Music and Boat Racing

Madison Regatta has full lineup
of bands for Roostertail Festival

Live music has become a staple
at the boat racing event

Madison Regatta Roostertail Music
Festival Lineup

• Thursday, July 4: (free admission): Amy Noel, Steamship, Nick Dittmeier, The High Divers
• Friday, July 5: The Pass, Frederick the Younger, Little Stranger, Moon Taxi
• Saturday, July 6: Brent Mathis, 16 Bones, Edgar Red, Justin Wells, American Aquarium, Brent Cobb, Whiskey Myers
• Tickets and Information: (812) 493-4984 or online at www.MadisonRegatta.com

(May 2019) – Madison, Ind.’s newest music festival returns and in full swing for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The Madison Regatta Roostertail Music Festival, full of alternate rock and outlaw country music, has officially announced its musical lineup, starting with Amy Noel on Thursday, July 4 and ending with Whiskey Myers on Saturday, July 6.
The Madison Regatta Unlimited hydroplane race schedule, featuring the 2019 Gold Cup race this year, is being planned for Friday through Sunday, July 5-7.
“Brent Turner and Brent Thacker are heading up the Music Committee, and their plan of finding bands who are just about to explode as national scene is proving itself worthy,” said Madison Regatta President Matt True. “These bands are selling out everywhere they go and hitting it big, so right here in your back yard is the best place to see them. Plus it’s less expensive compared to seeing them anywhere else.” 
Some of the bands include Amy Noel, who just came out with an album in February; The Pass, a hip, ’80s vibe Louisville band; Little Stanger, which plays with an alternate and hip hop feel from Philadelphia; and Moon Taxi, a party band all the way from Nashville, Tenn. Justin Wells Band and Brent Cobb put on a country show, while Edgar Red will play straight up rock. There are many types of genres of music that will be performing during Regatta weekend, but not one band or performer sounds the same.    

Photo courtesy of Khris Poege

Whiskey Myers band will perform as the Saturday night headline act at the Madison Regatta Roostertails Music Festival. The band includes (from left) John Jeffers, Cody Cannon and Cody Tate.

The festival will be held at Madison Bicentennial Park during the 69th year of the Madison Regatta. Hydroplane boat racing will take place on the Ohio River that weekend. Every day at the Regatta, different bands will be performing to enthrall and captivate the Regatta crowd and, it is hoped, to draw more of the community and other folks to this event, True said. Alongside with the boat races and the music festival, there will also be free fireworks on Saturday, July 6 at dusk.
The fireworks will culminate an entire week of other festival events, including scholarship pageants, a waterball fight, street dance and free music in the park. Kim Welsh and Kim True assemble the annual Regatta Parade leading up to the first event that requires a wrist band on Friday night. 
This being the third year of the Roostertail Festival, organizers are hoping the attendance will increase each year. In 2017, they held a one night show in the inaugural year of the music festival. In 2018, they went bigger with two nights of music and had around 7,500 people attend, they said. The event included a free Thursday night to kick off the weekend. So for 2019, they plan again to offer three nights of music, including the free Thursday night with paid bands playing.
“Our goal from the start has been to bring in new and younger fans to the Madison Regatta,” said Turner. “We took a hard look at the other two amazing festivals in Madison and wanted to do something different. The Madison Regatta has always been Madison’s loudest festival, and we wanted to extend that feeling into the music side. We have focused on cutting edge artists from multiple genres, but our main focus is on rock and country. I truly believe that with the lineup we booked in 2018 and again in 2019 that we have something that everyone will love and walk away from extremely impressed by the talent level.”
True added, “We are hoping for a sellout of 10,500, but realistically, we are planning on 8,500 to 9,000 people this year.

Photo courtesy of Harper Smith

Moon Tax will perform as the Friday night headliner on
July 5.

Online tickets are going well. We are setting record sales each month so far, so we are encouraging people to buy their tickets early before we do sell out.”
There are multiple types of tickets available for the regatta weekend. Music only tickets are $25; race only tickets are $25, which includes walk-through access to the cold pit area for an up close look at the boats and crews. Admission for all the music and racing with cold pit walk-through access, the combo ticket is $34. 
During the last few years, the Madison Regatta hasn’t had as many ticket sales as they previously anticipated, so the Regatta Committee is trying to find ways to help with the debt. The hope was that this music festival will help with revenue and keep the ticket sales up. The Madison Regatta is part of Madison’s history starting in 1950 and the community has aspiration to keep this Regatta tradition alive.  
“We have paid $82,000 of old past due debt from all previous years,” True said. “We paid out $23,000 plus to local civic organizations who helped us in 2018. We still have a line of credit (close to $50,000) that we took out as collateral on the Miss Madison Boat Shop, which Madison Regatta owns, so we are not completely debt free. A fun fact is that it takes almost half million to put on this event. That’s right –  a half million dollars, and the event brings into the community about $1.2 million for the week.”
Each year brings new and exciting events to the Regatta to help improve its attendance and revenue. Bands will play on Thursday night, offering that free to everyone with an alumni theme. Also, the event will have more diverse venders, more craft beer options and a whiskey sponsor. The Regatta Committee is currently talking with a carnival and arcade group, so this year should be noticeably much bigger and better.  
“We think the event feels fresh again like it has gone through a total makeover, adding things that people want so they are coming back,” True said. “Sell music and sell beer. So with Bicentennial Park being a proven concert venue, it was natural for us to do so. Now it seems like a no brainer. This is Madison’s biggest reunion, and the word is getting out again that it’s a must attend event again.” 
Lots of activities are available leading up to the Regatta this year. These include the Propwalkers Remote Controlled boat races with people from all over the country coming to race at the Jefferson Proving Ground’s Lake Krueger on June 29. They may also run their RC boats on the Ohio River east of the pit area.
Also the Regatta Committee has invited the local vintage hydroplane group, 5-to-the-5 to run some vintage ­ on the Ohio River on Saturday. The 5-to-the-5 group says 12 or more vintage hydros are expected to participate.
The Regatta Committee is still negotiating with H1 Unlimited to bring a full slate of 8-10 Unlimiteds this year. The race will also be host for the APBA Gold Cup.

“This entire committee is invested and committed to this events success and couldn’t do it without each person doing their part,” True said. “My favorite part of the festival is the pride, the smiles, the conversations and the enjoyment you see on people’s faces that this is our hometown, and we are celebrating the best country in the entire world.”

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