Riverfest, the Little Rock riverfront festival reinvented last year with a private concert manager, won’t be back this year though the organization that ran the revamped event last year says it hopes to return in 2020.

The news release from RiverFest Inc., a Memphis-based festival promoter that ran the show last year:


RiverFest, Inc. announced today that RiverFest, an Arkansas tradition, won’t return in 2019 to Little Rock’s Julius Breckling Riverfront Park located on the banks of the Arkansas River.

“After much discussion amongst the voluntary staff of RiverFest, Inc, the event will be taking 2019 off to restructure, reorganize and re-invent. The next Arkansas RiverFest will tentatively take place in May of 2020.

RiverFest would like to thank the City of Little Rock, The Little Rock Visitors & Convention Bureau and all the other downtown businesses who hosted us during the 2018 RiverFest.

What we envision as a celebration of Arkansas’ art, music and talent is what we want to share with the community each year. We are so grateful for all the fans who attended in 2018, and we look forward to making 2020 an even better experience.

In 2020 we plan to return to the roots of the festival, with an event entirely focused on the heartbeat of Arkansas: our talented communities and the things we love.”

Riverfest had a 40-year run as a Memorial Day weekend nonprofit-run festival with arts, music and a throbbing midway. But as the costs of acts rose, it became more difficult to eke out a profit and the nonprofit that had run the event ended it with a 2017 show. RiverFest Inc., stepped in last year with a three-day Memorial weekend event, including a “family zone.” It was clear, though, that attendance didn’t meet expectations. Organizers said then they hoped to be back this year.