Insider’s guide to Riverfest

Editor’s note: The event featured in this article occurred in 2017, but we hear that this year’s will be the best yet. Find it on our events page.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do; when at a music festival, do as the musicians do. This year Riverfest, Arkansas’s biggest festival, turns the big 4-0. Naturally, they’ve got an equally massive celebration planned, with special events and activities in addition to the centerpiece concert lineup. To assist you in making the most of this special occasion, we enlisted a handful of homegrown Riverfest 2017 musicians to share a few of their favorite things about the festival and a couple tips to help you have the best. fest. ever.

Dazzmin “Dazz” Murray and Kabrelyn “Brie” Boyce, Dazz & Brie // Saturday, June 3, Amphitheater Stage, 1:15 p.m.

Dazz: “My favorite thing about Riverfest is the lineup! Not just this year (because we made the cut!), but in the past I’ve gotten to experience artists that I may not have seen had they not come to Riverfest. We are excited about playing because it will be the biggest stage & audience for us to play for! Last year we only dreamed of being on the amphitheater stage and this year we get to live out that dream! One thing I enjoy doing downtown is stopping in Stickyz and having those chicken fingers. I’m sure I’ll eat those Friday night before our big day!”

Brie: “One tip for me is to come prepared! There is usually a lot of walking and standing involved, so I typically pack a festival survival kit, which is really just a backpack stocked with necessities. This includes anything from ponchos (because umbrellas require hands, which limits the amount of delicious food you can hold), to an itinerary of performances we absolutely HAVE to see, to a mini first aid kit, to bottles of water and snacks. When we go, we want to be there all night with no worries of having to leave!”

Drew deFrance, deFrance // Sunday, June 4, Clinton Center Stage, 2:45 p.m.

“I’m really glad to be a part of the 40th anniversary of Riverfest! I’ve been coming here since I was a kid & have seen so many great shows over the years (The Black Crowes, BB King, Widespread Panic, Snoop Dogg, etc.) We’ve also played Riverfest a few times before, getting the chance to open for the likes of Peter Frampton, Drive By Truckers, Chicago & The Steepwater Band. One time I even got to jam with Robert Randolph in front of the Clinton Library! I have so many great memories of Riverfest; it was me & my girlfriend’s first date & has been an annual thing for us ever since. I’m gonna be all about turkey legs & fireworks! Here’s to a great Riverfest 2017!”

(If you want to catch Drew offstage, here are the shows on his must-see list this year: Cage the Elephant, Dazz & Brie, Tank & the Bangas, Seratones, Cody Jinks, Cold War Kids, Wiz Khalifa, Andy Frasco & the U.N., and Morris Day & the Time.)

Epiphany Morrow, Big Piph and Tomorrow Maybe // Sunday, June 4, Amphitheater Stage, 4:30 p.m.

“I’ve got 3 things that I always look on fondly from my Riverfest experiences. The first are the serendipitous meetings and convos to be had with the folks you weren’t expecting to see. It’s kind of like a Central Arkansas Facebook with the festival being the timeline. Y’all aren’t real friends, but it’s cool like for the quick, 400-word or less, “How’s your family been” convo. Secondly, I’m always down for catching a show or two of someone who wouldn’t swing through the city otherwise And lastly, fried alligator on a stick. You know…because it’s good.”

Ryan Hitt, Amasa Hines // Sunday, June 4, Amphitheater Stage, 7:30 p.m.

“As a musician one thing that sticks out to me is the hospitality. We travel quite a bit, so it’s always a warm welcome to come home and play Riverfest. A “must do”—support your local bands! It’s a great opportunity to see your favorite local bands play on some big stages. Oh, and of course the food. The Little Rock food truck scene is growing and I love it.”

There you have it, folks: Come hungry, bring a poncho, and be sure to show up and make some noise for the bands—especially our many phenomenal Arkansas artists!