RiverFest music festival opens in Gadsden

GADSDEN, Ala (WIAT) – This is a big anniversary for Gadsden’s RiverFest. The two-day music festival started with a single stage on the banks of the Coosa River in 1986. Now it’s two stages and a lot bigger names in the spot lights. Rock band Third Eye Blind headlined Friday. County superstar Wynonna Judd will close things down late Saturday.

But in between, it’s a lot of local musicians and up and coming acts. Back in the day, stars like Toby Keith, Keith Urban and even blues legend Bo Diddly hit the RiverFest stage. Co-Chairman Mike Shannon says this is one of those events that could never happen without the army of volunteers. Some of them have been with the show for all 29 years.

From its humble beginnings, Shannon says this is now a major event for the area. “It’s a big deal for Gadsden and Etowah county to showcase our community and to bring people in to spend the weekend with us,” he says.

But it’s big for the fans as well. This is only the third trip for Reese Hardin, but it’s very special. His son is playing here for the first time. Trey Hardin is the guitarist for local singer Riley Greene. The duo opened things up Friday afternoon.

“Yeah, he’s from Southside, a local kid. So is Riley. So it’s great, seeing some of the local kids get a little play in front of the home crowd,” says the proud father.

Things are a little different for 2014. The main change is a second stage down on the Gadsden Boardwalk. Shannon says that stage will welcome all local acts on Saturday and then host a teen dance party later in the night.

Gates open at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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