Musical Space: Riverfest 2017 For The Win

May 23, 2017


Top 10 lists are cliche, but there are so many reasons to congratulate the organizers of this year’s Riverfest music lineup that I needed to itemize them. So please forgive the format and see if you agree the 2017 Wichita Riverfest concert schedule is the best ever.

10. The price. A button will get you into all the shows, and they’re only 10 bucks - the price you would pay to hear a cover band.

9. Go big or go home. These are not little county fair acts. A Flaming Lips’ live show is as big as it gets.

8. Unsentimental. These aren’t washed-up bands cashing in on former popularity.

7. Expect good playing. Not just pretty faces - these musicians can bring it.

6. They took risks. Rather than going with the bland and forgettable, organizers went with acts that would have die-hard fans, like the ska direction with Less Than Jake and The Toasters.

5. Diversity. No matter your musical taste, the Riverfest has it covered - Hispanic night is just one example.

4. Act locally. I’m a music localvore and Riverfest will satisfy my audio farm-to-table needs. Too many to list here, download this podcast if you want to hear some examples.

3. Mass appeal. These acts have sales chart cred, like rapper Common and the country duo LoCash, which has made the top of the country charts.

2. Snob appeal. This is music for connoisseurs, like Mavis Staples - a living link between the Memphis Stax sound and today. No musical pedigree is more regal.

1. Which costumes are Flaming Lips going with? Santa Claus? Skeletons? Furry animals? We have to be there to find out.


Listening list:

OK Go, “White Knuckles,” Of the Blue Color of the Sky (2010)

One of my favorite OK Go videos, of which there are many.


Common, “Universal Mind Control,” Universal Mind Control (2008) 

Right around the time he played the first Obama inauguration ceremony.


Jenny Wood, “Stay Forever,” Don’t Let Them Get in Your Head, (2016)


The Travel Guide, “A Place You Used To Go,” Trading a Dream (2016) 


LoCash, “I Love This Life,” I Love This Life (2015)

Listen to how close this song is to EDM.


Mavis Staples, “You Are Not Alone,” You Are Not Alone (2010), 

Alum of the Staple Singers (Stax records), produced by Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.


Flaming Lips, “Do You Realize?” Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)

Their biggest hit; voted state song of Oklahoma.