Entertainment » Jim Harris

Looking ahead to Riverfest

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Several big-name bands are being connected with the upcoming Riverfest music and arts festival held along both sides of the Arkansas River here on Memorial Day weekend.

Before we go any further, let’s mention that if you’re waiting for Dave Matthews to play Riverfest, forget it. U2? No way.

Nobody who is going to cost most of the Riverfest budget for music will be signed any time, any year. Riverfest doesn’t expect to charge folks $30 or more a day. Fortunately for music fans, the Riverfest board keeps boosting the music budget to keep up with the growing cost of acts the festival can afford.

That out of the way, we can say that the bands we’re seeing confirmed for this year are names that should excite anyone, considering the ticket is still $7.50 (in advance, either at riverfestarkansas.com, or beginning April 15 at all Harvest Foods stores) to see all three days of concerts.

Newest names to surface, according to DeAnna Shannon, the Riverfest executive director, are Train, Live, Switchfoot, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and the bluegrass favorites Del McCoury Band. They join the already announced quintet of classic soul-dance act Kool and the Gang, Dwight Yoakam, the Neville Brothers, the Doobie Brothers and Texas honky tonk sensation Pat Green.

A recent Rolling Stone magazine reported on Dumpstaphunk, led by Aaron Neville’s son, saying it was one of the must-see shows of this season.

The Grammy Award-winning Train will be the rock headliner on North Little Rock’s Budweiser stage on Friday, May 26. Seeing Train at 9:30 p.m. will mean missing most of the Grammy-winning Del McCoury, who starts at 9 p.m. across the river at the smaller Triple-S Alarm Stage.

Live, led by guitarist and vocalist Ed Kowalczyk and which has a new album set for April release, will be on the Bud stage late Saturday, opposite Yoakam at the amphitheater.

One change: The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will play earlier Sunday than in the past, with the Doobie Brothers playing the amphitheater as the fireworks go off overhead.

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