Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived
This year's headliners:
Keith Anderson — Riverfest has always managed to have a rising star in country music, and this Miami, Okla., native continues the trend. He gave up a physical therapy career to move to Nashville in the late 1990s, started playing in the city’s best-known clubs, and in 2002 won the Jim Beam Country Band Search while having “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?),” which he co-wrote, recorded by Garth Brooks and George Jones. He released his debut album, “Three Chord Country and American Rock & Roll,” in 2005, featuring the gold-record hit “Pickin’ Wildflowers.” 7:45 p.m. Saturday, Amphitheatre Stage.
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo — This wife-and-husband duo — Pat singing, Neil on guitar — accounted for some of the biggest hits of the early 1980s, including “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Heartbreaker,” “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Shadows of the Night.” Benatar released “Greatest Hits” in 2005 and she’ll sing ’em at Riverfest. She can still wail. 9:15 p.m. Friday, Triple-S Alarm Stage.
George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars — Clinton and his gang provided the “Flash Light” for the mainstream to find its way to funk, and the master is still doing it right, in full regalia, of course. It’s a performance not to be missed if you want to get “funked up” by a great innovator of urban-based soul. His Allstars include the great keyboardist Bernie Worrell, Blackbyrd McKnight on lead guitar, and great horns led by trumpeter Benny Cowan. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
Georgia Satellites — Part of a classic Southern rock twin bill with Marshall Tucker, the Satellites are best known for their megahit “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” Original members Rick Price and Rick Richards remain with the quartet. 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Triple-S Alarm Stage.
Gym Class Heroes — Thanks to the support from Fall Out Boy, the New York-based Heroes have soared with their brand of hip-hop dance music, hitting the charts with the Top Five single “Cupid’s Chokehold” and their debut album, “As Cruel as School Children.” The kids will love ’em. 4 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
Keb’ Mo’ — It’s almost too good to be true, but Little Rock is getting a taste of Kevin Moore twice in less than a year; he performed with Bonnie Raitt a few months back at Robinson Center. The South Central L.A. product understands Delta roots blues as well as anyone, and is a marvelous musician not to be missed. 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Triple-S Alarm Stage.
LL Cool J — A first-generation hip-hop survivor, the Grammy Award-winning rapper from Queens, N.Y., is still cool with 10 albums over nearly two decades of performing, and he’s managed to do a bit of acting and push a workout regimen. 9:45 p.m. Saturday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
Marshall Tucker Band — The familiar voice of Doug Gray is about the only thing that’s stayed the same with the MTB since the 1970s, and the rest of the lineup is completely reworked (founders Tommy and Toy Caldwell have gone on to that bigger stage in the sky). Gray, who took over frontman duties from Tommy Caldwell in 1980, probably doesn’t need a teleprompter to sing “Can’t You See,” though Toy Caldwell sang it originally, and “Fire on the Mountain.” More classic rock for the graying set. 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Triple-S Alarm Stage.
Montgomery Gentry — Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have long been Riverfest favorites, and the Kentucky duo has passed through Central Arkansas numerous times for shows. Their latest album is “Some People Change,” released last year. Their hits include “She Couldn’t Change Me,” “If You Ever Stop Loving Me,” “Gone,” “My Town” and “Hell Yeah.” 9:30 p.m. Friday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band — One of the biggest shows in Riverfest’s north-of-the-river history came two years ago, and Randolph and his band are back to perhaps duplicate it with their soul- and gospel-influenced jam, highlighted by Randolph’s wizardry on the pedal steel guitar. 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus — One of the festival’s strengths has been catching a young group just before it explodes big-time, and this Florida pop punk/post-hardcore quintet may just be it for this year. Their album “Don’t You Fake It” has been a big seller, spawning the hits “Face Down” and “False Pretense,” which they performed last month on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” You can say you saw them at Riverfest. 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
Blake Shelton — The Ada, Okla., native with the honky-tonk style completes a big country doubleheader show with Keith Anderson, and is sure to sing his huge hits “Austin” and “The Baby.” 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Amphitheatre Stage.
Ruben Studdard — The big man from Alabama who defeated Clay Aiken in the second season of “American Idol” has proven to be versatile in R&B as well as gospel, but his latest work, “The Return,” is strictly smooth soul that shows off the dynamic range that wowed the nation on “Idol.” 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Amphitheatre Stage.
Smash Mouth — Hey now, you’re all rock stars when these San Jose, Calif., guys are on stage. Their music has included covering classic rock, but everybody knows “Allstar” and “Walkin’ on the Sun.” 9:30 p.m. Friday, Amphitheatre Stage.
Soul Asylum — Has it really been 14 years since Soul Asylum was part of a huge amphitheater show and Winona Ryder was on the side of the stage watching then-boyfriend Dave Pirner rock? The Minneapolis alternative rock band is back with new work from Pirner and Dan Murphy, a 2006 album titled “The Silver Lining” that features the anthem “Stand Up and Be Strong.” Alas, Winona won’t be at this show, but the boys can still evoke nostalgia with an encore of “Somebody to Shove,” “Runaway Train” or “Black Gold.” 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Budweiser Stage, NLR.
Trout Fishing in America — This three-time Grammy-nominated duo of Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet, an Arkansas musical treasure, missed Riverfest last year due to a scheduling problem, their first absence in years. Don’t sweat it — they’re back for THREE shows for kids and adults, both sure to love their poppy tunes and often hilarious lyrics. 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 2:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Kidzone Stage.