"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Look this list over and make some choices, because unless you manage to get a golf cart past the gate it will be hard to travel from one end of Riverfest to the other to catch contemporaneous acts.
Riverfest has come up with a schedule that includes jamming bluegrass, classic country and modern rock. Here are the top acts:
Del McCoury Band
This Grammy Award-winning act is without a doubt one of the best bluegrass bands in the business, and its appeal stretches to include the younger crowd that attends Bonnaroo and Merlefest.
9 p.m. Friday, Triple-S Alarm Stage
Guitarist and singer Tom Johnston and singer Patrick Simmons, who’ve been with the Doobies since the early days of the band, remain the core of the classic pop/rock California band. We’ve seen them twice outdoors in the past couple of years in the region, and they still put on a great show. Can anyone really tire of hearing “Listen to the Music” and “China Grove”?
8:15 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage (NLR)
The consummate Bakersfield-style country crooner/guitarist, when he’s not acting before the cameras.
9:30 p.m. Saturday, Acxiom/Miller Lite Amphitheatre
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
A collection of some of the best funk/jazz/rockers from New Orleans, a group that Rolling Stone magazine called a must-see act this summer.
6 p.m. Saturday, Triple-S Alarm Stage
Kool and the Gang
Celebrating the good times since the 1970s with its energetic and brassy brand of R&B.
9:30 p.m. Friday, Acxiom/Miller Lite Amphitheatre
After seeing the stunning show put on by Robert Randolph and the Family Band last year, Riverfest officials went looking for a similar act and found it in Georgia’s Lee Boys. They blend soul, funk and gospel into a rocking good stage show. And yes, like Robert Randolph, they have a pedal steel guitar front and center. Situated between two funky Neville acts, they’ll keep the pace up.
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Triple S Alarm Stage
This pop/rock trio from Seattle is led by singer/songwriter Jason Wade. The band has been compared to Live, another Riverfest act, and is best known for the song “Hanging by a Moment,” the most played radio track of 2001. The band’s third album, featuring the song “Blind,” was released in 2005, and the group now boasts ex-AM Radio bassist/vocalist Bryce Soderbert.
8:15 p.m. Sunday, Acxiom/Miller Lite Amphitheatre
At one time this band was considered a huge alternative act, but what once was alternative is now mainstream. El Kowalczyk’s singing and a band that’s been making music together for years should make for a good show.
9:30 p.m. Saturday, Budweiser Stage (NLR)
Morris Day and The Time
If you can’t have Prince, you won’t do too badly getting his buddies Morris, Jerome and the Time band, who put on a memorable, shake-your-booty show a few years ago in a drizzle in an open parking lot now occupied by Acxiom.
5 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage (NLR)
From their smooth and soulful “Tell It Like It Is” to some of the funky stuff they’re back to doing now, the Nevilles have still got it going. Aaron Neville has one of the most recognizable voices in music.
9:15 p.m. Saturday, Triple-S Alarm Stage
In Texas, they turn out as much as 50,000 strong to see Pat Green and his band kick it up; here he’s built a following that has seen him move from Juanita’s to bigger venues. At Riverfest’s price and on an outdoor stage, Green easily could fill the west end at festival closing time.
8 p.m. Sunday, Triple-S Alarm Stage
Don’t let the Christian rock label fool you; these guys from San Diego can rock hard. “New Way to Be Human” was the 1999 Dove Award winner for Song of the Year. Singer/guitarist Jonathan Foreman fronts the band, whose 2003 album “The Beautiful Letdown” brought it more into the modern rock mainstream.
6 p.m. Saturday, Budweiser Stage (NLR)
Starting with “Meet Virginia” in 1999 and continuing with “Drops of Jupiter,” this popular Grammy Award-winning Bay Area band led by frontman Pat Monahan can be counted on to put on a terrific rock show. Leading critics have called the group’s latest CD, “For Me,” the group’s richest work. Train is bringing along three other acts currently on tour with the group, and will take up all the music slots on the Bud stage on Friday.
9:30 p.m. Friday, Budweiser Stage (NLR)