River of Music returns June 1

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The fifth annual River of Music concert series kicks off on Friday, June 1, with local talent Backwater. (Photo submitted)

Umbrella Arts has announced the schedule for their upcoming River of Music concert series beginning Friday, June 1. This will be the fifth consecutive summer to celebrate local music with 11 free Friday night concerts in Ingleside Park.

Last year, the series drew nearly 2,000 attendees over the course of the summer with musical groups like Triple Threat, Friends of Backbone Bluegrass, and Uncle Sam’s Band. Many of those bands are returning this summer for the opportunity to play in the bandshell alongside the Mississippi River. 

The schedule includes: June 1 - Backwater, sponsored by Dr. Andy and MJ Smith; June 8 - Friends of Backbone Bluegrass, sponsored by Community Savings Bank; June 15 - Triple Threat, sponsored by Guttenberg Industries; June 22 - Sounds of Nashville, sponsored by Brown's Sales & Leasing; June 29 - Uncle Sam's Band, sponsored by Peoples State Bank and Guttenberg Rotary Club; July 6 - The Side Project, sponsored by Kann Manufacturing; July 13 - Guttenberg German Band, sponsored by Kluesner Sanitation; July 20 - Krankstate, in memory of Jim Hansel by Janet Hansel and family; July 27 - Steve Moser Family, sponsored by Fidelity Bank & Trust; Aug. 3 - Rocktide, in memory of Dixie Zehr; and Aug. 10 - Pizzin' in the Wind, sponsored by Dr. Michele and Steve Dikkers. 

The performers share an interest in performing alongside the river, but their musical tastes vary greatly. This year, a song paying tribute to Tom Petty has been requested of Backwater, the band which opens the series on June 1.

River of Music is made possible by many local sponsors who show their appreciation for the arts by generously supporting the concerts. “Guttenberg Industries, Kann Manufacturing, Brown’s, Peoples Savings Bank and Dr. Michele and Steve Dikkers have been sponsors every single year,” said volunteer MJ Smith. “We are very proud to welcome Community Savings Bank as a sponsor this year for the June 8 Art by the River weekend concert. We also are honored by families who sponsor concerts in memory of loved ones. This year Jim Hansel and Dixie Zehr will be remembered.”

Umbrella Arts volunteers host each concert and help by cleaning up the park after concerts, introducing bands and speaking between sets, and simply being present to assist with any concerns that may arise. Volunteers also pass a basket at the concerts for free-will donations which support youth arts experiences, public art initiatives, and the activities of Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center.

Guttenberg’s River of Music is offered every Friday June 1 – August 11 from 6-8 p.m. In the event of rain, concerts are held on the third floor of the Municipal Building. Signs will be posted both in the park and at the City Hall if the weather is threatening and the rain location is used. Organizers remind attendees that bugs may also attend the outdoor concerts, and sharing of insect repellant with neighbors is encouraged. 

Concert attendees are welcome to bring dinner, snacks and beverages along, provided all beverages are stored in plastic bottles or cans and trash is placed in nearby receptacles. Quiet, well-mannered pets are welcome at the concerts as long as they are on a leash, and owners observe animal-waste clean-up rules. Restrooms are located just south of the bandshell next to the school playground.

In addition to weekly event sponsors, Emily Oliver Hughes and Performance Marketing of West Des Moines contribute graphic design services. AutoTek Graphics supports signage needs, The Guttenberg Press offers news coverage and printing, and the City of Guttenberg maintains the scenic park venue.  

River of Music, along with its organizers, sponsors, and supporters, make Guttenberg a place where the arts are valued and celebrated. Umbrella Arts is a 501.c3 charitable organization whose members meet for dinner monthly to promote and enhance existing arts programming and celebrate local artists. New members are invited to learn more the third Tuesday of every month, when volunteers meet for dinner at 5 p.m. followed by an hour-long meeting at 6 p.m. Call Chair Karen Riser at 563-880-7140 to RSVP for the next dinner meeting.

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