Each year, after RiverFest has come and gone, we take a look at how it fared and what, if anything, might make it better. Last year we noted that RiverFest had become very successful at drawing a crowd over the last several years and we thought the festival was generally on the right track.
This year was not as successful, due to a drenching rain that washed out the Friday schedule. That, of course, can’t be helped at an outdoor festival. Attendance at the Community Kickoff Luncheon set a record for the second consecutive year. The lunch and the William Faulkner Literary Competition are run by an independent committee, but it has become a good opener for the festival. (The Gazette is part of the committee.)
BNA Bank’s Tallahatchie River Run, in its 24th year, was off a little in participation because of the early Saturday rain and a date conflict with cross country teams that usually participate. But the always well-run race went on as scheduled.
The Saturday night headliner music of Skylar Laine and Josh Thompson drew a large crowd, reminding us that country music stars and American Idol/The Voice kinds of singers are what turns out people in our area. Scheduling something else would be foolhardy.
We do think Friday night should be reserved for our own Sam Mosley and the Moseley and Johnson Band with the Muscle Shoals Horns. Sam is a legend and brings out a diverse, large audience for rhythm and blues.
Next year the city is taking over running the festival from the Union County Development Association. The task ahead is to build on UCDA’s successful track record of providing New Albany and Union County with the kinds of vendors, activities, and music our residents will support.