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Rollin’ “Down By The River” With A Full Day Of Music

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.

The first outdoor concert staged by Kirk Avenue Music Hall on the former Victory Stadium site (featuring John Hiatt) was a success in early May, so promoter Gary Jackson and company are trying it again with next week’s “Down By the River” event. The Sunday, July 11 event kicks off with music on the main stage at 1:15 p.m., continuing until 10:30 p.m. The doors open at noon.

The finale features The Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band. He’s a member of the Allman Brothers Band and promises to bring several of his mates with him; Tedeschi normally fronts her own group. Trucks has often been regarded as one of the best rock guitarists around.  His uncle Butch, a drummer, was an original member of the Allman Brothers Band — the epitome of Southern rock.

The duo and their band are contracted to play a two-hour finale, according to Jackson, a long-time promoter and concert booker who pulled some strings to get them to the Roanoke Valley. “Elsewhere,” says Jackson, “Trucks-Tedeschi are playing just 20 cities worldwide together on a mini-tour – all in much larger cities.” Jackson would like nothing better than Trucks or Tedeschi to tell him after the July 11th show that “the reception in Roanoke was the best. That’s the goal.”  Jackson battled “thousands” of other promoters to bring his headline act to town.

“Down by the River is a family-friendly event,” notes Jackson, with pop-up tents, blankets and chairs allowed in the general admission area behind the reserved seating section. Coolers of food can be brought in, but beverages must be purchased on site.

Food vendors, some from local restaurants like Martin’s and Issac’s, will also set up shop. A Kids Village (open until 6 p.m.) and a crafts area will help foster that festival “feel.”  Shade and mist tents will help keep concertgoers cool. None of the seats are covered.

The venerable New Riders of the Purple Sage, BeBop Hoedown and the Cyrus Pace Roanoke All Stars are the early offerings at Down By the River. Jackson suggests parents may want to drop their kids off in late afternoon and return for an evening program that includes Mountain Heart, Southern Culture on the Skids and the Trucks-Tedeschi headliners. Several members of Southern Culture on the Skids originally hailed from Roanoke.

“I’m really trying to get families to come,” says Jackson. To help make that happen, parents can call Jefferson Center at 345-2550 and use the passwords KIVA, Bubblecake or YMCA, and get two general admission tickets for the price of one. Kids 12 and under are free in the general admission area. Five acts geared towards children in the Kids Village will take place during main stage equipment changes between bands.

Jackson says more tickets have been purchased in advance than were sold for John Hiatt, but “there’s still plenty of room for other people,” on a site he says can hold 5000. Readmission to the site will be allowed for those that may want to leave and come back. “It’s a long day of music – 11 hours,” notes Jackson, who books the acts at Kirk Avenue Music Hall. Carilion is supporting the event by allowing Down by the River ticket holders to use its new parking garage. There will also be a drop off zone near the main gate on Reserve Avenue.

“It’s really going to be a great show – a big, bad, having-fun picnic,” promises Jackson.

Reserved seats are $53.50 until July 1; 12 and under $27. (See for more ticket information)

By Gene Marrano
[email protected]

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