Mississippi River Festival is Reborn in Southwest Illinois

Drift away to the sounds of summer on the banks of the Mississippi River when the iconic Mississippi River Festival is reborn at the Alton Amphitheater on June 22. The revival of this iconic musical treat returns to southwest Illinois for an evening of musical delights.

Liberty Bank Amphitheater

The Return of a Legend

It was once considered a groundbreaking music festival -- and after a 44 year hiatus, the iconic Mississippi River Festival is returning to southwest Illinois.

The gutsy, blues rock sounds of Grammy-Award winning artist Larkin Poe will headline the revival of the festival at the Alton Amphitheater on Saturday, June 22. Rebecca & Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of Roots Rock 'n' Roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage. Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville. They are self-producers of an electrifying, critically acclaimed body of work and are known for constantly touring across the globe with a fiery vitality.

Supporting artists Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Fastball and special guests FEEL will also take the stage during this concert event.

Purchase tickets here.

Poster for the Mississippi River Festival 2024

Mississippi River Festival Revisited

The Mississippi River Festival, which was historically held on the hillside grounds of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, has found a new home in Alton thanks to MRF enthusiast and event organizer Nick Bifano. The MRF will be held alongside the highly anticipated F1 Powerpoint Racing Alton Midwest Championship which will take place during the day on June 22 and June 23.

"Re-visiting a festival of this magnitude is no small task," Nick noted. "What excites me the most is the opportunity to bring national attention to our river town and celebrate the already incredible music and arts scene.”

The festival's original run from 1969-1980 featured memorable legendary acts like The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, BB King and more. The concerts brought people together creating unforgettable experiences under the starlit skies.

Spanning twelve years, the MRF became more than a concert series- it became legend- bringing to stage some of the biggest names in blues, rock n’ roll, and folk music and drawing over a million visitors.

Starting as a way to promote SIUE and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, plans for the Mississippi River Festival was initiated by University President Delyte Morris in 1968. SIUE staff were able to construct facilities to host the festival in only eight weeks.

Feel the Music in Southwest Illinois

Be sure to visit the music and record stores in the region sure to satisfy any music lover's appetite for great sounds.

Mojo’s Music: Edwardsville-
With one of the largest guitar selections in the region, Mojo’s Music has been an Edwardsville staple since 2000. The shop carries gorgeous electric and acoustic guitars, drum and percussion sets, folk instruments, parts, accessories, and offers music lessons.

Omega Music: Granite City-
Omega Music of Granite City hits the beat for both professional and beginner musicians. Tune in for new and used instruments, sell instruments, bring your piece in for repairs or parts replacements, shop for musical accessories, and more. Inside you can find guitars, ukuleles, percussion, horns, and keyboards.

Halpin Music: Alton-

Halpin Music of Alton makes everyone feel confident in their music-making skills. With instruments, rentals, repairs, lessons, sheet music, accessories, and kid’s programs, it’s no wonder this locally owned business has been an Alton tradition for 60 years!

Alton Music Exchange: Alton-
Find your favorite new and used musical equipment at Alton Music Exchange in downtown Alton. If you're a professional musician or just getting started, there are pedals, amps, guitars, accessories, rentals and repairs to satisfy your music needs. Alton music exchange buys, sells, and trades equipment and offers guitar and piano lessons.

Swing City Music: Edwardsville-

Swing City is a musician's delight in Edwardsville offering an extensive selection of new, used and vintage instruments. Musicians of all skill levels can shop from guitars, percussion instruments, and keyboards. Repairs and music lessons are also available through Swing City.

Riverbend Records: Godfrey-
Whether you're a collector or just love the sound of great music on vinyl, there are 16,000 new & used albums in every music genre waiting for you at Riverbend Records in Godfrey. In addition to albums, you can also find electronics and accessories including turntables & turntable needles, receivers, speakers, tape decks, audio gear, and more along with a lounge area where you can sip a drink before continuing your search.

Rich’s Record Emporium: Collinsville Music lovers will be in heaven with the quality vinyl records at Rich's Record Emporium. Get the turntable spinning and try out one of the old or new vinyl records available. Rich’s is a great location to find turntable and record parts, accessories, amps, headphones, and more.

Gold Pan Records & Recording Studio: Hillsboro-
Gold Pan Records shows that big things can come in small packages. The independently owned shop, nestled in downtown Hillsboro, offers over 3,000 LP’s both vintage and new from fan favorites to highly sought after collector’s editions.

Trusty Chords Record Shop: Edwardsville- With an expansive selection of albums, cassettes, and CD’s, Trusty Chords can help you find titles new and old for music lovers and collectors alike.