The succulent scent of barbecue and the scintillating sound of roots rock proved a potent lure to Davenport's LeClaire Park as the two-headed powerhouse of River Roots Live and Ribfest rocked the riverfront Friday.
The annual event drew thousands for stick-to-your-ribs eats and stick-to-your-ears tunes.
The dual festival, which has showcased a wide menu of barbecued treats and other delicacies served up hot with a diverse array of rock and Americana acts since 2007, continues from noon to midnight today with headline act The Wallflowers hitting the stage at 9:30 p.m.
Proceeds from ticket sales benefit downtown Davenport beautification, the River Music Experience's educational programming and Living Lands & Waters clean-up efforts.
With mild, sunny weather embracing the area, and free admission before 5 p.m., the park was abuzz with revelers visiting more than three dozen vendors lined up along the riverfront from the time the fest opened its doors at 11 a.m. Friday.
“It’s a great festival,” Sandy Stewart of Moline said. “The beer is cold and the food is great.”
“I love the atmosphere, the food smells terrific, the music is really good, it’s relaxing and our little one is loving it,” Kelly Summers of East Moline said as her 1-year-old, Chase, bopped along with the tunes. “I've been coming here for a while and it’s always a good time.”
The various vendors were likewise pleased with the event.
“We love coming here, the people are great and they really take care of us,” said Pat Nelson, who brought his Big Boned BBQ outfit from Charleston, S.C. “The music is always great and the people of Davenport are a joy to be around.”
Local country roots act Busted Chandeliers kicked off the music slate Friday, its first notes ringing out just after 5 p.m. to the cheers of appreciative fans looking forward to a sweet night of soundscapes that included headliners the BoDeans, Shooter Jennings and Old Shoe.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this and to be the first band to play,” said Erin Moore Waterman of the Busted Chandeliers. “I've been coming to this festival for years, and it’s definitely a rush to be able to share the stage with all of the acts playing this weekend and to think that we’re on the same stage as all the great acts who have played here in the past. It’s really a thrill.”
“Every year we look forward to this,” Todd Ricketts of Davenport said as he enjoyed the beverages and relaxed in a lawn chair to listen to the sounds swaying in the river-cooled air. “It really is one of the best festivals Davenport has, and I hope they always keep it.”