Though the music festival is scaling back in some ways, the River City Music Revival will still set up shop and provide a night to connect with local music.
Just in its second year, the River City Music Revival is limiting tickets to 225 spots (as compared to more than 600 attendees last year) with four bands. This year’s lineup will be Shiloh, the Dave Baker Band, Blues Deville and SoulRoot, who are returning for a second year. The event starts at 3:30 p.m. March 6, and bands will cycle through sets from 4-11:30 p.m. at Capital Bluffs Event Center, 1616 Oilwell Road.
Downsizing was a tough decision to make, organizer Doyle Kempker said, but “it was either that or do nothing, and doing nothing doesn’t keep … the music community moving forward.”
First started as a way to bring the music community together, the event this year intends to do the same, providing a space for attendees to experience live music and give back to local artists.
Because tickets are limited, Kempker chose to limit the number of bands as well. Some bands were still uncomfortable performing in a closed venue.
Proceeds from tickets benefit the artists directly, and with less tickets sold, the pot of money was inevitably smaller.
“While most of them would do it for nothing, I’ve been a musician my whole entire life — since I was 6 years old I’ve been playing — so I value their time, and I feel like their time should be worth something as well,” Kempker said.
Even with less bands, Kempker praised the variety of music for the night, from traditional country with Shiloh to classic rock and modern country with the Dave Baker Band to “not your typical put-you-to-sleep kind of blues” but “really good blues” from Blues Deville. And SoulRoot, he said, has a wide genre of a bit of everything.
Shiloh is set to take the stage at 4:30 p.m., Dave Baker Band at 6 p.m., Blues Deville at 8 p.m. and SoulRoot will close out the night from 10-11:30 p.m.
Kempker credits Danny Baumgartner with Capital Bluffs for making the event what it is, as well as Jenny Babcock and Tracy Blase with The Mission, who last year helped immensely with selling tickets and teaching him “how this all works.”
Kyle Caraway will return as the emcee this year.
The bands, he said, have also helped promote the event on Facebook.
“I had a tremendous amount of support that I felt extremely blessed by. … The bands are the ones that put on this show. I’m just the one that organizes and provides the sound and lighting for it,” he said.
Even with a scaled-back event, Kempker said he is thankful to have the opportunity to continue giving back to the bands that made his business, Quality Sound Solutions, what it is.
“Last year was an event that I never in a million years dreamed would happen like it did,” he said. “It wasn’t me — it was all the bands that did it. … I was so blessed to have such a wonderful group of people putting it on, and I think we also have a wonderful group of people doing it this year.”
And, he added, “hopefully next year, when things open up … we can do it in its full glory.”
Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased in person at the Turkey Creek Golf Center office or on EventBrite through the River City Music Revival Facebook page. All proceeds from the event will be split among the performing bands. Capital Bluffs will have a cash bar for non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, and may provide some food choices as well, Kempker said.
Face coverings for the event are optional. Kempker emphasized it’s everyone’s personal responsibility to decide their comfort level, but the large venue, especially with limited attendance, will easily allow for social distancing.
“I really was going to cancel it completely and then got to thinking, ‘Dang it, do I really want to do this?’” Kempker said.
He struggled to find a balance.
Ultimately, Kempker said, he decided that “for those people that do want to come out, let’s do something.”