The wheels on Montague school buses ‘go round and round’ at EF.

June 28, 2019

The wheels on Montague school buses ‘go round and round’ at EF.

#EF2019

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

ROTHBURY – A local partnership with Electric Forest is a “win-win-win” opportunity for Montague Area Public Schools, its bus drivers and forest attendees.

Montague school buses for the second straight year are providing much-needed transportation for festival goers to and from parking and camping areas and also rides to Walmart in Whitehall.

“It provides an opportunity for individuals to get extra work,” said Montague Area Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Johnson. His bus drivers, as well as drivers from surrounding areas, are hired at a pay rate of $16 per hour to work during the festival. Drivers from school districts in Oceana County, Muskegon County and a portion of Newaygo County participate, he said.

It’s a good opportunity for the bus drivers to get extra work in the summer months when school is out of session, he said. There are approximately 40 bus drivers hired who work anywhere from five to 40 hours during the four-day festival at the Double JJ Resort.

The massive music festival attracts approximately 50,000 people each year to the small community of Rothbury.

Last year, which offered a two-weekend format, the school district made approximately $20,000. This year, with the one-weekend format, the district is anticipating half that profit, Johnson said.

The buses go through “several processes of thorough cleaning afterwards,” the superintendent said. Approximately 15 Montague buses are used during the festival, which is most of the district’s entire fleet.

Transportation Director Bob Lash organized the program, which started after Gemini Production Solutions contacted the school, he said. Gemini, which is contracted through Electric Forest, recruited bussing services from Montague, and the district jumped on board.

The festival has dedicated efforts aimed at getting the community involved, and the bussing program is just one of them. “There is a strong outreach to make local connections,” Johnson said. “They’ve really reached out to have community involvement.”

The district has participated in clean-up efforts of the festival grounds after the party is over. The band, track team and FFA have helped with cleanup the last two years, he said. “They’re the last – final – cleanup,” he said. “They go over it with a fine-toothed comb.”

As of a couple weeks prior to this year’s festival, Johnson did not have any school groups slated to participate in this year’s festival cleanup.

The superintendent said he is open to other involvement activities at the festival. “If other opportunities arise, we will consider them.”

“Last year’s experience was very good,” he said.

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