Riverfest Rolls On

With the summer concert season just around the corner, the Riverfest Amphitheatre in North Little Rock, Ark., has an extensive lineup for a three-day Memorial Day weekend festival, and nothing else. But special events coordinator Mabyn Patten isn’t overly concerned.

The city-owned shed is just part of the River Market Event Pavilion, a 10- to 15-acre shopping and entertainment complex, and hosts about 100 events per year – concerts or no concerts.

This is the first year in a decade that the Riverfest Amphitheatre chose not to exclusively book through local promoter Butch Stone. The 10,000-capacity shed is now open to any promoter for a $5,000 rental fee.

In past years, Stone rented the venue for $50,000 a year and gave the city 10 percent of concessions and $1 per ticket sold, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

“For 10 years, we had an exclusive promoter and now we’ve opened it up, so it’s going to take a while for the word to get out that we are an open venue,” Patten told Pollstar. “I’ve got two or three different promoters holding dates,” which could mean up to 15 shows just waiting for formal announcements.

“It’s part of an entire district,” he added. “Between the amphitheatre and the pavilions, I have over 100 events per year. We’d love to have concerts but there’s no lack of events – about seven or eight a week – during the summer.”

In the meantime, Pace Concerts office in Birmingham, Ala., has jumped on board to book and promote the May 27-29 Riverfest at the venue, featuring B.B. King, The Black Crowes, The Wallflowers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Richard Thompson, REO Speedwagon, and Joe Nichols.

— Deborah Speer