The mission of Riverfest is to produce a quality, recreational, cultural, educational, family-oriented festival for the benefit of & in partnership with the community.
Riverfest, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Proceeds from Riverfest are given directly back to the community with over $1 million dollars contributed to-date. The Riverfest federal tax id number is 71-0530405.
Riverfest is a celebration of visual and performing arts that is held annually on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Riverfest is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas with a rich tradition. Each year, close to 200,000 festival-goers attended the event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million in the community. In 2016, Riverfest celebrated its 39th anniversary and for the first time was held in June, moving off the traditional Memorial Day weekend. Riverfest, Inc. also introduce a new event called “Springfest”, which was held on April 2, 2016. Springfest is a one-day, free event for children & families.
Riverfest, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has enjoyed tremendous success for the last 39 consecutive years and has been a leader in the redevelopment of downtown Little Rock. Riverfest has donated over $1,000,000 to various projects in the riverfront and downtown areas, including our latest contribution of $150,000 towards the renovations of a new roof the First Security Ampitheater. Riverfest is an incredible, family-affordable entertainment value that delivers impact to its sponsors and festival-goers.
Riverfest began in August 1978 when the Junior League of Little Rock had the opportunity to bring the American Wind Symphony to Little Rock. The event was called The Summer Arts Festival and was held in Murray Park, with various activities built around the Wind Symphony’s performance.
The Summer Arts Festival was such a success that a decision was made to have a similar event the next year. The date was changed to Memorial Day Weekend, the name was changed to Riverfest, and the current logo was adopted. It was also at this point that Riverfest, Inc., 501(c)(3) a non-profit organization with a Board of Directors, was formed to operate the festival, with the Junior League of Little Rock committing to provide primary volunteer support.
In 1982 after outgrowing Murray Park, Riverfest moved downtown and the festival was held on the Convention Center Plaza along Markham Street. The following year, in 1983, Riverfest moved to its permanent home in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park and over 100,000 people attended the festival that year. As Riverfest grew and developed, a need for permanent staff arose and in 1987, a full-time Executive Director was hired.
Riverfest has continued to grow and expand along the banks of the Arkansas River in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park including an expansion to the North Shore Riverwalk in North Little Rock from 2002-2010. In 2009, the festival expanded to include the Clinton Presidential Park and library. The festival continues to offer new and unique opportunities for festival-goers while playing a vital role as an organization helping the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock work together to make Arkansas a better place to live and work.
Today, Riverfest’s Board of Directors include standing positions from the Junior League of Little Rock, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Little Rock Department of Parks and Recreation, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, and the North Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission. There is also an Executive Committee, fifteen at-large positions, and four ex-officio positions. In addition to the Executive Director, Riverfest has two full-time and two part-time staff members working year-round to effectively plan and produce the festival and an outstanding volunteer festival committee of 250.
Riverfest, Inc. and quality will always be synonymous. From offering an outstanding children’s event where every activity is free to the participant during Springfest, to numerous special attractions, awesome food, arts & crafts to the outstanding music experience during Riverfest, there is something for everyone.
Sponsors are the life-blood of Riverfest and help turn the planning into reality. From large corporate donors who sponsor the fireworks, to private individuals who sponsor craft activities during Springfest, to local police, fire, and city agencies who donate many man-hours, Riverfest enjoys the support of the entire community. One dollar of every ticket sold goes back into the community.
Finally, and most important, no description of Riverfest would be complete without recognizing the thousands of volunteers who staff each festival, and the volunteers who work all year long to plan and administer Riverfest. From all over the community, people donate their time and talents to present Riverfest – a fun, exciting, wonderful gift for all to enjoy.Riverfest would like to thank this tremendous group of volunteer committee members who work tirelessly year-round planning this great event. The festival would not be possible without all of your hard work and dedication!
2017 Festival Planning Committee
CHAIRMAN: Catherine Cole CO-CHAIRMAN: Karl Freeman
ADMISSIONS: Betsy Turner, Candice Hickman, Chris Morgan, Daniel Spillers, Donnette Spann, Ginsie Simmons, Jackie Whitehead, Janetta Uchendu,Jjonathan Guydon, La'Kesha Moore-Allen, Martin Marler, Matt Amaro, Melanie Fields, Nekia Robinson, Parker Higgs, Robert Derryberry, Sondra Johnson, Stacia Frase, Stacy Benton, Summer Henry, Tonya Choate, Tonya Walker
BEVERAGE: Andrew Crone, Chad Brown, Chris Owens, Damian Hicks, David Arnold, Jacob Ponder, Jamey Johnson, Josh Womack, Jusin Hufty, Keri Thomas, Lynn Ashley, Mitch Wine
COMMITTEE HOSPITALITY: Brandi Allen, Emily Eley, Kevin Cates, Lisa Marler
COMMUNICATIONS: Anthony Lattin, Jay Meeks
ELECTRICIAN: Bushy Johnston, Robert Jackson
FLOWING ON THE RIVER: Alecia Castleberry, Bobby Bemberg, Christy Garrett, Cris Roberts, Lydia Bemberg, Jennifer Forrest
FOOD: Angela Hill, Ben Kent, Denise White, Sharon Smith
INFORMATION: Gary Henderson, Patty Yarbrough, Sue Bemberg
LOGISTICS PHOTO: John Antle
MAP MAN: Bram Keahey
MEDIA RELATIONS: Antoinette Atkins, Hannah Troilett, Keri Hunt, Kristen Nicholson, Lizzy Chandler, Mary DeLoney, Melissa Ortega, Stacey Hall, Tiffani Butler
MERCHANDISE: Laura Aday, Megan Smith, Patrick Strack, Steve Aday, Taylor Tackett
MERCHANT RELATIONS: Ann Dozier, Sherry Harmon
OPERATIONS: Barrett Dudley, Chris Grimmett, Ed Price, Justin Blagg, Kirk Hogue, Korey Malloy, Krista Thomas, Manley Dillon, Mike Castleberry, Mike Stevenson, Rick Sugg, Yousef Fahoum
PARKS-CLINTON: Debbie Shock
PARKS-LITTLE ROCK: Bill Craig, Jackie Collins, Robbie Hudson
PARKS-NLR: Shannon Harris
PHOTOGRAPHY: Gregory Steinsiek, Laura Otter, Mark Wagner
RIVERBANKS: Andrew Swindler, Ann Dozier, Cathy Doan, Dallas Harmon, Erica Cooper, Ervin Brendel, Este Frazier, Gary Witherspoon, Holly Elliott, Jana Veit, Jordan Koonce, Joyce Richardson, Karen Hicks, Kathy Perez, Lynn Chu, Mark Collins, Terry Lee, Tyler Woods
RUFF ON THE RIVER: Gina Hartsell, Morgan Harrison, Shannon Nardi
SECURITY/MEDICAL: Andy Goldthorpe, Andy Traffanstedt, Clark Halfacre, Craig Hill, Dennis Mitchell, Dwayne Yarborough, Greg Thompson, Janie Brown
SPRINGFEST: Alice Cruse, Nichole McGeorge, Sara Beth Leader
2017 Board of Directors
BOARD CHAIRMAN: Daniel Robinson VICE CHAIRMAN: Charlie Porter
FESTIVAL CHAIRMAN: Catherine Cole VICE FESTIVAL CHAIRMAN: Karl Freeman
TREASURER: Jeremy Cobb ASSISTANT TREASURER: Roger Glaude
PAST BOARD CHAIRMAN: Steve Bentley PAST FESTIVAL CHAIRMAN: Alecia Castleberry
BOARD MEMBERS: Rob Bell, Mark Bentley, Chellie Castellanos, Cam Deacon, Adam Dunaway, Holly Fish, Jeff Ford, Shannon Harris, Nikki Hite, Gabe Holmstrom, Jake Honegger, Art Kellam, Chris King, Krista Kirksey, Heath Lehman, Chellie Longstreth, Buckley O'Mell, Rodney Peel, Kathy Perez, Jim Rice, Debbie Shock, Courtney Swindler, Truman Tolefree, Betsy Turner, Cheddy Wigginton, Patrick Wilson
EX OFFICIO: DeAnna Korte, Jim Sick, Barry Simon, Barry Travis
OF COUNSEL: Andy Vines
STAFF: Ashley Parker, Julie Shindler
CONSULTANTS: Shelia Vaught, Angie Johnson