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And the Fest Goes On

By. Aaron Hartzler

This years River Roots Live festival took place downtown Davenport on August 22 and 23rd. Much has been said about the evolution River Roots—from a stand-alone two-day fest with major, and arguably more relevant headliners such as Umphrey's McGee and The Black Crows, to the now combined Rockin Ribs Fest with nostalgic and "county fair type" headliners such as Foghat and The Guess Who.

The future of River Roots Live has appeared bleaker each year the new lineup is announced. The quality of the artists has been increasingly more questionable and one naturally begins to wonder where this festival is headed. Will it level out? Or will it continue to spiral down? Any fest is better than no fest, and even with smaller acts filling more of the bill each year, many quality sets of music have been enjoyed by River Root's patrons.

With the announcement that this year's fest was to be put on for free, it seemed that this was to be the festival's "swan song." Organizers seemed to be taking their losses, and chances of another River Roots were less-likely than ever. That was of course until Friday's attendance swelled and ribs ran-out.

Maybe the urban setting of downtown Davenport compared to openness of LeClaire Park led to the illusion that crowds were bigger than past years. Maybe the "Sold Out" signs posted on rib vendor's gigantic menus were the result of poor planning. Or maybe QCA residents were willing to give the 'little fest that could' a chance now that the experience would be free.

River Roots investors and music fans alike should hope that festival goers enjoyed themselves enough that next year they will be willing to give a little green in support of the local fest. Hopefully this year marks the turnaround for the fest and next year will be financially advantageous for investors. Maybe the year River Roots Live had to swim to higher ground and fight to break even, will be the year the little fest turned big again.


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