Grand Rapids Riverfest expected to draw big crowd

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Sept. 9 will be a big day in Grand Rapids as Riverfest returns.

KAXE and the City of Grand Rapids put on a whole day of live music at the Grand Rapids Library Amphitheater. Artists include Dessa, Shemekia Copeland, Amanda Shires, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.

“We’ve created a community venue that can be used by anyone really, except we use it for Riverfest every year now. The Riverwalk is part of the festival grounds. We have a musical park there for kids and adults,” KAXE Music Director Kari Hedlund said. “It seats 3,500 people, which sounds like a lot, but actually for a concert venue, it’s very intimate.”

Hedlund says in 2022, a University of Minnesota formula estimated $1 million in economic impact from the one-day festival.

Many local shops, restaurants, and breweries are coming up with specials just for Riverfest.

“It’s a very community-driven event,” Hedlund said. “All of our vendors are from Grand Rapids or the region. And several of them have come up with really fun ideas. We have a contest going on right now with Borealis Creamery, which is an artisan ice cream truck in Grand Rapids. And they have partnered with us to create a special flavor for RiverFest.”

Rapids Brewing, Klockow Brewing, and Bemidji Brewing, are also teaming up to create a special fest beer just for Riverfest.

Ticket prices go up Sept. 1. Right now, they cost $29 for kids and $109 for adults.