BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A pain of progress has come to Fort Madison, at least for this summer.
RiverFest 2022 organizer Charles Craft announced Friday morning that the annual music festival along Fort Madison’s scenic riverfront will move to Quincy this summer.
Craft released a statement indicating the festival would be tough financially to put on with all the construction progress taking place in the city.
The release in its entirety reads as follows:
“After careful consideration and contemplation, we must share the following news with you regarding RiverFest 2022. First, we want to thank all of the fans, our fantastic sponsors, our committee, our staff, our volunteers, and the City of Fort Madison for their steadfast and continued support. Without this support, RiverFest Fort Madison would not have enjoyed the success we’ve seen for the past six years.
While we have been carefully monitoring the construction project at Riverview Park, several concerns came to light. The loss of 60% of our parking, unsuitable ground conditions at our festival site stemming from the Marina project, and the road construction on Avenue H, among other factors have led us to the conclusion that we simply cannot sustain the highest quality event and experience that our loyal fans and sponsors deserve. We have looked at mitigation efforts to keep RiverFest in its original location and nothing we came up with was determined to be a suitable plan. While these things mean that the riverfront is not suitable for our needs this year, RiverFest enthusiastically supports the Marina project and the Avenue H road project as they both mean progress for Fort Madison.
The unfortunate reality is that when given the choice to present a sub-par event or explore
other options, we chose to maintain the level of quality entertainment in a different location.
We found a community that met all our criteria and had a suitable site on the Mississippi River
for RiverFest. We met with key leaders in the community and decided that Quincy, Illinois was
a great fit for RiverFest. The dates and the artists will remain the same.
Anyone who has already purchased a ticket for RiverFest 2022 will be given the option of
keeping that ticket for RiverFest 2022 in Quincy, Illinois or receive a refund.
We will continue to work hard to bring you the events you love. And while it’s true that
RiverFest will no longer take place where we began, we are committed to
continuing to provide a quality festival experience for our attendees.
Tickets for RiverFest 2022 in Quincy, Illinois are on sale now at etix.com. Watch our social
media pages and our website for more details as they become available.
Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld said he met with Craft and the organization group a month ago about the construction and its impact on the festival, but said he was a bit surprised with the news when Craft called him Thursday.
“Am I disappointed, yes. Everyone who knows me knows I love festivals and I think festivals are very Fort Madison and very southeast Iowa. But I wish him well. They have to do what’s right for them, and I would say the same thing about Fort Madison and entertainment,” Mohrfeld said.
“I’m not going to apologize for this statement. We’re going to go out and look for another festival. We want to create an environment for another festival.”
Mohrfeld said he’d like to use the same group of volunteers because of their dedication and success. He said an Octoberfest or 4th of July festival or something around Memorial Day in future years.
He said RiverFest was a specific genre and targeted a specific group of visitors and fans.
“Moving forward maybe there are things in that park that would be more compatible because of the development of the marina. Maybe a theme could emerge,” he said.
Mohrfeld said anyone who’s been thinking about a festival or had an idea should reach out to city officials.