America’s River Festival in Dubuque to end after 15-year run

America's River Festival from the Summer of 2019 (KCRG)
America's River Festival from the Summer of 2019 (KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Dec. 13, 2019 at 9:14 AM CST
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The organization behind Dubuque's America’s River Festival has decided to end the 15-year run of the event.

America’s River Corporation has hosted the event in the Port of Dubuque since 2005. The event started as the Grand Excursion in 2004.

Keith Rahe, President and CEO of Travel Dubuque, says over the years other businesses have created more entertainment options for people in the Tri-state Area. The Q Casino's Backwater Stage, the Diamond Jo's Mississippi Moon Bar, and the Five Flags Center are filling the live music need in Dubuque, according to Rahe.

"A lot of other private entities out there now that are doing this large, entertainment national type acts and that. So that’s in the market, and we feel like at this point we don’t want to compete against our partners," Rahe explained.

The event is known to bring in more than 10,000 people every year, but Rahe says he believes those other businesses will be able to bring just as many people to Dubuque.

He said, “Everybody would typically stay away from that weekend. They wouldn’t book stuff around that weekend because they knew that was America’s River Festival weekend. And now they’ll be able to pinpoint and bring in entertainment of their own during that time frame.”

Big-name artists such as Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum and Sam Hunt have performed at the festival throughout the years.

The full release is below:

In 2004, the Grand Excursion was hosted along the Mississippi as a way to introduce people to our reinvented riverfront. It was the catalyst for what would ultimately become America’s River Festival. Since 2005, America’s River Corporation has hosted the festival in the Port of Dubuque and welcomed thousands of attendees each year. America’s River Festival evolved since it’s humble beginnings, once hosting on-site events like DockDogs, Stihl Timbersports, Cabela’s Fishing Tournaments, and more. What remained constant, however, was the festival’s dedication to bringing quality entertainment to the community of Dubuque. Bands like Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, and Sam Hunt have performed on the America’s River Festival stage early in their careers and have since continued on to become mainstays in the country music scene. The festival has also played host to iconic classic rock legends like Chicago, REO Speedwagon, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more. As each of these 15 years passed, Dubuque continued to grow as an entertainment destination. Areas of the community began to flourish and thrive, adding to the cultural vibrancy of the entertainment experience in Dubuque. Live music, performances, and events became integral to the day to day activity of areas like the Port of Dubuque, historic Main Street, Chaplain-Schmitt Island, and historic Millwork District. The America’s River Corporation board and partners have treasured being a part of this experience however, it is time for the festival to make way for the new wave of events in Dubuque. What once started as a signature experience for a community eager to showcase what it had to offer has now become one of many successful events that draw people to the community. After many thoughtful conversations, the America’s River Corporation has decided to end the fifteen-year run of America’s River Festival with the success of the 2019 event. America’s River Corporation has appreciated the support from its board members, partners, sponsors, vendors, and of course attendees, throughout the years. The success of the festival was not possible without their unwavering commitment to the event year after year. Thank you to each and every person who made America’s River Festival possible.