I’m embarrassed to say this was my first year going to Riverfest, but I’m so glad I did!! Located on the Riverfront, Riverfest radiates an atmosphere of peace and chill vibes. People sit wherever they can find a spot, but without sacrificing the view. With the Arkansas river and Junction Bridge in the background, it was nice to sit on a blanket and chill.
There were many exciting bands this year, but I chose to see Grouplove and Jon Bellion. They brought their “A” game with not only their music, but with their pure energy and enthusiasm.
We got there 20 minutes before opening time, so we could score free parking. Sadly, we had saved our tickets to our phone, and the far-out admission gate didn’t have a scanner. After walking for awhile, we found the next admission gate to go on in.
I was not a fan of how stringent security was about water. I understand weapons and that sort of thing, but no camel backs, water bottles, containers, etc? Many young people would/do risk dehydration in order to save money. (With water being $4 a bottle, I don’t blame them) I understand the festival needs to make money in order to stay in operation, but I don’t think it should be from water.
I was also not a fan of the ticket system. In order to get food, one needed to stand in a line to get food tickets. I made the mistake of not bringing cash, so I had to wait in the one long line that had a credit/debit card reader. I don’t know if these tickets saved on time or maybe kept people from holding so much cash, but I thought they were inconvenient. I had to keep up with the little pieces of paper and had to fumble counting and tearing them out.
The park consisted of two stages: the hipster one by the River and the country one by the Clinton library. In between, vendors set up along the walkway ending with a cute carnival. I made several jokes how there was a noticeable difference when we left “Hipster City” into “Countryville”. (trendy skirts to cowboy boots) I loved the format. At Memphis in May, it was all one giant field and one couldn’t move due to everything being on the same walkway (stages and vendors). I really liked not feeling claustrophobic.
Besides your typical carnival food trucks, there were noddles, gyros, turkey legs, craw-fish, and Thai to choose from. A local owner, Dark Side Coffee, was also set up. He sold-iced coffee that was delicious! In addition, a food truck by Blue Ribbon Concessions sold delicious Fried Oreos. Not just the normal kind, but double stuffed, birthday cake, red velvet, and chocolate as well!!
One of my favorite drink stands, was a Tequila garden. Patrón the Summer is currently on their summer tour. For $12 you entered into the garden and took a personality quiz. Based on your score determined what cocktail you were served! (If you were seriously upset about the choice they would allow you to switch). I scored the Highland Bramble.
As we sipped our drinks while being sheltered from the pouring rain, we were able to partake in the photo-booth. Once we received our photos, we were directed to a wonderful lady who gave us tequila popsicles!!!
I wasn’t a fan of the other food offered, especially not with the prices. So my friends and I opted for a local restaurant downtown called the Flying Saucer. Famous for their soft Bratzel, they offer this soft pretzel covered with cheese and sliced Bratwurst with spicy mustard or queso on the side. I don’t like soft pretzels, but I loved this one! They are also famous for their Saucer club, where members have drank/identified over 200 of their beers.
Many people were disappointed with the Lineup this year, but I’m glad Riverfest is finally branching out from only older artists and country artists (not that I don’t like them, I just like variety). They still had country music this year, but I’m glad they offered another genre as well. Jon Bellion, GroupLove, Cold War Kids, and Moon Taxi are known among hipsters and indie music lovers alike. Appealing to the younger generation, their music breaks barriers and is on the rise. The main show stoppers this year were Cage the Elephant and Wiz Khalifa drawing in more diverse crowds.
Some suggested songs:
- Maybe IDK- Jon Bellion
- Hand of God-Jon Bellion
- All Time Low-Jon Bellion
- Run Wild-Jon Bellion
- Morocco-Moon Taxi
- First-Cold War Kids
- Tongue Tied- GroupLove
- Good Morning-GroupLove
Like I’ve stated, I’m not a fan of the price of water. In their defense, the festival was only $46 dollars for the two days of music. Compared to Memphis in May which is $50 a day where seating is highly limited, I thought it was a deal. I can see where people didn’t think it was worth it this year due to the bands not lining up with their musical interests. Maybe instead of having one country stage and an alternative, new age stage, the committee should have chosen a more diverse lineup.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience! It even rained Saturday, and it didn’t dampen our spirits….
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