River City Rock Festival

Family-friendly rock festival
features national, regional acts

Proceeds provide music
instruction for troubled youths

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(September 2009) – Music, food and an assortment of activities for the entire family all rolled into one package sounds like a “rocking” way to spend a weekend to many people.

Joe Devito


The public will be treated to a two-day rock fest, River City Rock and Roll Festival on Sept. 18-19 at Madison Bicentennial Park. The event features national, regional and local rock bands.
All proceeds benefit Musicians For All, a non-profit organization dedicated to putting musical instruments and instruction in the hands and minds of troubled youths. The goal of the organization is to provide the gift of creativity and self-confidence to children who may need it the most.
In addition to a lineup of rock bands that will entertain the crowds throughout the weekend, there will be a KidZone with inflatables, a cornhole tournament, an adult beverage area, and vendors featuring hand-crafted jewelry. Old Hippy Recycling will have a booth on “green” awareness and information for green living.
Overnight tent and R.V. camping and hotel packages will be available through Riverboat Inn, 906 E. First St. The hotel is also sponsoring the hospitality for the bands that will perform throughout the weekend. Vinnie’s Smokin Crow’s BBQ and Catering will offer a full menu of food and snacks.
The main sponsor of the event is Gaylor, while other sponsors include Electric Lady and Riverboat Inn. The two headliner bands drastically reduced their prices, while all other bands donated their time to the event. Clear Sound and Light, which is in charge of all technical issues for the bands, also discounted their price for the event.
“This is going to be an exciting fun-filled family event,” said MFA president and event coordinator Joe Devito. “There won’t be any heavy metal or screaming, just the good old-fashioned rock and roll that people enjoy dancing to and singing along with.”
This is the second year for the festival, which was held at the Fireman’s Park last year. Close to 600 people attended that inaugural event, according to Devito. He said this year’s goal is to double or even triple that number and eventually grow the festival to the success of many of Madison’s other festivals, which attract thousands of people annually to the historic river town.
Devon Allman’s Honeytribe headlines the event at 10 p.m. Friday. Honeytribe was formed in 1999 in St. Louis, Mo. Led by singer and guitarist Allman, son of legendary musician Greg Allman, they quickly became one of the top draws in their hometown and won the Jam Band of the Year award in the Riverfront Times Magazine Poll. “People are going to love listening to this band,” said Devito. “We are thrilled to have them here.”
Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday and other bands that will perform during the evening are local favorites the Jimmy Davis Band, Andrea Davidson and The Flavors, a popular group from North Vernon, Ind.
On Saturday evening, Ekoostik Hookah headlines at 8 p.m. Born early in 1991 in a smoky basement bar, the band has been continually evolving, cultivating a sound that has perked the ears of contemporaries and attracted fans that travel miles to hear them play.
The Ohio-based band began jamming during weekly open-microphone nights when vocalist-keyboardist Dave Katz, lead guitarist Steve Sweney, bassist Cliff Starbuck and guitarist-vocalist John Mullins had full-time gigs with popular bands.
Gates open at 10 a.m. Saturday, with music starting at noon. Other performers for the day include local favorites Samesoul and Rusty Bladen and the Designated Drivers. Shaggy Wonda, Local Villians Mellow Fellow Factory, Michael Kelsey, The Vessel and Nicki Grill.
Wristbands in advance for the event are $5 for junior high and high school students, $15 for a one-day pass or $20 for a two-day pass. Children 12 and under are free. Wristbands are $18 a day at the gate.

• For more information, visit www.mfa-info.com or call (812) 599-2400.

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