This year’s River's Edge Music Festival is going to be like none before.
Headlining this year is Omaha's Hotel Desperado, an Eagles tribute band. The Eagles, considered by many as one of the greatest rock bands of all time, are known for classic tunes such as "Hotel California," "Take It To The Limit," "Life In The Fast Lane
Other acts scheduled to perform are The Columbus Jazz Orchestra, Jim Casey & The Lightnin’ Band and Arcade Radio.
Tickets cost $10 before or $12 at the door. They can be purchased at Super Saver, Shenanigans Bar or the Ag Park Office in Columbus. Online ticket sales are available at 402-563-9256. Doors open at 3 p.m on Feb. 23. for the rock concert at Ag Park, 822 15th St. The first act hits the stage at 4 p.m. and the show wraps up about midnight.
Event organizers Dave Williams and Ryan Comte said they are hopeful this year's festival will be able to kick-start the nonprofit's scholarship fund. The festival was started back in 2015 with the goal of raising money for Columbus area music programs and music students. With the festival never turning a profit, that dream has yet to come to fruition.
“Because the thing has not been financially sound up until this point, being in the black is all we care about at this point. It’s something that has to be a building process,” Comte said. “You talk to anybody who has been involved with festivals and they will tell you that it’s a minimum of five years before you see any progress financially, whatsoever.”
In the past, the show acted as the induction ceremony for the Nebraska Music Hall of Fame. While Williams said the festival is still affiliated with the hall, this year marks the first time no inductions will take place at the show. Williams said the event's focus has shifted to raising enough funds to break even and facilitate the purchase of musical instruments for Columbus area schools, along with the creation of a scholarship fund for college-bound musicians.
“We’re going to stick with our main focus,” Williams said. “We just want to make sure these kids know that if your family can't afford this instrument for you and you really want to play it, there’s help out there.”
Comte said the show is nearly sold out. Last year they managed to sell about 400 tickets. This year, they're expecting to get close to 500 in attendance. With additional ticket sales and more sponsors than ever before, the festival is on track to be in the green.
“It’s a huge flip from being worried about if anybody was going to show up to maybe too many people are going to show up,” Comte. “It’s a great problem to have.”
Although the show has traditionally been held in Ag Park’s exhibition room, this year that spot is occupied by the 2019 Columbus Home Builders Show. As so, the festival will be in the ballroom. Since the venue is smaller, Williams said it should help with the overall sound and feel of the concert.
“We’ve got it this year. Upstairs the acoustics are nice, the atmosphere's good,” Williams said. “It’s going to be more intimate and I think people are really going to enjoy it.”
Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.