Recapping 40 years of Monticello Riverfest entertainment

By Jakob Kounkel
Monticello Times Intern

Riverfest has accommodated a colorful spectrum of entertainment since its inception, hosting magicians, musicians, actors, and storytellers.

The Saturday night event has grown exponentially in attendance and popularity since its inauguration in 1976.

The first year of entertainment drew an estimated 800 locals to watch the community band directed by Doug Miller.

Popular bands like Night Shift, The Rockin’ Hollywoods, The Killer Hayseeds, Jonah and the Whales, High Noon, Rock It Science, and more recently, crowd favorite The Fabulous Armadillos have headlined the entertainment portion of Riverfest during its four-decade history.

These popular acts have been a hit in Monticello, and many acts return for three consecutive years.

These bands perform mostly cover songs from the 1950s to the 1980s, and even include some contemporary pop music.

Riverfest wouldn’t be what it is today without the help of these musicians and other performances.

Originally, the performances took place in East Bridge Park, and crowds would gather around the bandstand to watch performers and coronation.

Now the event has to be held outside the fire hall in the Monticello Community Center parking lot as the audience continues to grow. The bands always contribute to a big crowd, subsequently adding to the profit poured back into the community event.

While turning a big profit is ideal, it’s not the reason the Monticello Lions Club continues to develop and augment the event. Improvements from year to year create a pleasurable experience for adults, teenagers and children.

Planners hope the event yet again produces a large crowd for the enjoyment of the community and those who choose to attend.

Based on recent performances and the precedent they’ve created, Riverfest entertainers will continue to create an enjoyable environment for all who attend for many summer celebrations to come.

Jakob Kounkel is a summer intern with the Monticello Times.