterday’s Board of Supervisors regular meeting as had been planned.

“The May 11th application was deficient with regard to support services needed from other county organizations” Ash said. “The applicant has chosen to withdraw the application for the event.”

Historic Long Branch director David Boyce confirmed that the application had been withdrawn.

“In regards to the Rock-N-River Festival, the application process became irreconcilable, and therefore, it was withdrawn” Boyce said by electronic mail message. “Long Branch will, however, submit a new application requesting to hold the festival in June of next year.”

While the actual size and revenue generation potential of the Rock-N-River Festival shifted during the application process after it was made the subject of debate by Clarke County Supervisor Pete Dunning (White Post), the loss of any revenue opportunity comes at a particularly challenging time for Historic Long Branch as it attempts to rebound from a difficult financial year.

According to IRS 990 tax forms, Historic Long Branch lost $680K in the 2009 tax year. While the organization generated $236K in revenue, expenses for the year were $916K. With assets totaling $11M, much of it in securities and with $518K in cash and liquid assets, Long Branch does not appear to be in any immediate financial danger. However, a pending financial audit may be intended to nip any public concerns over the foundation’s finances in the bud.

Historic Long Branch 2009 IRS 990 Form (Click to view)

“Long Branch is currently conducting an independent audit” said executive director David Boyce. “The CPA firm of Mitchell & Associates from Leesburg is conducting the audit and it should be finished by mid-June. So soon Long Branch will be totally transparent to the public.”

While Boyce acknowledged his organization’s current fiscal challenges, he rejected the notion that the pending audit and the recent financial shortfall were linked.

“I think 2009 was a difficult year for Long Branch because attendance to the Hot Air Balloon Festival was drastically reduced by inclement weather. Also, Long Branch became its own 501c3 in May of 2009. Prior to that, Long Branch was part of the Harry Z. Isaacs Foundation in Baltimore. The Foundation, among other things, manages Long Branch’s two endowments (Isaacs & the Macqueen Garden)” Boyce explained. “Thus, I assume Long Branch‘s 990 forms captured only a half of Long Branch’s year. Equally important, the income from the Isaacs Foundation endowment goes directly to salaries and not thru Long Branch‘s general operating account. In my opinion, Long Branch’s fiscal health appears to be sound and growing. The audit will confirm this or deny it. Regardless, I requested the audit for many reasons; the board agreed to it for many reasons; and, the public is entitled to know it as a matter of fact. Besides, Long Branch has not had an audit done for some time.”

Since the early 18th century, the Long Branch estate  has been owned by a series of famous men including Lord Culpeper, Lord     Fairfax, and Robert King Carter.   A young George Washington helped to  survey the property.

In 1788, Robert Carter Burwell inherited the land bordered by a the stream  known locally as Long Branch in present day Clarke County, Virginia.  Twenty years   later Carter began construction of  a mansion following design   principles suggested by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, architect of the U.S.  Capitol.   In 1986, Harry Z. Isaacs, a     Baltimore textile executive, purchased the estate at public auction.  Isaacs used his fortune to revitalize the historic house and grounds in less than three years.

Before his death in 1990, Mr. Isaacs established the  private,  non-profit Historic Long Branch Foundation to manage the estate and to open it to  the  enjoyment and education of its visitors.

Historic Long Branch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Virginia Registry of Historic Homes. The mansion is open for guided tours  April through October  on  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday  from    noon  until 4 p.m.      Admission is $10.   Reservations can be made  at 540.837.2723

More information about Historic Long Branch can be found by visiting



  1. I don’t agree with them withdrawing the application. They should have let it go through the process and let the entire BOS vote on it. In withdrawing the application, nobody got to officially know that Pete Dunning, ONE MEMBER OF THE BOS (who is leaving, Thank God), shut this down.

    • Tony Parrott says:

      I think we all know.
      Mr. Pete (NO) Dunning. No to police funding, no to fire and rescue funding, no to school funding, no to new bridges, no to new revenue; no no no will go go go in NOvember.

      • And then Bev McKay wins handily.

        • hoopsfan says:

          Who is Bev McKay? just trying to be an informed voter :~)

          • loveofanidea says:

            Bev McKay is running for Pete Dunning seat in November.

            He has been on the Planning Commision for the last 25 years and owns a dairy farm in Millwood.

          • Smellin roses says:

            Look up the dust-ups over school budgets in the past, or zoning tussles of late – like the Georgetown or Salvation Army retreat ideas, etc. You’ll find plenty on his views, if ya just do a little diggin’.

  2. Sage of the Mountain says:

    Sad! Sad! Sad! Not to often I agree with Righ Winger but this time he is spot on.