is a celebration of visual and performing arts that is held annually over Memorial Day weekend on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock and North Little Rock. Riverfest is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas
with a rich 34-year tradition. Approximately 250,000 festival-goers attended the 2011 event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million on the community.Riverfest
, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has enjoyed tremendous success for the last 33 consecutive years and has been a leader in the redevelopment of downtown Little Rock. Riverfest has donated over $1,000,000 to various projects in the riverfront and downtown areas, including our latest contribution of $100,000 to the La Petite Roche Plaza. Riverfest is an incredible, family-affordable entertainment value that delivers impact to its sponsors and festival-goers.Riverfest
began in August 1978 when the Junior League of Little Rock had the opportunity to bring the American Wind Symphony to Little Rock. The event was called The Summer Arts Festival and was held in Murray Park, with various activities built around the Wind Symphony’s performance.
The Summer Arts Festival was such a success that it was decided to have a similar event the next year. The date was changed to Memorial Day Weekend, the name was changed to Riverfest
, and the current logo was adopted. It was also at this point that Riverfest, Inc., a non-profit organization with a Board of Directors, was formed to operate the festival, with the Junior League of Little Rock committing to provide primary volunteer support.
In 1982 after outgrowing Murray Park, Riverfest
moved downtown and the festival was held on the Convention Center Plaza along Markham Street. The following year, in 1983, Riverfest moved to its permanent home in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park and over 100,000 people attended the festival that year. As Riverfest grew and developed, a need for permanent staff arose and in 1987, a full-time Executive Director was hired.Riverfest
has continued to grow and expand along the banks of the Arkansas River in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park and an expansion to the North Shore Riverwalk in 2002. The festival continues to offer new and unique opportunities for festival-goers while playing a vital role as an organization helping the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock work together to make Arkansas a better place to live and work.
Today, Riverfest’s Board of Directors has standing positions from the Junior League of Little Rock, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Little Rock Department of Parks and Recreation, the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Partnership, the North Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission, and the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce. There is also an Executive Committee, fifteen at-large positions, and four ex-officio positions. In addition to the Executive Director, Riverfest has four other full and part-time staff members working year-round to effectively plan and produce the festival and an outstanding volunteer festival committee of 170.Riverfest
is unmatched in entertainment. A wide variety of entertainment has always been presented. From the Arkansas Arts Center’s Tell-a-Tale Troupe to the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, festival-goers have been treated to some of the best-known names in music: Al Green, ZZ Top, B.B. King, Blues Traveler, Brad Paisley, , Jason Aldean, Heart, Hinder, Cheap Trick, Collective Soul, Diamond Rio, Don McLean, Everclear, Hank Williams, Jr., Hootie & the Blowfish, James Brown, Joe Nichols, Lifehouse, Live, Los Lobos, Loverboy, Mark Wills, Arrested Development, Morris Day and the Time, Nappy Roots, Better Than Ezra, Blake Shelton, Chaka Khan, Huey Lewis & the News, Nickel Creek, Pat Green, REO Speedwagon, George Clinton & The P-Funk Allstars, Rick James, Run DMC, Gym Class Heroes, Dwight Yoakam, Keb Mo, Styx, Switchfoot, The Black Crowes, LL Cool J, Pat Benatar, Pat Green, The Doobie Brothers, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The Gap Band, Robert Earl Keen, The Neville Brothers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Ruben Studdard, The Wallflowers, Carrie Underwood, Train, Trapt, Miranda Lambert, Trick Pony, & Uncle Kracker
How to get there Driving directions to Little Rock Julius Breckling Riverfront Park:
From I-40, take I-30 South. As you cross the Arkansas River you will see the festival to the west in Julius Breckling Riverfront Park. Take the Cantrell Rd./Markham St. exit (#141A) and follow the signs for 2nd and Ferry. If you are traveling in on I-30 from the South, follow the same directions beginning with the 141A exit. Parking is available for a fee in the River Market Parking Garage or the parking garage at 2nd and Main. There are other paid lots in the vicinity. For MapQuest or other internet map service directions use 400 President Clinton Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72201 as your destination.Driving directions to the North Shore Riverwalk, North Little Rock, AR:
From 1-40, take I-30 South. Before you reach the Arkansas River you will take the Broadway St. Exit (#141B). If you are traveling in on I-30 from the South you will cross the Arkansas River and take the Broadway St. Exit (#141B). Travel west on Broadway to Willow St. Turn south on Willow. Parking is available for a fee in the vicinity. For MapQuest or other internet map service directions use 100 Main Street, NLR, AR 72114 as your destination.PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
- Round Trip Fare $2.00Little Rock:
The Little Rock shuttle will depart from the east side of War Memorial Stadium at Markham and Van Buren Streets in Little Rock and will drop off on La Harpe Avenue behind the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce Building. Return shuttles to will pick up in Little Rock where they dropped off.North Little Rock:
The North Little Rock shuttle will pick up at the North Little Rock High School north parking lot in North Little Rock. From the north, you can enter the parking lot at Pershing and Orange. If entering from the south, turn left on 22nd street and then right on Victory Lane. Riders will be dropped off at 2nd and Cumberland Street in Little Rock. Return shuttles to North Little Rock will pick up in Little Rock where they dropped off.Shuttle hours: - Some shuttle vehicles are wheelchair accessible.
Friday, May 27. 5:30 p.m. through close of last event
Saturday, May 28. 10:30 a.m. through close of last event
Sunday, May 29 12:30 p.m. through close of last event
Shuttles will operate for 30 to 45 minutes following the close of the last event, allowing time for riders to return to the pick-up points. Passengers will board the bus for their return trip at the same location they got off the bus.
Shuttle fare: Round trip shuttle $2.00
To travel between Little Rock and North Little Rock while visiting the festival you may take the CATA Trolley across the Main Street Bridge or walk across the Junction Bridge. The CATA River Rail Trolley will be transporting festival-goers across the bridge at no charge. The Main Street Bridge will close to all traffic at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Junction Bridge will close to all traffic at 8:00 p.m. Sunday evening for the fireworks display. The Main Street Bridge will remain closed after the fireworks display. The Junction Bridge will re-open shortly after the show to allow foot traffic between the two cities.