River Arkansas band headlines River On The River Festival

Get ready for a toe-tapping, paddle flapping, river-loving weekend of river life, friendship and live music at the first annual River On The River festival, co-organized by Buena Vista’s River Runners rafting company and the River Arkansas band.

River on the River fest happens Aug. 10-12 at River Runners complex, south of Buena Vista. Proceeds from beer sales (donated by Eddyline Brewery) will benefit the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA). Festivities begin 4 p.m. Friday and continue through 1 p.m. Sunday.

“We love the river. It’s given us so much. We want to give back,” says Macon Terry, bass player for River Arkansas and event organizer. He hopes the festival will be a way to bring people of all ages together to celebrate river culture, music, camping and living a good life.

The River Arkansas Band was conceived by Coloradan Mike Clark, who has lived most of his life on the banks of the Arkansas River. He penned a group of songs about love, heartbreak and day-to-day society; then musician friends joined in and the songs became their first record. Repertoire includes a lively mix of country, blues, folk, gypsy swing and Americana.

Fronted by Clark, the River Arkansas includes some of the finest musicians from Colorado, including Boulder, Saguache, Trinidad and Pueblo. “The sound of this band is absolutely at home at any mountain festival, but don’t assume it to be another one-trick folk pony. No way. This’ll play in the city,” according to a review by Stubborn Sounds. Clark’s other endeavors include The Ghost of Michael Clark, The Haunted Windchimes and The Sugar Sounds.

“We came up with the festival idea, reached out to river rafters and began brainstorming how to make this an unforgettable event with a highly positive vibe. River Runners has been just great,” says Terry.

Travis Hoch, River Runners general manager and event co-organizer, spent most of his life on the river, first as a rafting guide and later working in operations. “I have gained much wisdom from my time spent on the river. In the beginning I was a little afraid of it. Later, I learned the ropes and felt that I knew everything. Now, I’ve learned that there is always more to learn; it never ends. It’s about learning to respect the river.”

River Runners infuses this philosophy into everything, striving to create a safe, inspired place for people to experience river adventure at their level of comfort. “This is going to be a great reason to get out and spend some time by the river, camping, dancing and paddling for a good cause” says Hoch.

The weekend’s music lineup begins with Agave from 8-10 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the music continues with Ry Warner from 1-3 p.m., Forgotten Space from 4-7 p.m. and the River Arkansas band from 7-10:30 p.m. Afterward, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, there’ll be a silent disco with DJ Johnny Walker. There are rumors of a surprise Sunday morning music performance by Arkansas Valley.

Packages include a Rafting, Camping and Music pass for $100 per person, which includes a half-day rafting trip Saturday morning; a Private Boater pass offers camping and music for $25 per person Friday and Saturday nights; and a Music Only pass covering music only all three days for $5 per person. Those with their own aquatic transportation can float in, park on the shore and enjoy the music for free.

For information, visit whitewater.net/river-on-the-river-music-fest/.