May 19, 2017
This week’s guest is DeAnna Korte, Executive Director of Riverfest, Inc. from 2004 to present. Riverfest has become the largest festival in Arkansas. DeAnna leads all aspects of Riverfest operations, manages a $2.8 million budget and leads a team of 250 volunteers. Amazingly she accomplishes this with only one full-time and two part-time employees assisting her.
Each year, DeAnna raises more than $650,000 in cash sponsorships and $700,000 in in-kind sponsorships that provide much of the capital necessary to continue presenting the festival. This year Riverfest celebrates its 40th consecutive year.
After 12 years as a stay-at-home mom, in 1997 DeAnna rejoined the workforce accepting a job as a part-time administrative assistant at Riverfest. She served the festival as director of operations and volunteer coordinator from 2001 until she was promoted to executive director in 2004.
DeAnna was raised in Oklahoma City, attended Abilene Christian University in Abilene, TX, and moved to Little Rock in 1993. Before she joined Riverfest, DeAnna served on many committees at Holy Souls School, including taking on the role of president of the Parent Teacher Organization and chairman of the Dollar-A-Day Campaign for the Monsignor Allen Trust Fund, which raised more than $1 million.
In addition to her managing role at Riverfest, DeAnna is also active in several community organizations. She currently serves on the board of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. She holds the title of past treasurer of the board of the River Market Neighborhood Association and past president of the booster club for Catholic High School for Boys (serving as the first female president). She is a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock Class XXII.
DeAnna is married to Joey Korte and has two sons – Ryan 31 and Kyle 26, and is a proud grandmother of 20-month-old Vivian.
Kerry’s other guest on this week’s show is Stephen Bentley, branch manager at Acosta Sales & Marketing and Riverfest Chairman of the Board from 2015-2016. Bentley has a long history of volunteerism. Since 1988 he has been a board member for the American Red Cross. In 2002 he joined the CARTI Foundation Board and in 2008 became a Riverfest Board member. Bentley is also founder of the CARTI Tour De Rock Fundraiser.
Bentley is a North Little Rock Northeast High School graduate and holds a Bachelor degree in business and social science.
The mission of Riverfest is to produce a quality, recreational, cultural, educational, family-oriented festival for the benefit of and in partnership with the community.
Riverfest, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, has enjoyed tremendous success for the last 39 consecutive years and has been a leader in the redevelopment of downtown Little Rock.
WIZ KHALIFA // JUSTIN MOORE // CAGE THE ELEPHANT // BILLY CURRINGTON // GROUPLOVE // COLD WAR KIDS // MOON TAXI // MORRIS DAY & THE TIME // CODY JINKS // JON BELLION // CRAIG CAMPBELL // THE JOY FORMIDABLE // COLT FORD // DYLAN SCOTT // CODY CANADA & THE DEPARTED
AMASA HINES // ANDY FRASCO & THE U.N. // SERATONES // HERE COME THE MUMMIES // SPLIT LIP RAYFIELD // TANK & THE BANGAS // WILDFLOWER REVUE // BIG PIPH & TOMORROW MAYBE // THE HIP ABDUCTION // BROTHER MOSES // DEFRANCE // JOAN // RUNAWAY PLANET // VINTAGE PISTOL // DAZZ & BRIE // JACK FERRARA
6TH ANNUAL FLOWING ON THE RIVER - JUNE 1ST
THE RIVERFEST 2-DAY MUSIC FESTIVAL - JUNE 2ND & 3RD
A SPECIAL 40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION - JUNE 4TH
Riverfest is a celebration of visual and performing arts that is held annually on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Riverfest is the largest single event in the state of Arkansas with a rich tradition. Each year, close to 200,000 festival-goers attended the event, with an estimated economic impact of $33 million in the community. In 2016, Riverfest celebrated its 39th anniversary and for the first time was held in June, moving off the traditional Memorial Day weekend. Riverfest, Inc. also introduce a new event called “Springfest”, which was held on April 2, 2016. Springfest is a one-day, free event for children & families.
Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com
[0:00:09.1] TB: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Be sure to stay tuned till the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.
Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.
[0:00:23.7] KM: Thank you. I’m Kerry McCoy. Like Tim said, it’s time for me to get up in your business. For the next hour, my guest; DeAnna Korte and Steve Bentley, organizers and Riverfest in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, and I, will be getting up in the business of organizational skills volunteerism and leadership attributes. We’ll be telling the Riverfest stories, answering questions giving advice to want to be performers, volunteers, sponsors and attendees via phone and email.
Though I am not a super volunteer like my guest I confess, I am a self-taught in leadership knowledge. I started my company; Arkansas Flag & Banner over 40 years ago. During the last four decades, Arkansas Flag & Banner has grown and morphed from door-to-door sales to telemarketing, to mail-order and catalog sales and now relies heavily on the internet. Each change in sell strategy required a change in the company thinking and procedures. My confidence, leadership knowledge, and my company grew. My initial $400 investment now produces nearly 4 million in annual sales.
Each week on the show you'll hear candid conversations between me and my guest about real world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that I hope you’ll find interesting. Running a business or organization is like so many things, it takes persistence, perseverance, and patience. I worked part-time jobs for nine years before Arkansas Flag & Banner grew enough to support just me. One of those jobs was with you, Steve Bentley.
[0:02:02.9] SB: Yes, it was.
[0:02:03.8] KM: It's now grown and expanded so much that to operate efficiently we require — Are you ready? A purchasing, manufacturing, graphic, shipping, technology, accounting, marketing, sales, and customer service department, plus a retail store. 25 people or more make their living from working at Arkansas Flag & Banner. I hope you'll take advantage of this unique opportunity today to ask questions or share your experience by calling or emailing me and my guest on today's show.
Before we start, I want to introduced the people at the table. We have Tim Bowen, our technician, who’ll be taking your calls and pushing the buttons. Say hello, Tim.
[0:02:44.5] TB: Hello, Tim.
[0:02:47.2] KM: My guest today are Riverfest Executive Director; DeAnna Korten.
[0:02:52.3] DK: You said it right the first time.
[0:02:53.3] KM: Korte?
[0:02:53.7] DK: Yes.
[0:02:54.5] KM: Okay. It could be Korte.
[0:02:55.5] DK: Yes.
[0:02:56.4] KM: I grew up with Beth Corti.
[0:02:58.3] DK: Did you?
[0:02:58.9] KM: Mm-hmm. No relation though.
[0:03:00.8] DK: No. I believe so.
[0:03:02.1] KM: And with the Riverfest past Chairman for the past two years; Steve Bentley, who I worked one of my part-time jobs with at Sir Loin’s Inn. Both lifelong volunteers in our community. Steve not only volunteers for Riverfest but has been on the CARTI Foundation board since 2002 and the Red Cross board since 1988. His real job as a manager for Acosta Sales in North Little Rock?
[0:03:28.4] SB: Yes, but don’t tell anybody.
[0:03:31.6] KM: He’s been there since 1980. Now, DeAnna Korte has been the executive director for Riverfest since 2004. There she manages at $2.8 million budget and leads a team of 250 volunteers. It sounds like a nightmare with only one full-time and two part-time employees assisting her.
[0:03:55.9] DK: It’s crazy, isn’t it?
[0:03:56.8] KM: She is past president and the first female president of the Booster Club for Catholic Hospital for Boys. She is a graduate of leadership Greater Little Rock class of 22, and I think you're currently on the Downtown Little Rock Partnership.
[0:04:09.9] DK: I am.
[0:04:12.0] KM: Okay. Welcome to the table super volunteers and community leaders; Steve Bentley and DeAnna Korte.
[0:04:19.5] DK: Thank you. We’ll thrilled to be here.
[0:04:19.9] SB: Yes. Absolutely. Thank you.
[0:04:21.6] KM: Steve, after reading your bio and seeing the longevity of your job and community commitments, it lends me to think you're an incredibly loyal person. I bet you’ve been married 40 years or something.
[0:04:31.8] SB: I’ve been married 30 years.
[0:04:36.1] KM: Deana —
[0:04:36.8] DK: He’s a very loyal person.
[0:04:37.9] KM: You’re a successfully married woman too with children, but y'all are not married each other.
[0:04:42.5] DK: We are not.
[0:04:43.2] KM: How did y’all first two meet?
[0:04:45.0] SB: I was asked to be on the board 9 years ago. I came to my first board meeting, I didn’t know anybody, but it takes about a year or two and then I fell in love with Riverfest. Then DeAnna and I become very close friends and trusted friends. I’m just amazed at what she can do by herself. I will get in that a bit more. Yeah, very good friends.
[0:05:05.4] KM: How did you know to ask him to come to Riverfest, or did he just show up at your door one day?
[0:05:08.6] DK: Obviously, we have a nominating committee that suggests people from the community that they feel would bring strengths to our Board of Directors, and obviously, Steve, being a long-term community volunteer, was a perfect candidate. Then not knowing him but knowing him now, we have been so fortunate to have him because he’s so passionate. When he gets involved with something he jumps in feet first and his passion just shines through. I feel very lucky to call him a friend, but I've been very lucky to have him as a coworker. On the board, he's just been a great support.
[0:05:44.4] KM: What is the passion about Riverfest? Is it a passion for music? Passion for community? Passion for bringing people to Little Rock? What's the passion that drives Riverfest.
[0:05:52.3] SB: I’ll answer the first part of it. My love is music. That’s what kind of got me interested in it. Once you get involved with Riverfest, you realize that it’s this committee of 250 people that have been doing this, some of them for 40 years. They take their vacation time off. They’re just so dedicated. No matter what part of Riverfest they’re in, they think it’s the most important part. You don’t get in their business either because they take ownership.
[0:06:18.0] DK: It really is. That’s what’s kept me motivated. This will be my 20th year working with the organization. I was a volunteer the year prior to that. Even now, we work such long hours. I’m exhausted, but the committee, the volunteer planning committee really truly is what keeps me motivated because I see the love and the passion and the hard work they put into it and it makes me want to work harder for them, because having a small staff, this is not about me.
This is about that committee and then the community volunteers that come together that we can to make this thing successful every year. That’s what keeps me coming back and makes my passion for it so strong is just to see the hard work, because it’s not like something. Everything that we volunteer for is important, but I think people don't realize the behind-the-scenes at an event the size of ours, what goes on. It's not a two-hour dinner somewhere. It is a 10 days of set up in a year’s — Just like anything, a year planning, but that 10 days is a hard push.
As we've grown, it's become work. So you know that they're giving up a lot of their personal time to do this and it's a labor of love for them. Again, that makes me feel very fortunate and proud of have held the job of God.
[0:07:35.1] KM: You have volunteers that have been there 40 years.
[0:07:37.8] DK: Yeah.
[0:07:38.3] KM: Steve, when you started, did you think you were like, “Oh!” Because you’re in sales and you’re in marketing. Did you think, “Oh! I’m going to go down there and start networking and find opportunities,” or did you think, “This is going to be good for my self-esteem,” or did you think, “This is going to be educational for me to learn something?”
[0:07:52.5] SB: I was a little naïve. I thought, “Hey, maybe we can pull Paul MacCartney in here or something,” but I didn’t realize how expensive all that stuff was. I learned about the expense of putting on the event. Of course, I met a lot of people I didn’t know, and there’s people all over. There’s Bryan Conway, North Little Rock. It’s a community effort.
One thing we didn’t mention too is that the help we get from the CBC and from the Little Rock Police Department and from Parks and Rec.
[0:08:19.7] KM: They have volunteers that come?
[0:08:21.6] DK: Believe it or not, some of Parks and Recreation do volunteer through the weekend. Just like Steve said, the Convention of Business Bureau obviously were a big tourism draw. Their support, we couldn’t do it without them. City or Little Rock. There are just so many partners, the sponsors. Being a nonprofit, everyone has to come together to make this thing work. Yeah, it’s quite an undertaking.
[0:08:45.9] KM: When did Riverfest start and what was its original idea behind it? Wasn’t it the Junior League or something?
[0:08:50.2] DK: It was. It started in — The first, it was called Summer Arts Festival and it took place in September or 1977. The Junior League, the Philadelphia Wind Symphony was coming down a barge down the Arkansas River and the Junior League thought, “You know what? Let’s put a little festival around this and make an event out of it.” And so they did and it was hugely successful. They said, “Let's keep this going.”
The next year they changed the date to Memorial Day weekend. Change the name to Riverfest and here we are 40 years later.
[0:09:20.0] KM: When did they give it over?
[0:09:20.6] DK: Really, about two years later we became our own 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but they maintained the primary volunteer support until 1996. It was there last full year of it being volunteer driven by the league.
Then in 1997, they hired a new Executive Director; Van Tilbury. They kind of stepped out to start creating other projects because that's what they do, but they still have a seat on our board. We still have two positions on our planning committee. They’re appointed through the Junior League and still have many volunteers that come through it.
[0:09:53.0] KM: Did you come from the Junior League?
[0:09:54.3] DK: I did not. It’s kind of crazy. I didn’t grow up here. I came here about 23 years ago from Oklahoma City and was just a mom. It was a stay-at-home mom with my kids, and when my youngest got into kindergarten, someone on the planning committee said, “There's a part-time job answering phones 9-2. Would you like to do it three days a week?” I was like, “Sure. I’ll get out and do this.”
Literally, that was 20 years ago and I am still there, hard to believe, but it just does. It gets in your blood. Like I said, the passion of watching those people. For a year, that first year, I sat in our operations center at the old Excelsior watching these committee members come in just sweaty and dirty and hot but smiles on their faces, blisters on their feet. You could just see they loved what they were doing. They loved giving back and it just got in me that it’s like, “If I’m getting paid to be here, they're doing here out of the goodness of their heart,” and it just gets in your system.
[0:10:53.6] KM: What, Steve?
[0:10:54.4] SB: I went to the first Riverfest in 1977.
[0:10:58.4] KM: You did?
[0:10:58.9] SB: Yes, I did. It was at Murray Park and it was nothing like it is today. For a trivia question, who was our first, our major attraction band for that —
[0:11:07.8] KM: Black Oak, Arkansas.
[0:11:08.6] SB: No. Greasy Greens.
[0:11:11.2] KM: Oh, sure! I love them. All right. This is a great place to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to talk with DeAnna and Steve about the Riverfest entertainment lineup. About how you can get tickets, be a sponsor, be a vendor, volunteer, or perform at next year’s show. And the economic impact of Riverfest on Little Rock and our state.
Let’s talk about the entertainment this year. Who was that we just heard? And they’re coming.
[0:13:07.0] DK: That’s our headliner, Friday night; Cage the Elephant on the Arkansas Federal Credit Union SweetWater Stage, and over on the Frio Light stage we’re going to have country artist; Billy Currington. We’ll be headlining over there. Opening Friday night before Cage is we've got John Bellion and we’ve got Group Love. Before Billy Currington, we’ve got Dylan Scott, we’ve got Colt Ford, and that’s Friday nights. Then we get into Saturday, in our headliner acts we’ve got — On the Amphitheater Stage we’re going to have the Joy Formidable, Moon Taxi, Cold War Kids, and of course, Wiz Khalifa. Then over on the Frio Light Stage at the Clinton Library, we start out Cody Canada & The Departed, which if you’re a cross-Canadaian ragweed fan, that’s Cody Canada. Then we’ve got Craig Campbell, we’ve got Cody Jinks, who if you are a Chris Stapleton fan who we had last year, a lot of people like that type of — I don't know if it's quite country music, but Cody Jinks will be opening for headliner; and Arkansas native; Justin Moore.
Then over on Saturday, which is are throwback bay, our 40th anniversary day, we’ve got lots of great local acts, and then we have a Martha Hines headlining on the Amphitheatre Stage on Sunday, our 40th anniversary, and then on the Frio Light Stage we’ve got, of course, Morris Day & the Time, which is a huge fan favorite. We’ll close out Sunday with the first security fireworks, but we’ll talk a little bit about Sunday's activities because that day is free if you have a Riverfest ticket. If not, it's only $5. We’re throwing it back. For those people that, “Oh! The tickets prices have gotten too high.” Well, we’re talking it back to how Riverfest used to be; $5 to come in.
[0:14:48.4] KM: Is that the day Morris Time is there?
[0:14:49.7] DK: That’s the day Morris Day & the Time is there.
[0:14:51.1] KM: That’s the only one I knew.
[0:14:54.0] SB: You know the day that the local acts are playing, and act that played at Dreamland is going to be playing.
[0:14:59.1] KM: Oh, yes.
[0:15:00.3] SB: The Wildflower Review.
[0:15:01.9] DK: Yes.
[0:15:02.4] KM: Yeah, the Wildflower Review. Another one, the one I sent you that I said —
[0:15:05.6] SB: Oh, the Bluegrass Band.
[0:15:07.1] DK: Oh, Runaway Planet.
[0:15:08.7] KM: Runaway Planet. They also played at Dreamland.
[0:15:11.0] DK: Yes. We’ve got — I’m trying to think who else. Here Come The Mummies.
[0:15:12.7] SB: I’ll tell you — I saw them about a year ago. They are fantastic. They come up all dressed up like Mummies and they’ve got a horn section that’s just fantastic.
[0:15:22.7] KM: Are you talking about Runaway Planet?
[0:15:23.4] DK: No. These are called —
[0:15:25.2] SB: Here Come The Mummies.
[0:15:26.6] KM: Oh! Here Come The Mummies. They’ve got a theater show act. They come in costumes.
[0:15:31.2] DK: Yes.
[0:15:30.2] SB: Oh, fantastic.
[0:15:32.1] DK: In the June heat? Oh that will be interesting.
[0:15:33.4] KM: When is the Mummies playing?
[0:15:34.6] DK: They are playing before Amasa Hines on the Amphitheatre Stage Sunday night. Sunday night.
[0:15:41.1] KM: Sunday night is the best night to come it sounds like.
[0:15:42.7] DK: Listen, it’s going to be great. We’ve got — Barry Thomas is our festival artist this year. He’ll be painting live to auction off a print. If you know Barry Thomas, he’s a local artist. Phenomenal artist and he’ll be painting live on Sunday in honor of our 40th Anniversary.
[0:15:57.3] KM: He did the painting for your poster that you gave me when you got here. I want listeners to know. They came bearing gifts. Nobody ever does that to me. Thank you all very much. The poster is fabulous that he painted.
[0:16:09.6] DK: He did a beautiful job, so you’ll get to come on Sunday. Again, $5 folks, and watch him paint for free. We are going to try to break the Guinness Book World Record on Sunday for the most sparklers lit at one time.
[0:16:22.7] KM: Are you going to have those big sparklers?
[0:16:23.3] DK: Aha! Prior to the fireworks. The Rutledge family will light the last sparkler to shoot off the fireworks as we head into number 41 next year.
[0:16:33.2] KM: You know which sparklers I’m talking about. Those ones that you have at weddings that are huge.
[0:16:36.4] DK: Yeah, these are about 38 inches in length.
[0:16:38.6] KM: Oh my gosh! You’re going to have some hair on fire on there.
[0:16:41.8] SB: One thing about our fireworks. I think every year it’s the best firework display in the State of Arkansas.
[0:16:47.4] KM: It’s the biggest festival in the State of Arkansas.
[0:16:49.0] DK: It is. It’s amazing. 40 years is a long time to sustain.
[0:16:53.5] KM: I’m so proud. How do you go about booking acts? Do you have a theme when you start off? Do you have a budget? How early do you start?
[0:17:01.1] SB: It’s how much money we have booking agent out of Birmingham, Alabama. Then for local regional acts, we actually use Chris King that own Stickyz and Rev Room here in Little Rock. We just kind of start with a wish list, and then like Stave said, where money is concerned, we get knocked down pretty quickly when we start finding out the cost.
We try to be as eclectic as we can. The booking side of things this is interesting and I don't think it's what people think. It's not about, “Oh, I want this act so I can get this act.” It has to do with routing, who’s out on the road, and being a set weekend and needing someone on specific day makes that challenge even harder. Yeah, we just start with the budget and we start working our way down. Yeah, it’s quite the undertaking.
[0:17:49.3] KM: Little Rock is pretty centrally located for acts or for entertainers to be coming through, like from Dallas to Memphis, or Dallas to St. Louis.
[0:17:57.3] DK: Definitely when they're traveling on the road, we catch a lot of those. It's difficult for fly dates just because flying into —
[0:18:02.8] KM: Because you can’t fly in here.
[0:18:03.8] DK: Yeah, flying into Little Rock Regional, it's tough sometimes. That can plan to it as well depending on where they are. Yeah, we’re really excited about our lineup this year.
[0:18:14.0] KM: How many do you have? It sounded like you counted 25.
[0:18:16.6] DK: Number-wise, maybe when you add in the local regional in there, headliners are about 14 that we could consider headliners. If you look, we made the change last year and split into two events. We have Spring Fest now, that’s the first weekend in April, and that’s more a family-orient free event. Then changing Riverfest into more about the music and a music festival.
Doing that, the idea is to try and get more current acts, and we’re really excited. Some of our headline acts playing at Bonnaroo. They’ve just played at Memphis in May, Governors Ball, which is a huge music festival in New York City. They're playing there the same weekend. If you look at their ticket prices, they’ve $500, thousand dollars, for some of these depending on what level you buy. You can come to Riverfest and see all these acts for $40 right now. It's a great bargain, and people ask all the time, they’re like, “Is that $40 to get in the gate and then do I pay another price to actually see the concerts?” It’s like, “That’s everything. That’s all three days.”
[0:19:14.4] SB: One point I’d like to make as well is DeAnna has great job of getting some of these artists right before they hit it big. Miranda Lambert and — Oh, last year, Chris Stapleton.
[0:19:25.5] DK: X Ambassadors. We’ve been fortunate. I don’t know that it’s sure not me. It’s just we’ve got a booking agent that makes some good suggestions. Yeah, and I’ve got a little bit of a feel from the country music side of things. Michael Marion teases me, from Verizon Arena. He’ll call and say, “What do you think about this one?”
We’ve been lucky. Florida Georgia Line was probably the biggest one that we've hit the nail, and Chris Stapleton last year was not a bad pick. We were looking at him. It took us a little while to get him confirmed, but that’s probably one of the biggest acts that we’ve had as far as current.
[0:19:58.2] DK: Another thing that happens too is we’ll have people signed up and they’ll have to dropout because they join a tour, and that’s happened to us here the last couple of years.
[0:20:06.2] DK: Yes.
[0:20:06.8] KM: Yeah, I bet. You decided to split your Riverfest into two festivals. I did hear. Was this your first year to do that?
[0:20:12.9] DK: Last year. It was 2016.
[0:20:14.6] KM: Are you just a glutton for punishment?
[0:20:15.9] DK: Everyone ask; is it harder to have two? I don't know that it's harder. It's a little bit more time consuming for just some of the detail things, but really I don't think it's any harder. To me, it’s adding one day for eight weeks earlier.
[0:20:35.2] KM: You probably are in sales. Don’t you probably go out and find sponsors and a lot of your businesses is selling?
[0:20:40.7] DK: Yes. Yeah, I never thought when I took this job that we’ve gone through a couple of directors and when the last one left in December we didn’t have sponsorship raised and we didn’t have acts booked, and that was really the only two things that I hadn't had my hands on. I went to the board and said, “I don't know that I can do this. I’ve never sold anything in my life, but give me a shot. If you're not happy, I'll go back to doing what I’m doing, because I love the event. Six months, got the money raised, and I guess did okay, and so that was in 2004 and here I am.
Yeah, you’ve got to get out — Because, again, I don't think people understand the financial of being a nonprofit. Really, the only money we have coming in the door prior to the event is the sponsorships that we raised.
[0:21:22.9] KM: You’re rolling the dice.
[0:21:22.7] DK: We’re so fortunate that we have had such a wonderful, wonderful support from all, not just local sponsors, but obviously as we’re becoming more regionally and nationally known, we’re garnering people coming in from out of state and paying sponsorship.
[0:21:37.4] KM: How many people you think come in to the Little Rock downtown area from out of state?
[0:21:40.6] DK: Actually, last year we sold tickets in 35 states. This year, I have not looked at it in about a month, but we were up to 28 states about a month ago that have purchase tickets, people from around the country purchasing tickets to come in.
[0:21:54.5] KM: Do you think it’s your acts, or do you think it's Little Rock, or do you think it’s —
[0:21:57.9] DK: I think, now — I think it's the entertainment. As a matter of fact, we had someone about five years ago, we had Dierks Bentley, was actually out with Miranda Lambert on tour and he was going to be our headliner, and they were in Washington, D.C. finishing their floors at home. They were to be out of town when Miranda and Dierks were in town, so they just got on the web and started Googling where they were going to be, and we popped up. They kind of waited and watched as our lineup developed, and then said, “Well, we’ve never been to Little Rock, Arkansas or that part of the country,” so they bought tickets and flew and. Ironically, I just ran into home and met then. They came to our Thursday wine event and I visited with them all weekend long and then when they got back home, they sent the most lovely email not just about us but about the City of Little Rock and about the police and the volunteers and just how friendly and just that Southern hospitality. I think that gets lost sometimes as well.
[0:22:53.1] KM: Who was it that did this?
[0:22:55.0] DK: It was a couple from Washington, D.C. just following an act that they liked. I do think that the music is what's bringing them in. I think it gets lost on people, not only the we’re a nonprofit but that really our whole mission is to get people into the city and state and create economic impact. That’s really why we do what we do.
[0:23:14.3] KM: That is the goal of the —
[0:23:15.4] DK: Yes.
[0:23:16.9] KM: I don’t think people realize how wonderful Little Rock is till they come here.
[0:23:19.6] DK: I agree.
[0:23:20.3] KM: I wish you would keep that quiet.
[0:23:23.9] SB: We have the River Trail there, the downtown beautiful. The Arkansas River is gorgeous.
[0:23:28.5] KM: Let’s say that I am a band and I want to audition for next year's festival. Do I got what I call the got sticky fingers. Would that come to you?
[0:23:36.9] DK: You can. Normally, on our website, under where the lineup and festival entertainment is. It’s down now, but this summer we’ll put up a link and you can send in a promotional kit. Now, everything is electronic, so most of them we’ll just email them straight to Chris and submit them. Then once we start getting our national puzzle put together, then Chris comes in behind and starts filling them with the local and regional acts.
[0:24:00.7] KM: The Riverfest weekend, what is probably the most challenging thing during the actual three-day event?
[0:24:07.2] SB: I’ll answer that. I think the opening evening, when everybody starts coming in to the gates, it’s been different every year. There’s always one gate that’s messed up. Once we’d get everybody in, it starts rolling. I think the opening is always exciting.
[0:24:20.4] DK: Yeah, especially when it’s a Friday night. Last year we did Saturday, Sunday, so opening was a little bit smoother, but it is, because people get off work and they’re ready to get down there and they’re ready to get inside. It is a little chaotic, but we’d get them in there. It's always things that — I can't even think of anything right off the top of my head that you would think of. It’s always the behind the same things. I proud that as an attendee you probably wouldn't notice any of the things that are driving me crazy.
[0:24:48.4] SB: We have a disaster plan too in play. Everybody is trained. We had weather a couple of years ago and we went into our weather alarm system. It went perfect.
[0:24:57.1] KM: Oh, that’s good to know.
[0:24:57.7] SB: Yeah, it’s great. They shut the place down. We tried to — 10 minutes before the storm hit.
[0:25:04.9] KM: The stages are probably have professionals hired to manage those.
[0:25:07.1] DK: They do.
[0:25:08.6] KM: Buy lights —
[0:25:09.4] DK: We have a production actually that comes in. We’ve gotten so big that we've got several companies that come in to help run it.
[0:25:15.2] KM: Each stage probably has —
[0:25:15.8] DK: Absolutely. Yes, they do. Yes, they do.
[0:25:17.8] KM: Then the vendors, they buy in and manage their own.
[0:25:21.1] DK: They do. We have about 30 food vendors and then about 40 art and craft merchants. Of course, we have sponsors that are on site with different exhibits. Johnsonville Brats is coming back this year. That’s always a crowd favorite. Oaklawn gaming, which is our presenting sponsor this year. They come in, they’ve got a big exhibit on site. It's a lot of fun. There’s a lot to do, but the big thing is listening to all the great music that’s been.
[0:25:46.2] KM: Steve, what are you going to do this year.
[0:25:48.3] SB: I’m not going to be quite as in deep, but I’m involved in our Thursday night event called Flowing on the River, that’s kind of private party. We have beer and wine tasting, and it’s really —
[0:25:56.7] KM: That’s where the sponsors come.
[0:25:58.3] SB: Yeah. Everybody could come.
[0:25:59.5] DK: We sell tickets to the public.
[0:26:01.8] KM: Where do you buy tickets?
[0:26:03.1] DK: You could buy them at the door. If you wait and get them at the door. They’re $40, or you can buy them online now, they’re 30.
[0:26:08.5] KM: That’s for everyday? That’s the whole weekend.
[0:26:11.8] DK: This is for Flowing on the River, so this is the wine event, wine and craft beer testing. Chuy’s Restaurant provides a full dinner, and so we’ve got hundreds of wine labels and craft beers for tasting. It’s a lovely event. Free Verse will be the entertainment on Thursday. It’s Thursday, June 4th.
Then Riverfest, the music festival is June 2nd and 3rd and those tickets are available online for $40, or you can go to any Murphy USA or Murphy Express around the state, and they have tickets available as well. There’s the big outcry for retail tickets. Like I said, Sunday is free or $5.
[0:26:48.0] KM: Murphy’s, is that a convenient store?
[0:26:49.4] DK: It is. It’s a gas station. There are Murphy USAs at Walmarts, but then now they’re becoming free standing. There’s one at Chenal and Markham out there by Target.
[0:26:59.4] KM: They’re cheaper if you buy them online now.
[0:27:00.7] DK: Yes.
[0:27:01.3] KM: Are they cheaper if you buy them at Murphy?
[0:27:03.2] DK: Yes. If you wait to get the at the gate, they’re going to be $55.
[0:27:06.7] KM: For $40, you get to come Friday and Saturday and then for an extra $5, you get to come —
[0:27:11.4] DK: If you buy the tickets right now, the Riverfest tickets, Sunday is free folks. That’s the bonus stay. If you don’t want to come Friday, Saturday, like you said, you weren’t familiar with some of the bands but you do want to come down Sunday to see more stay, think about that. $5 to see Morris Day. $5 to see Amasa Hines.
[0:27:31.3] KM: Yeah! That’s really great.
[0:27:32.2] DK: You can’t go to a local establishment and see them for that —
[0:27:37.1] KM: No, it’d be $15 at Sticky Fingers — It’s not called Sticky Fingers, is it?
[0:27:39.6] DK: It’s Stickyz.
[0:27:42.2] KM: It’s still Stickyz. Okay. Before we go to break, tell me, there has to have been some shocking episode in the last 20 years, some great story that you’ve got to tell us.
[0:27:53.3] DK: I don’t know that they’re radio appropriate. I know aren’t.
[0:27:56.2] SB: This is from last year. I was on Channel 7 that morning early and I see these four young people, and I could tell they’re been up all night long and they have put all their keys and all their phones in a sack and lost it. Just went back to their car and slept all night in the car. The next morning, when we opened up, in our lost and found, we had it right there. I’ve never seen four people more happy. They said, “We’re coming back tonight.”
[0:28:22.0] KM: I bet they were asleep.
[0:28:23.5] DK: Yeah. My stories I said, at said at some point I’ll write a coffee table book that probably won’t be appropriate for the coffee table. Yeah, there are some stories that you —
[0:28:30.2] KM: Those are the best ones.
[0:28:31.1] DK: They are.
[0:28:32.3] KM: Come on! Just give us a little one.
[0:28:33.8] DK: I’ll have to think on that.
[0:28:35.2] SB: One thing about it is she’s had a couple festivals we’ve had to put IV’s in here. She just runs out…
[0:28:39.9] KM: Oh, yeah. That’s what they do in New Orleans. They just dry run that patty wanton and then put IVs in people. It’s like watching a blowup doll that go from their head down between their legs to — Standing up.
[0:28:49.2] DK: Yeah, it is amazing what that IV will do.
[0:28:51.7] KM: Yeah, no wonder you had to break it up into two festival, two events, the family in April and then — You’d be thinking out which one you could tell us when we come back from a break. We’re going to hold her to it. Also, when we come back — We’re going to take a break and when we come back, DeAnna and Steve, we’re going to talk to them about buying tickets are Riverfest again. We’ll remind y’all at the end of the show about the tickets and how to get them if you missed it a minute ago, about becoming a sponsor vendor and volunteer. I think we kind of did that. We didn’t talk about volunteers — And about the economic impact of Riverfest on Little Rock and our state.
[0:31:24.5] KM: This is about the only song I know.
[0:31:26.4] DK: It’s a good one.
[0:31:27.6] KM: I know I can even do the dance. You said you have 250 volunteers.
[0:31:34.3] DK: That’s just our planning committee.
[0:31:36.4] KM: What?
[0:31:37.0] DK: Yeah, that’s just our planning committee. They are spread out amongst about 32, 33 committees. We’ve got a food committee that takes care of the food vendors, and we’ve got obviously stage committees, and we’ve got admissions committee in riverbanks, and all that. Then it takes another 1,500 to actually work the three-day event. Your previous caller, that’s what he was referring to. We have five-hour shifts that we need volunteers to fill, and so you’re either going to sell tickets, admission tickets, you’re going to sell river money. You might fix an alcohol wristband on a patron, and my favorite volunteer position, which is slinging beer. That’s a ton of fun.
We love to have corporations and organizations do it as a group. It’s a really great way to get outside your normal workday and get together as a group and have some fun. Now knowing — Because obviously age-wise, demographically, we’re skewing a little bit younger. When I’m 50 — People go, “I don’t know who that band is.” I would really encourage you to go on our website. We link — there are Spotify playlist to all of our artists.
We’ve got some really phenomenal music and I would challenge people to go out and listen to some of the bands that we’ve booked, because it’s a really great way to self up to new music and not stay in the same rut what you’re used to listening to.
You were talking about the — You want to tell your story?
[0:33:02.7] TB: Yeah, you were talking about up and coming acts. One of my favorite in the world is The Cure and they just got done touring and they’re opening act the whole tour was Joy Formidable who are playing this year.
[0:33:13.3] DK: That’s right. They’re playing on Saturday on the Amphitheatre Stage prior to Moon Taxi, Cold War Kids and Wiz Khalifa, and they’re from England. They’re wonderful. Again, it’s funny growing up, I was all over the — I never knew I would have a job like this for sure. I grew up listening to Lawrence Welk, listening to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, listening to Hee Haw because my mother was from Western Oklahoma, so country music. I love all genres of music, and that’s probably one of the favorite parts of my job is getting to open myself up to new music, new experiences and just learning what’s out there. It’s like hip-hop. Classic rock was big when I was at high school. It’s why we call it classic rock now, but Foreigner, and Journey, and things like that. Now, really, hip-hop is really what is — Wiz Khalifa, we’re super excited about having him on site. It’s going to be fun.
[0:34:07.3] KM: Besides the music entertainment, what else does Riverfest weekend offer? Well, we’ve got the artists.
[0:34:12.2] DK: That’s right. We’ve got art and craft vendors. We’ve got a carnival on site so people can do that. We’ve got the museums downtown.
[0:34:20.5] KM: For like children? A carnival for children?
[0:34:22.1] DK: It’s more adult. We’ve got a few small children’s rides, but it’s more for adults.
[0:34:27.2] KM: Adult carnival.
[0:34:28.1] DK: We are all kids at heart. That’s exactly right.
[0:34:29.2] KM: Interesting.
[0:34:29.5] DK: Don’t you like to get on the rides?
[0:34:30.7] KM: No.
[0:34:31.4] DK: I do.
[0:34:32.5] SB: I tell you one thing too is that the river market, after we get food, it is on fire. It goes —
[0:34:38.7] KM: Oh, I bet.
[0:34:39.1] SB: All the bars are full and all the hotels are full. It’s just a happening place. A couple of years ago people were walking down the street, a man who had American flags, it was just crazy.
[0:34:50.2] DK: Again, bringing people into downtown Little Rock — The Clinton Library. Going to the library before, you get a discounted admission with your Riverfest ticket. The library, Heifer International and Heifer Village. If you haven’t been down to Heifer Village, it’s fantastic.
The Museum of Discover is open. There’s just lots to do. That’s really what we’re here for is to get people into town and experiencing Little Rock and having a wonderful time.
[0:35:14.9] KM: What time does Riverfest close at night?
[0:35:17.3] DK: It closes at 11 on Friday night and Saturday. Then on Sunday night this year, we’ll conclude after the fireworks, approximately 9:30. Then something else I wanted to mention that’s new this year that we’re doing. On Friday, June 2nd, we are having a Riverfest Picknic, and in guitar pick, and we’re doing a free lunch from 11 to 2. No admission, you can come down to Riverfest, eat lunch down there, kind of walk around, see what we’ve got to offer. Might catch a sound check on.
[0:35:44.7] KM: That’s before the event starts.
[0:35:45.8] DK: That’s before the event ever opens.
[0:35:47.1] KM: That’s sounds like my time to come.
[0:35:48.6] DK: It’s going to be great. If you have your ticket and you want to go ahead and exchange it for your wristband, we can wristband you. We’ll exchange them that day from 11 to 2, so just to beat the crowds. We’ll be giving away a limited amount of commemorative buttons. Everybody remembers the button. We’ll be giving away some of those. Oaklawn is bringing in their food truck, which is they serve silk sliders out of. Everybody coming through the gates will get a free silk slider. It’s going to be fun. We’ve got lots —
[0:36:14.7] KM: What is a silk slider?
[0:36:15.9] DK: It’s a little mini-hamburger.
[0:36:17.2] KM: What’s silk mean?
[0:36:18.4] DK: Silks is their club at Oaklawn.
[0:36:22.4] KM: Oh! You’re telling me — God, I need to learn.
[0:36:24.5] DK: Yeah, Oaklawn has really — It’s fantastic.
[0:36:27.5] KM: Oh, the food is always good.
[0:36:29.0] DK: It is. Lots to do. Everybody downtown, if you don’t — The rides will be up and going so you can go down and ride the rides. Again, offering another opportunity for people that might now want to come down in the evening to hear the bands play.
[0:36:42.5] KM: What time does it open?
[0:36:43.6] DK: That’s from 11 to 2 then we open gates back up at 5. Then at 5, that’s paid admission when you come in. Saturday, we open at 1 and go to 11. Sunday, we’re open at 1 and we go to —
[0:36:53.9] KM: All of that is on the website.
[0:36:54.9] DK: It’s all on the website.
[0:36:56.2] KM: You have a fan-base that’s just incredible. You don’t really even hardly have to advertise anymore. I think people just look forward to Riverfest and make their hotel reservations a year in advance.
[0:37:05.5] DK: We hope so. That’s the plan. We’ve got, I think close to 65,000 Facebook followers. Everything is about social media these days, so that’s a great database. Yeah, we’ve been very fortunate. Partners like KBF over the years. That’s why, again, we are sustaining is because of the support of the community.
[0:37:23.7] KM: Leading in to that, what is the money that you think comes in? Have they ever figured out how much revenue comes to the hotels and the bars and all of that that Riverfest brings in economically to Little Rock?
[0:37:35.5] DK: Economically, the International Festival and Events Association, which is kind of a governing body for events around the world. They have estimated that our economic impact is close to $33 million.
[0:37:48.4] KM: What?
[0:37:49.4] DK: Isn’t that nuts?
[0:37:50.8] KM: For three days?
[0:37:51.6] DK: Yeah, isn’t that crazy? You think the bars, the restaurants, people driving in from around the state, gas.
[0:37:58.0] KM: Yeah, even buying gas.
[0:37:59.6] DK: You start adding all of that up. I will tell you, Chris King, again, that owns Stickyz, he told our board that he, last year — They’ve been open 16 years, and last year during Riverfest weekend was their best weekend ever.
[0:38:14.9] KM: Really?
[0:38:15.1] SB: All the hotels are at capacity as well downtown.
[0:38:17.7] KM: I don’t think you can get a room if you wanted to.
[0:38:20.8] DK: Last year, we had to actually put some of our bands out in West Little Rock which is the first time we’ve had to do that because all of the hotels in the downtown and North Little Rock downtown areas were booked.
[0:38:31.4] KM: I have a friend who lives in Pine Bluff who, her and husband, every year, get a hotel. Spends all weekend —
[0:38:38.3] DK: Fantastic. We love to hear that. We love to hear it.
[0:38:40.7] KM: Every year, for years and years and years, and they’re old. They’re older people.
[0:38:45.4] DK: I think you definitely have your festival groupies.
[0:38:46.9] SB: No one is old anymore. Come on.
[0:38:48.4] KM: I know, right? That is true. They’re not kids. They’ve got grown children and they’re still coming to Riverfest all the time.
[0:38:53.7] DK: That’s fantastic. We love that. That’s what it’s about.
[0:38:56.6] KM: Do you think that having everybody come in to Little Rock that weekend hurts in the outlying community?
[0:39:01.5] SB: There’s not a competing event going on.
[0:39:03.3] KM: Is that why you changed it from Memorial weekend?
[0:39:06.8] DK: We moved it off Memorial Day. This has been a topic of discussion for many many many years, is get it off Memorial Day. Basically, listening to our sponsors and to people — When you live in a state like Arkansas, that you can be at a lake within about 45 minutes. We really — People were like, “Well, we want to come but we’ve got a house at the lake. It’s the first weekend of summer. That’s what we wanted to — First long weekend.
We talked about it two years ago and just decided, “You know what? Let’s make the change. We’re changing the event. Let’s change the day as well,” and moving it to the first weekend. Then — Honestly —
[0:39:44.3] KM: Stickyz said they had the best year they’ve ever had, so it sounds like a good move.
[0:39:46.8] DK: Isn’t that crazy? Yeah, I think so too.
[0:39:48.4] SB: It was a passionate discussion, and there was a lot of people wanting to keep it, but the bottom line is —
[0:39:53.1] KM: People don’t like change.
[0:39:54.1] DK: No. They do not. You know what, Kerry? You have to change to stay relevant, and that’s where we are. Absolutely.
[0:40:02.6] KM: That’s why you’ve been good at your job.
[0:40:03.7] DK: Thank you.
[0:40:03.9] KM: What can vendors expect if they want to participate at Riverfest?
[0:40:06.9] DK: Our vendor process, I think we might have a couple of just merchant spots available so they can call the office. The number there is 501-255-FEST, or 3378, and ask for Julie Schindler. She can tell you she’s got spots left.
[0:40:25.0] KM: You can always make a new spot.
[0:40:25.9] DK: Absolutely. We can always accept more sponsorship money. We appreciate the sports. Our sponsors are wide. We have folks that obviously sponsor us because they understand the importance of Riverfest to the community and it’s sustaining.
[0:40:42.8] KM: I think that’s probably the biggest thing.
[0:40:44.0] DK: It is. We’ve been very fortunate. Then, obviously, you have sponsors that they want that marketing. They want those banners, which is good for you. They want those banners flying high. We’ve got a little bit of everything. We’ve got sponsorship starting as low as $100, if somebody wants to donate.
[0:41:00.2] KM: I bet your sponsors have been doing it for 40 years.
[0:41:02.6] DK: We have several that have been — As we’ve been going ever past memorabilia and things like that. Werthen Bank of course the name is changing now. Bank of America, they’ve been involved from the beginning. It’s fun to look back and see.
[0:41:15.0] KM: We barely have enough time to play another song from entertainment that’s going to be at Riverfest, so let’s take a break and then when if we come back — I forgot to get DeAnna to tell us the most shocking story. We are going to make her do that. We’re going to remind everybody the tickets. We’re going to talk about parking and how to get there. I think there are shuttles we can use. Maybe we’ll get a preview of what to expect next year because you probably are already thinking about it.
[0:41:38.4] DK: Yeah. Always thinking.
[0:43:27.4] KM: Parking is an issue.
[0:43:28.9] DK: It is.
[0:43:29.0] KM: At least some suggestions.
[0:43:30.6] DK: It is. There are parking decks downtown. We want to promote that for the Convention of Business Bureau.
[0:43:34.9] KM: Do they not fill up?
[0:43:36.6] DK: They do. Usually, if you get down there, especially a little bit earlier, so you’ve got the parking deck at 2nd and Main. The River Market Parking Deck. The Central Arkansas Library has a new deck that will be available till it fills up. There are some surface lots, but we would encourage you to take our shuttles.
Now, there is a big change with the shuttles these year. In the past, the shuttles have run from War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock and from Lakewood Middle School in North Little Rock. We have decided to combine the shuttles into one stop to make it more convenient as far as getting to the festival, because when you’re in those outlying — War Memorial doesn’t seem far to downtown until you get in Riverfest traffic, and then it’s taking 25 minutes, or 30 minutes to get a bus downtown.
The folks at Verizon Corporate and Colliers International have made the parking lot available down at Riverdale on Number 1 Allied Drive, and so everybody can come there.
[0:44:34.6] KM: Where — Verizon?
[0:44:36.8] DK: The Verizon Corporate Offices.
[0:44:39.2] KM: Corporate Office. Not the one over on the freeway.
[0:44:40.9] DK: Not on the freeway. This is down in Riverdale, so you just come down Cantrell Hill, park there. We could get you, because we have part of Cantrell of LaHarpe closed. We’ll get you there in less than five minutes and drop you right at the gate.
[0:44:51.9] KM: Much smarter.
[0:44:53.9] DK: We think it’s going to work well and it will just be a constant loop. Again, you’ve got secured parking. You get to be dropped at the gate and picked right back up. We run those shuttles until the last car leaves the parking lot. My guy that coordinates it is Larry Lawson, he’s fantastic. He makes sure — He’ll send his personal car back down if he thinks there’s someone that missed the last bus.
[0:45:17.9] SB: Another option as well from North Little Rock side, you can park over there and walk over the Junction Bridge, and then we have tickets as soon as you get off the bridge as well.
[0:45:27.3] KM: Which bridge is the Junction Bridge?
[0:45:28.7] SB: It’s the walking bridge.
[0:45:30.1] KM: Over by the Clinton Library.
[0:45:30.9] SB: Yes.
[0:45:31.5] DK: Actually, you can use that one. The Clinton Library bridge is the one east of interstate 30, and then the Junction Bridge is west of Interstate 30 before you hit the main street bridge. You can also — Rock Region Metro will also have trollies running back and forth across the main street bridge. You can hop on in North Little Rock.
[0:45:51.3] KM: Where would you park over there?
[0:45:52.6] DK: There’s quite a bit of parking in North Little Rock, and there’s surface parking, U.S. Bank, there’s parking on the North Shore Riverwalk.
[0:45:58.6] KM: You just say get on the trolley.
[0:46:00.2] DK: Yeah, you hop on the trolley. It will bring you right over. It’s free. It’s absolutely free.
[0:46:04.2] KM: Do they run very often?
[0:46:05.6] DK: They run constantly until — I believe they run until 11:00 each night. Now, on Sunday night, they’ll shut down at 8:30 in anticipation of the fireworks shooting off at 9.
[0:46:15.5] KM: Because they can’t go on the bridge.
[0:46:16.4] DK: That’s exactly right. But they drop right at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce Building and you’re right there at the main gate.
[0:46:21.1] KM: Don’t use them Sunday night.
[0:46:23.1] DK: Sunday, you could use them up until 8:30, but you’re going to have to walk back across on Sunday night, because they won’t start running after the fact.
[0:46:30.0] KM: Yeah, they need to know all that. If people want to find out — Tell us about the tickets one more time and then tell us where we can get all of the acts and the times and shows on more time.
[0:46:39.9] DK: Tickets are on sale now on our website, which is riverrestarkansas.com, you go to the ticket tab and you can purchase them directly there, bring your ticket or your phone and we could scan it at the gate. We have a lot of questions, “I don’t have a printer.” You don’t have to have a printer. You can bring the ticket or your phone and we will scan it. If you don't like to do online transactions you can go to Murphy USA Murphy Express. Again, there is a list on the ticket page of what stores carry the tickets and you can purchase them there.
Folks, if you wait — Again, kids 10 and under freak there are people that bring their kids to the festival, 10 and under is free. If you wait to get them at the gate, it’s going to be $55. Now is the time to get —
[0:47:22.8] KM: I thought you said 40 earlier.
[0:47:24.7] DK: 40 in advance. 55 at the gate.
[0:47:26.7] KM: I misunderstood that.
[0:47:28.2] DK: Yeah. Don’t wait. Again, for all the information, we’ve got the Oaklawn National Baggo Tournament going on on Saturday. We’ve got the PK Girls, they kick off on Sunday. We have lots of things other than just the music. Patron is going to have a lounge where you can come —
[0:47:46.3] KM: Oh, you got to get the security.
[0:47:47.5] DK: Yeah. They’re going to be doing some fun things with that. We’ve got — Stella Rosa Wine will be doing some sampling. Like I said, we’ve got Murphy USA, will have on site exhibit.
[0:47:58.1] KM: It’s just incredibly cheap, $55, and then you get in there. I guess you have to use River Market money.
[0:48:03.8] DK: You use River money. Our festival currency,Rvest river money. You sure do and that you go buy that, go buy food. Great food vendors. Great food to it. Again, just lots of fun.
[0:48:14.4] KM: Tell us a shocking story that’s happened. I’ve let you off the hook this time.
[0:48:18.5] DK: I can’t really say shock. This one is not shocking, but it’s kind of humorous. The shocking ones, I have to tell off the air. The year, the infamous C Low issue where he was not on stage, and this is going on for about 25 minutes. I get summoned over to the stage. I was looking for my booking agent to decide what we were going to do.
As I came up on the back of the stage, there’s equipment everywhere but I kind of glanced over and I see C Low sitting in — If you’ve ever been to Riverfest and volunteer, we have these hideous plastic orange chairs that have the metal rails on the side so they’ll hook together. They’re kind of a joke and a legend in themselves. He’s sitting in one with two women in cat suits, sitting on his lap and I looked and thinking, “Seriously? You’ve got hoards of people out here waiting for you to perform. He’s sitting there. Of course, I’m leaving — We’re over here talking —
Finally, they’re basically, “We’re not going to pay you if you do not get up there and perform. We’re going to cancel your check.” He gets ready to stand up and he had on an outfit that literally looked like silk pajamas with big wide legs. When he stood up, he catches his bottoms on the rail of that chair and they just ripped. I was like, “Karma is a you know what.” It was pretty humorous.
[0:49:36.2] KM: Did he go on with —
[0:49:37.6] DK: He went on. The girls did not go on with him, but the story since then when I tell this story, this story turns into — He had two cats sitting on his laps. These were not cats, because he is known for his cat. These were actually girls in cat suits.
Yeah, he went up there and perform. We timed it for about 20 minutes and then walked off the stage.
[0:49:54.0] KM: There are so many jokes in there —
[0:49:56.4] DK: There are. Yes. I’m telling you. It was pretty funny.
[0:50:00.4] KM: My children, if they’re listening, are cringing, thinking, “Mom! Don’t say it.”
[0:50:06.0] DK: Yeah. We’ve had some fun. There’s been a lot of things over the years and we had fun as a committee.
[0:50:11.2] KM: He didn’t play enough songs.
[0:50:12.3] DK: He didn’t. No. He played 20 minutes and decided that he had enough, which is really sad. I’ll tell you too, you normally see people wait for an encore, and that crowd, the minute he stepped off, they knew. They just literally turned around and walked off. They didn’t scream, yell, or anything.
[0:50:28.9] KM: Sad though.
[0:50:29.5] SB: One comment I’d like to make too about Riverfest that we haven’t talked about is the fantastic music we’ve had in the past. Black Crows, we saw them played —
[0:50:40.7] KM: I think I saw them.
[0:50:41.6] SB: One of their last concerts together. Fantastic. Peter Franklyn a couple of years ago. My goodness! ZZ Top, biggest crowd ever when we were in North Little Rock. War is my favorite of all time. They were great. Of course, Drive-By Truckers, I love. I think I believe you don’t know Drive-By Truckers.
[0:51:01.4] KM: I don’t.
[0:51:02.3] SB: They’re kind of like the new Lynyrd Skynyrd is a good way — They’re great.
[0:51:07.8] DK: Or Allman Brothers. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Allman Brothers.
[0:51:10.9] KM: Greg.
[0:51:11.6] DK: Yes. We really do. If you go look on our website, we have past performers listed under the entertainment, and it really is phenomenal. Carrie Underwood, a lot of people don’t know that Carrie Underwood’s dad begged and begged her to play. She was 16, 17, living in Oklahoma and wanted her to come over and play. We said, “We’ll let her sing the National Anthem.”
She sang the National Anthem, played for about 30 minutes prior to Kenny Chesney. A year later, I’m at home, my son is in the bedroom, got the TV on, and I hear — I’m walking down the hall, American Idol is on and I hear them say this name and I said, “What did they just say and what she looked like.” “Oh, Carrie Underwood.” I thought to myself, “Oh boy!” Look at where she is today.
[0:51:55.2] KM: What a great story.
[0:51:56.3] DK: Yeah, isn’t that neat?
[0:51:58.4] KM: That’s very, very neat. $55 to be part of history.
[0:52:02.1] DK: That’s exactly right.
[0:52:02.3] KM: Come down to Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, June —
[0:52:07.1] DK: It’s June 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, and we encourage people to join us for the kickoff party on June 1st, which is our Flowing on The River Wine and Craft Beer tasting event. Separate ticket, but you can get those online as well.
[0:52:19.4] KM: I am going to come down this year. I’m so motivated. Listen, here’s your cigar. Thank you. Which y’all can smoke when Riverfest is over. It’s for birthing another business, which is like a business, or another festival, and for all the careers you’re boosting and birthing. Think how many people’s careers that you’re setting on fire.
[0:52:37.4] DK: Thank you
[0:52:38.2] KM: You’re very welcome, and that came from the Humidor Room at Colonial Wine and Spirits.
[0:52:42.3] DK: Awesome.
[0:52:43.6] KM: Who’s our guest for next?
[0:52:44.6] TB: Next week is going to Skip Brother Ferd, the curator of the Clinton Public Library.
[0:52:48.9] KM: He’ll be interesting. He’s got a long long bio. That guy has done a lot of stuff.
[0:52:52.7] DK: He has. Absolutely.
[0:52:53.7] SB: The Clinton Library has been a big partner of Riverfest.
[0:52:55.5] KM: They really have. If you’ve got a boat, you can go down there.
[0:52:59.0] DK: I’m telling you, that’s a lot of my friends. They pop right up there on the bank and listen to the music.
[0:53:03.4] KM: I’ve done that before. It’s nice.
[0:53:06.1] DK: It’s fun, isn’t it?
[0:53:06.8] KM: It’s very nice. Also, if you’ve got a great entrepreneurial story you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you. Send a brief bio on your contact info to firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be in touch. Finally, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me. If you think this program has been about you, you’re right, but it’s also been for me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence, or your life.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[0:53:40.30] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Want to hear today’s program again or want someone else to benefit from it? Jot this down. Within 48 hours the podcast will be available at flagandbanner.com. Click the tab labeled “Radio Show”, there you’ll find today’s segments with links to resources you heard discussed on this program. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.