Clarksville, TN Online: News, Opinion, Arts & Entertainment.

Rivers and Spires Festival opening night was absolutely fabulous


Rivers and Spires continues Friday, April 25th and Saturday, April 26th

Clarksville's Rivers and Spires FestivalClarksville, TN – Thursday April 24th was the opening of the 2014 Rivers and Spires Festival, and Clarksvillians turned out in droves to enjoy the first day of the free three day festival. The weather was perfect neither too hot nor too cold, and threatening rain held off until after the Festival had concluded for the evening.

I asked Theresa Harrington, the Executive Director CVB and Vice President Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council how she thought things were going, “I think it’s gonna be great! This weather is going to be the best that we’ve ever had I think. Good crowds are showing up already tonight. You can come down and see see the Clydesdales, stilt walkers, you can see the bands and enjoy the entertainment! The Festival has everything that you can possibly imagine.”

Headliner Slippery When Wet, the Bon Jovi Tribute Band performing on the opening night of the 2014 Rivers and Spires Festival

Headliner Slippery When Wet, the Bon Jovi Tribute Band performing on the opening night of the 2014 Rivers and Spires Festival

I asked her about some of the new attractions that awaited Rivers and Spires Festival attendees, “Johnsonville Brats is out there cooking on the world’s largest touring grill, and that’s great because you can get something to eat. We’ve got the Virtual Army Experience where you can actually go in and be a soldier for the day more or less; and use the different simulators and things there. The World Vision big rig is going to be a popular attraction which will teach Festival attendees more about the importance of water conservation.”

She continued, “There are lots and lots of new things for people to see them do this year! The Festival has always been really creative, but this year Jessica Goldberg the Festival director has worked really hard getting new and interesting stuff out there on the streets, and the Rivers and Spires Festival is something that everyone should come out, and experience for themselves!”

Friendly Volunteers assist Festival Goers

Friendly Volunteers assist Festival Goers

For the first day of the festival only 2 of the 5 stages were in operation, even so the music went on nonstop!

Danciel posing for photographs with fans after his performance

Danciel posing for photographs with fans after his performance

The party kicked off at 5:00pm with a performance by Danciel on the Strawberry Alley Stage, and the official Rivers and Spires Festival kickoff party was held on the Public Square Stage.

They were followed up by the start of the Last Band Standing talent competition for area bands on the Strawberry Alley stage, and Rubiks Groove on the Public Square Stage.

I walked back and forth between the two stages sampling all of the sights that the Festival had to offer on Thursday evening.

Clarksville Police Department's Chaplains walking the streets at the Rivers and Spires Festival

Clarksville Police Department’s Chaplains walking the streets at the Rivers and Spires Festival

I watched families and friends together having a great time sharing one another’s company. I saw Festival volunteers during their best to ensure that everything worked as planned, and that things went smoothly. Offices from the Clarksville Police Department roamed the Festival keeping a watchful eye on things. While the hard-working guys from the Clarksville Street Department kept everything cleaned up. Everyone was having a wonderful time.

When I arrived back by F&M Bank, Rubiks Groove was already jammin it out on the Public Square Stage.

Rubiks Groove was a special treat to watch as they perform on stage dressed-up in iconic costumes from the 1980s. The lead singer was dressed as Pee-wee Herman, he was backed up by the Karate Kid’s arch nemesis Johnny Lawrence, Teen Wolf played the guitar, Robocop really delivered the bass, while Mario pounded some serious drums, and Beetle Dude caressed the keyboards.

Rubik's Groove performing at the 2014 Rivers and Spires Festival

Rubik’s Groove performing at the 2014 Rivers and Spires Festival

Robocop plays the bass

Robocop plays the bass

Rubiks Groove had the audience singing and dancing in the streets to familiar tunes from the 80s.

With the show was finished, I asked Emily Kovalik, Amy Denton, Shannon Stone from Clarksville, TN. what they thought about Rubiks Groove, “they were great,” said one. “They were Awesome, ” said another. “Awesome, absolutely awesome,” said a third. “Great energy,” someone else added.

When asked what it was that they liked best about the show, the ladies did not hesitate, “It was fun.” They also loved the costumes, “I love the costumes! I love the fact that they dress-up in costumes representing 80s pop culture, for us 80s kids that was really great!”

Emily Kovalik, Amy Denton, Shannon Stone  from Clarksville Tennessee

Emily Kovalik, Amy Denton, Shannon Stone from Clarksville Tennessee

I then headed backstage where I was lucky enough to catch Johnny Lawrence a.k.a. Johnny St. John to ask a few questions.

When asked what the band thought about the Rivers and Spires Festival St. John did not mince words, “We love it, we love outdoor crowd, it feels like summer is upon us! I love it when kids and the older generation can get out here and enjoy this wonderful weather with us it was so perfect!”

I asked them how they got the idea to form Rubiks Groove, and St. John responded, “We were all like doing songwriting on our own,; and we realized it wasn’t as fun as it could be if we all joined together. So Brian, Holiday, and I decided we should have some fun with music; and we thought what better genre than 80s music.”

My next question dealt with how they decided to dress in costumes representing cultural icons of the 1980s. He responded, “We picked our characters through a little bit of trial and error. We started out with generic 80s costumes, but later we realized as we looked through costume websites that there were some really great iconic characters from the 80s, and so we decided to become more specific characters versus wearing generic 80s clothing. People love Robocop, they love Mario, they even love Johnny who was arguably the most hated villain of the 80s so they can relate to these characters.”

I decided it was time for a short break as I waited for the Thursday night headliners to get set up on the stage.

Jason Morey as Jon Bon Jovi

Jason Morey as Jon Bon Jovi

I got back just in time to catch the introduction for slippery when wet, the Bon Jovi tribute band. They wasted no time kicking off the music. This stage performance was highly energetic, and they encouraged audience participation seeking to get people singing along to the music. Growing up in the 80’s I was familiar with most of the songs and really enjoyed watching the performance as I snapped 200-300 pictures of the band. You’ll see the best of them in the photo gallery below.

The first day of the Rivers and Spires Festival finished off with out a single hitch. I had a really great time and I look forward to the Festival continuing tomorrow evening. Clarksville online will have a preview of the Friday Evening Festival up around 11:00am this morning. Be sure to share it with all of your Facebook friends!

Photo Gallery

About the Rivers and Spires Festival

Downtown Clarksville during the Annual Rivers and Spires FestivalThe 12th Annual Rivers and Spires Festival, April 24th-26th in downtown Clarksville, is free and open to the public.

The Festival features five stages of music and entertainment, arts and crafts, marketplace, food vendors and activities for all ages.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit .

About Bill Larson

    Bill Larson

    Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave.

    You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.





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