Riverfest 2015 - Arkansas' Largest Music Festival

About Riverfest

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Photos: Beginnings of Riverfest

We were at Murray Park for the first 3 years of Riverfest (1978-1981)

Tents down Markham '82

Photo of Riverfest in 1983

After moving from Murray Park, the festival utilized Markham (in front of Robinson Auditorium) for one year before moving into Riverfront Park.

 

Searching for Shade '87

Photo of Riverfest 1986

Riverfront Park (west of Junction Bridge)

Riverfest Amp Night Pic

Photo of Riverfest today – entertaining over 250,000 people

Our History

Riverfest is a celebration of visual and performing arts that is held annually over Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Riverfest is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas with a rich 38-year tradition. Approximately 250,000 festival-goers attended the 2014 event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million on the community.

Riverfest, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has enjoyed tremendous success for the last 37 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 to 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 2002-2008. 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 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 four other full and part-time staff members working year-round to effectively plan and produce the festival and an outstanding volunteer festival committee of 170.

The mission of Riverfest is to produce a quality, recreational, cultural, educational, family-oriented festival for the benefit of and in partnership with the community. Riverfest and quality will always be synonymous. From offering an outstanding children’s area where every activity is free to the participant, to the International Village where festival-goers can travel the world, to numerous special attractions, events and family oriented activities, there is something for everyone.

Riverfest is unmatched in entertainment. A wide variety of entertainment has always been presented. Festival-goers have been treated to some of the best-known names in music: Darius Rucker, Rodney Atkins, Peter Frampton, Lupe Fiasco, Kelly Rowland, Daughtry, Sugar Ray, Blackstone Cherry, Bush, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley, Ana Sia, Chicago, Salt-N-Pepa, CeeLo Green, The Fray, Easton Corbin, Lee Brice, Buckcherry, Three Days Grace, Jamey Johnson, Grandtheft, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Snoop Dog, Boyz II  Men, Neon Trees, Third Eye Blind, Staind, MuteMath, Gov’t, Mule, B.O.B., Little Big Town, Joe Walsh, Al Green, ZZ Top, B.B. King, Blues Traveler, Brad Paisley, , Jason Aldean, Heart, Hinder, Cheap Trick, Collective Soul, Diamond Rio, Don McLean, Everclear, Hank Williams, Jr., Hootie & the Blowfish, James Brown, Lifehouse, Live, Los Lobos, Loverboy, Mark Wills, Arrested Development, Morris Day and the Time, Better Than Ezra, Blake Shelton, Chaka Khan, Huey Lewis & the News, Nickel Creek, Pat Green, REO Speedwagon, George Clinton & The P-Funk Allstars, Rick James, Run DMC, Gym Class Heroes, Dwight Yoakam, Keb Mo, Styx, Switchfoot, The Black Crowes, LL Cool J, Pat Benatar, Pat Green, The Doobie Brothers, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Gap Band, Robert Earl Keen, The Neville Brothers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Ruben Studdard, The Wallflowers, Carrie Underwood, Train, Trapt, Miranda Lambert, Uncle Kracker, Earth Wind & Fire, Heart, The Steve Miller Band, REO Speedwagon, Ludacris, Jason Aldean, David Nail, Nelly, Widespread Panic, Barenaked Ladies & Blue October. The 2013 line-up is shaping up to be one of the best yet!

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 in the children’s area, 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.

VOLUNTEER COMMITTEE

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!

FESTIVAL CHAIRMAN
Drew Lott

ADMISSIONS
Anne Price, Betsy Turner, Candice Hickman, Chris Morgan, Cory Davis, Donette Spann, Jonathan Guydon, Justin Gatlin, Kelsey Jaco, La'Kesha Moore-Allen, Macey Worsham, Martin Marler, Melanie Fields, Robert Derryberry, Stacia Keough, Stacy Benton, Stephen Long, Tess Welch, Tonya Choate

COMMITTEE HOSPITALITY
Brandi Allen, Kirsta Nigro, Brenda & Paul Majors, Lori Bain, Lisa Marler

COMMUNICATIONS
Chris Krablin, Jay Meeks, Shannon Ellington, Anthony Lattin

FOOD
Angela Hill, Denise White, Holly Elliott, Karl Freeman, Sharon Smith, Randall Robinette


LOGISTICS PHOTOGRAPHER
John Antle

MERCHANDISE
Megan Hart, Laura Aday, Steve Aday

MEDIA RELATIONS
Stacey Hall, April Campbell, Tiffani Butler, Kelley Bass, Ashli Ahrens, Rhea Roberts, Antoinette Atkins, Lizzy Chandler, Melissa Ortega

PARKS/CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER
Debbie Shock

RIVERBANKS
Kathy Hester, Ervin Brendel, Holly Elloitt, Karen Hicks, Cathy Doan, Ann Dozier, Manley Dillon, Jana Veit, Terry Lee, Tyler Woods, Mark Collins, Korey Malloy, Jennifer Kelly-Santee, Chris Santee, David Arnold, Andrew Swindler, Jordan Koonce, Josh Harvey, Calista Kersh, Erica Cooper, Ervin Brendel, Gary Witherspoon, Joyce Richardson, Lynn Chu, Martie Savage

ROCK ‘N STROLL 5K, ROCK ‘N RIDE, RUFF ON THE RIVER
Katie McManners, Lee Irwin, Mary Gardner, Robby Matthews, Steve Bentley, Teresa Ricketts, Tina Ho, Gina Hartsell, Morgan Harrison, Shannon Nardi

SPONSOR PAVILION
Jennifer McConnser, Tina Chandler, Fred Osborne, Hedi Hemenway, Sarah Fritschie, Cheryl Campbell, Pricilla Backus, Jo Fortune

STICKYZ MUSIC STAGE
Mike Ortega, Lindsey Eaves, Justin Bentley, Charles Lyford, Gaile Prater, Amanda Legate

BUD LIGHT STAGE
Justin Hufty, Josh Womack, Evan Huffty, Daniel Graham 
 


TREASURY
Aaron Reed, Courtney Swindler, Terri Cohen, Kim Berry, Jeremy Cobb, Marc Sherman, Kathy Thorton, Deidre Metrailer, Spencer Workman

VOLUNTEERS
Dawn Talley, Britt Talley, Mary Katherine & Heath Henderson, Josh Miller, Hayley Dunn 

PHOTOGRAPHERS
Mark Wagner, Laura Otter, Greg Steinsiek

MAP MAN
Bram Keahey

FESTIVAL CO-CHAIRMAN
Alecia Castleberry


BEVERAGE
Mitch Wine, Chris Owens, Keri Thomas, Jacob Ponder, Craig Parsons, Damian Hicks, Andrew Crone, Chad Brown, Jason McDonald, Jamey Johnson, Jason McDonald, Lynn Ashley


GO GREEN/RECYCLING
Robert Robinette, Randall Robinette

 


INFORMATION
Sue Bemberg, Amanda Moore, Becky Moore, Jemi Ann Hall, Tonya Choate, Taylor Greenlee, Cindy Harris, Chase Hawkins, Mary DeLoney, Patty Yarbrough, Skylar Cothren, Taylor Pannell 

INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE
Nichole McGeorge, Sara Beth Leader, Lisa Nichols, Jennifer Owens
Antionette Atkins, Lizzy Chandler, Whitnie Hall, Sara Cathey

KIDZONE
Christy Ashley, Christy Garrett, Kimberly Chandler

OPERATIONS
Barrett Dudley, Chris Grimmett, Ed Price, Justin Blagg, Kirk Hogue, Kirk Jones, Korey Malloy, Manley Dillon, Mike Castleberry, Mike Stevenson, Rick Sugg, Yousef Fahoum

MERCHANT/ VENDOR RELATIONS
Amy Jones, Susanne Stabnick

PARKS/LITTLE ROCK
Bill Craig, Jackie Collins, Robbie Hudson, Brian Duckett

PARKS/NORTH LITTLE ROCK
Shannon Harris

ROVERS
Catherine Cole, Keri Hunt
 

PROCUREMENT/SUPPLIES

Bobby Bemberg, Lydia Bemberg, Marsha Clevenger, Kathi Stoyanov

FLOWING ON THE RIVER
Jennifer McConser, Jennifer Forrest, Heather Almendinger 

SECURITY
Shay Matyja, Joey Korte, Mike Bain, Dennis Mitchell, Craig Hill, Clark Halfacre, Andy Traffanstedt, Andy Goldthorpe, Ken Ekensear, Roger Jones, Dwayne Yarborough, Ken Ekenseair, Greg Thompson, Janie Brown

SPONSOR RELATIONS
Bryan Griffith, Jarrod Johnson, Jody Veit-Edrington, Leigh Anne Kreps

AMPHITHEATRE STAGE
Bob Henry, Stephen Roach, Corey Gilmore, Jerry Rye, Rich McCauley


TRANSPORTATION
Dave Hare, Jessica McSpadden, Barrett Rogers, Claire Wetzel, Chris Minor, Bayly Eley, 

WRISTBANDS
Brent Skrodenis, Leslie Traweek, Robbie Traweek, Rickie Smith, Sam Smith, Martin Marler, Lisa Marler, Emily Garza, Dedjaran Dunbar, Lawrence Rosser, Macey Worsham, Tori Jones, Robbie Jones, Rachel Weeks, Michael Hodges, Marsha Scullark, Lori Bain, Dedjaran Dunbar, Donna Cook, Freda Grandy 

WEBSITE
Mike Ortega

ZONE CAPTAINS
Jim Daugherty, Barbara Daugherty, Tjuana Byrd, Cheddy Wigginton,Matt Nilles, Gary Bunn, Mary Hunt

RIVERFEST BOARD

The Riverfest Board is an advisory group made of of business and community leaders from the Little Rock and North Little Rock areas. They work closely with the Riverfest, Inc. staff to oversee the business and management of the festival.

CHAIRMAN
Steve Bentley

PRESIDENT
Drew Lott

SECRETARY/TREASURER
Aaron Reed, CPA

ADVERTISING AGENCY
Rob Bell

LITTLE ROCK CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
Jim Rice

LR REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Kathy Perez

NORTH LITTLE ROCK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Terry Hartwick

PAST BOARD PRESIDENT
Kirsta Kirksey Thomas

MEMBERS AT LARGE
Kelley Bass, Mike Castleberry, Brent Morgan, Art Kellam, Cam Deacon, Chris Thomas, Keith Nigro, Michael Hickerson, Daniel Robinson, Bill Cobb, Courtney Swindler, Jordan Johnson, Charlie Porter, Patrick Wilson

VICE CHAIRMAN
Daniel Robinson

VICE PRESIDENT
Alecia Castleberry 

ASSISTANT TREASURER
Jeremy Cobb


LITTLE ROCK PARKS DEPT.
Truman Tolefree, Phoebe Stephens

NLR ADVERTISING & PROMOTION COMMISSION
Shannon Harris

PAST BOARD CHAIRMAN
Rob Bell

DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK PARTNERSHIP
Chellie Longstreth

EX-OFFICIO MEMBERS
Jim Sick, Barry Simon, Barry Travis, DeAnna Korte, Executive Director

OF COUNSEL
Andy Vines

STAFF
DeAnna Korte-Executive Director, Julie Shindler-Vendor & Special Attractions Coordinator, Barbara Daughtery-Volunteer Coordinator & Hannah Moix-Marketing Assistant                                   

 

©2015 Riverfest Arkansas. All rights reserved.