BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – RiverFest fans that packed South Kinnick on Saturday night had to play guessing-games with Riverfest co-organizer Charles Craft on Saturday night to find out who would be taking the stage at the 2018 summer festival.
In its second year, after a reboot in 2017 from the late 80s and 90s RiverFest, festival goes will get to see some big time names this year. In 2017 Craft brought in mostly-country themed headliners with some local rock bands in the mix.
This year he’s transitioned into more of a rock theme, but Sunday will still have the country flare. But Craft said festival goes will be impressed with this year’s lineup.
“This is going to be something that Fort Madison can be proud of,” Craft said Saturday night. “This is a lineup full of national acts and we’re bringing something for everyone.”
Thursday night will feature a winner of the first ever Battle of the Bands, which is a charitable event where attendees will donate to the bucket of their favorite of three charities including Elliott Test Kitchen of Fort Madison, Puppy Jake Foundation of Urbandale, or P.A.W. Animal Shelter in Fort Madison. The winning charity will get an extra $500. Attendees will also hear local and regional bands and choose their favorite to open RiverFest’s main stage entertainment on Thursday night.
The band will open for Saving Abel, who hit fame in 2008 with “Addicted”, which hit number two on the charts that year.
On April 20, 2013, Saving Abel performed in Waterloo, Iowa to raise funds for a community healing project to raise funds for the creation of Angel’s Park in Evansdale, Iowa. The park was inspired by Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. The girls vanished in July 2012 and were found deceased in December. Jive Radio will wrap up the entertainment on Thursday night.
Friday will feature a local flare with Chaz & The Channel Catz and the Brandon Gibbs Band. According to Craft, Fort Madison police officer Brent Gibbs, who originally toured with his brother Brandon, will be playing the drums for the show. That will set the stage for late 80s, early 90s glam rock band FireHouse, and Decade of Decadence, a hair metal tribute band.
Saturday brings a heavier rock flavor with Headfirst opening for Hinder, who formed in 2001 and became a household rock name with the release of “Lips of an Angel”. The band originally formed in 2001 but just last month released their self-titled album. Craft said an additional band may be added at the front end of the Saturday and Sunday performances.
Then highly coveted Pop Evil comes to town. Pop Evil gained notoriety in 2013 with the hit single “Trenches”, along with other hits including “100 in a 55” and “Last Man Standing.
On Sunday, another local favorite Stump Town will kick off the main stage entertainment, followed by the RiverFest reveal party host The Natu Band before national country singer and rapper Colt Ford wraps things up Sunday night.
Craft said one of the neat parallels for this year’s event is that FireHouse played in 1994 at RiverFest, which was also the first time RiverFest featured dragon boat races.
“FireHouse is coming back this year and so are the dragon boats…and we’re really excited about both of those coming back to Fort Madison,” Craft said.
The RiverFest games will be similar to last year, highlighted by the Sand Volleyball tournament, the KanJam tournament, a Bags tournament, and the return of the World Series of Beer Pong with a qualifier taking place at Kinnick South again and the main event at RiverFest.
This year’s event runs Aug. 2nd-5th and tickets for entertainment will feature 4-day admission passes for $35, will available at area retailers soon until then they are available Ticketfly.com. Tickets will be $40 at the gate.
There are 500 4-day VIP tickets, which includes front-stage access and VIP air conditioned restrooms for $55 in advance and individual day a la carte VIP passes will be available for $10 at the gate until the 500 are sold out. Single day tickets for any day are $25 (available only at Ticketfly.com) and $30 at the gate each day.
2018 RiverFest music lineup
Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
Winner of the May 27th Battle of the Bands
Jive Radio (beer tent)
Friday, August 3rd, 2018
Chaz & The Channel Catz
The Brandon Gibbs Band
Decade of Decadence (beer tent)
Saturday, August 4th, 2018
Band to be Announced
X-Krush (beer tent)
Sunday, August 5th, 2018
Band to be announced
The Natu Band