Madison Ribberfest

Cray, Moss to headline
2012 Blues Bash

River cruises, 5K race return
as part of barbecue-blues party

By Don Ward

(August 2012) – The Madison Ribberfest returns for its 11th year on Aug., 17-18 with a popular lineup of blues music and barbecue along the Ohio River at Madison Bicentennial Park. Musician Robert Cray will serve as the headliner on Saturday night, while Friday night will close with musician Nick Moss.
In addition, there will be the annual amateur and pro barbecue cooking competitions, along with a 5K run and walk, and paddleboat rides on the river.
Last year’s event was the largest crowd ever, and organizers are hopeful to fill the park once again this year with Cray’s performance.

Madison Ribberfest
Band Schedule

Friday, Aug 17
5 p.m.: Gates open
6 p.m.: Jimmy Davis Band
8 p.m.: Trampled Under Foot
10 p.m.: Nick Moss

Saturday, Aug. 18
11 a.m.: Gates open
11:30 a.m.: Jimmy G & the Sidewinders
1:30 p.m.: Tyler Mac
3:30 p.m.: Eden Brent
5:30 p.m.: Tad Robinson
7:30 p.m.: Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish
9:30 p.m.: Robert Cray

Born in Columbus, Ga., Cray grew up in Newport News, Va., and became a well known blues singer and guitarist who has earned five Grammy awards. By age 20 he was living on the West Coast and formed his own band. Soon he was touring with musicians such as Eric Clapton and others. In 2011, Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Cray will take the stage at 9:30 p.m. Saturday for a two-hour set to climax Ribberfest’s Blues Bash.
“We are excited to bring Robert Cray to Madison. What a great talent he is,” said Ribberfest director Kathy Ayers. “Our line-up this year promises to be exhilarating, with Madison’s own Jimmy Davis Band kicking off the weekend on Friday. Jimmy is an incredible talent and we are proud to say he is ours. He is well known regionally and now nationally.”
There will be wall-to-wall blues music starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, through 11:30 p.m., then again starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Of course, no one is expected to listen to a two days of blues music without food and drink to sustain them. Both are readily available at Ribberfest, with barbecue being the meal of choice.
Two barbecue competitions are incorporated into the festival. Amateur cooking teams take their turn at Friday’s Madison Courier Backyard Barbecue Bash. Festival participants are welcome to watch the teams at work, and are often offered free samples.

Robert Cray

Photo provided

Robert Cray has toured
with many musical legends,
including Eric Clapton.

The more serious competition sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society is on Saturday. More than 60 KCBS-sanctioned barbecue teams are already registered for Saturday’s judging.
The KCBS teams compete in seven categories: chicken, pork ribs, pork, beef brisket, barbecue sauce, “anything butt” and dessert. Winners will take away $12,000 in cash as well as other awards.
“We have a full list of KCBS teams, a growing list of Backyard Blast Amateur barbecuers, and we need more competitors for our KidzQ (children’s) cooking competition,” Ayers said. “This year we are giving cash prizes to our young chefs. We will award $200 to first place in each age category 8-11 and 12-15. Second place will receive $100 in each age group.”
Ribberfest promises more than just blues and barbecue, however.
For the second year, organizers have invited the “Spirit of Cincinnati” paddlewheeler to give 45-minute river cruises throughout the two days of the festival.
These will be open to the public at $15 for riders aged 13 and older and $3 for children 4-12. Children under 3 are free. Ribberfest participants who are wearing their wristbands can ride for only $10.
Advance tickets for the riverboat rides are available through the Madison Visitors Center at (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956. Ribberfest patrons who reserve their tickets in advance will receive their $5 rebate at the ticket table at the dock.
The 5K run and walk begins at 8 a.m. Saturday. The start-finish line will be on Vaughn Drive near Fireman’s Park at the foot of Jefferson Street. The route will make a five-kilometer loop through downtown Madison, extending as far as Springdale Cemetery. The $10 entry fee includes a special Ribberfest T-shirt.
“The 5K RibberRun will start in a different direction this year – heading west from Fireman’s Park – hoping to give our runners and walkers a new view of Ribberfest,” Ayers said. “It was fun laying out the new direction allowing the walkers and runners to pass some of the professional barbeque teams.”
Those needing a break from music can divert themselves with the “Pig Toss” cornhole tournament or by strolling through “Pigmania,” the display of painted and costumed concrete pigs. Children will enjoy giant inflatable playthings at the “Piglet Pen.”
“It takes committed sponsors, a large committee and hundreds of volunteers to bring an event this size to life,” Ayers said. “We appreciate all the help and dedication. We are looking forward to a large crowd to reward our efforts.”
Admission wristbands are $20 for the two-day festival. Wristbands can be purchased at the Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. and various retailers in Madison. Or order tickets online at www.VisitMadison.org. Gate prices on Saturday only will be $20. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult.

• For more information, visit: www.MadisonRibberfest.com.

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