Photo Credit: Flyway Film Festival (Pepin, WI)

Art and Film Festivals on the Great River Road

Artists in every medium create and showcase their talent among these arts and film festivals. Sit in an independent film or walk through an art market to spark your creative side and support local cultural efforts.

*On Your Way: Attractions may be sparse on the River so hit these spots on your way.


Millstream Arts Festival (St. Joseph, MN)

Millstream Arts Festival (St. Joseph, MN)

Take a day trip to downtown St.Joseph! The non-profit organization hosts annual festivities supporting local artists and their crafts. A featured artist is displayed each year, along with a lineup of performances for you and your family to enjoy. 

Frozen River Film Festival (Winona, MN)

Winters don’t have to be cold and dreary. Frozen River Film Festival engages film buffs with a lineup of documentary feature films surrounding local and national topics. If interested in the creative process behind the camera, viewers can attend face-to-face Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.


Flyway Film Festival (Pepin, WI)

Flyway Film Festival (Pepin, WI)

The film festival is named after the longest bird migration corridor in the Western Hemisphere – Mississippi River Flyway. Independent filmmakers in the Lake Pepin region of Wisconsin and Minnesota are showcased to foster community ties and enrich cultural experiences!

Stockholm Art Fair (Stockholm, WI)

The small Mississippi River town of Stockholm is packed during the summer! Art mediums like paintings, jewelry, clay, glass, sculpture, fiber, wood, leather, photography and more are displayed for your viewing and purchasing pleasure.


Julien Dubuque International Film Festival (Dubuque, IA)

Photo Credit: Digital Dubuque

Julien Dubuque International Film Festival (Dubuque, IA)

According to Movie Maker Magazine, Dubuque hosts the “coolest film festival in the world.” The four-day event packs education and awareness in a lineup of films surrounding cultural topics and issues. Your next Iowa trip just got more interesting! 

Alternating Currents Festival (Davenport, IA)

A jack-of-all-trades festival – music, comedy, film, and art! Nearly two dozen venues and over 100 performances fill a Davenport summer weekend. The festival holds the true concept of “a little something for everyone”.


Big Muddy Film Festival (Carbondale, IL)

Big Muddy Film Festival (Carbondale, IL)

Carbondale hosts one of the country’s oldest student-organized film festivals. Cash rewards are offered to the best performances, so everyone is placing their best foot forward! Audience members also have a say with the Audience Choice Award for the most voted film. 

Mississippi Earthtones Festival (Alton, IL)

Conservation and preservation are the main drivers behind this anticipated festival. Local environmental organizations get a chance to showcase their work and knowledge with the community! Want to know how to live a more sustainable life? This festival is the perfect answer to that question.


Big River Steampunk Festival (Hannibal, MO)

Big River Steampunk Festival (Hannibal, MO)

Grab your Steam Persona and make your way to Hannibal! The historic mainstreet sets a perfect Victorian setting for those who want to “reimagine history” with a subgenre of science fiction.

St. Louis International Film Festival (St.Louis, MO)

Around 300 films in 10 days! The mission behind it all? It’s cross-cultural diversity and understanding from regional and international film productions. In 2019, SLIFF was named “top 10 amazing film festivals worth traveling for” by USA Today.


Lower Town Arts & Music Festival (Paducah, KY)

Lower Town Arts & Music Festival (Paducah, KY)

Western Kentucky’s art scene is thriving in Paducah! The annual two-day celebration recognizes Paducah’s culinary, musical, and artistic community and its economic impact on the region.

On Your Way: Louisville International Film Festival (Louisville, KY)

This Louisville festival aims to screen artists that you don’t see in the theaters but need to watch! Proceeds from the festival will also help educate and train future filmmakers through the Louisville Film Arts Institute.


Indie Memphis Film Festival (Memphis, TN)

Indie Memphis Film Festival (Memphis, TN)

Home of the blues and rock n’ roll is also the home of many talented independent filmmakers. Make a stop at Overton Square, a prime cultural and creative region in Memphis, and learn more about how to support a community of film.

River Arts Fest (Memphis, TN)

The festival resonates with a wide audience with diverse artists! Talent from the mid-south and all 50 states represent cultural, gallery-quality work for over 10 years. While perusing the Memphis art scene, enjoy the performances and culinary options.


Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival (Little Rock, AR)

On Your Way: Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival (Little Rock, AR)

Looking for a niche film festival? Little Rock’s Kaleidoscope LGBT Film Festival presents cultural events and films to audiences interested in learning more about the spectrum and supporting the LGBT community.

Oasis Arts Festival (Jonesboro, AR)

Jonesboro’s art festival features local artists to showcase their visual art, poems, music, and culinary talent near the river road. Northeastern Arkansas has a creative culture that shouldn’t be overlooked!


Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival (Ridgeland, MS)

Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival (Ridgeland, MS)

Good news for wine drinkers! Ridgeland combines fine art with wine in a simultaneous celebration of the Ridgeland Fine Arts Festival and the Santé South Wine Festival. Past festivals have hosted craft corners for the kids, student galleries, merchant specials, and food and wine tastings!

Oxford Film Festival (Oxford, MS)

Some of the festival’s film categories include documentary and features or shorts, music videos, Mississippi narratives and more! The purpose behind the film categories and selections is to promote dialogue, engage communities, and inspire filmmakers.


Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival (Baton Rouge, LA)

Baton Rouge Irish Film Festival (Baton Rouge, LA)

Discover Louisiana’s Irish filmmaking talent during the last weekend of July! For over 11 years, Irish men and women creatively share their cultural interests and stories with the southern community. 

Three Rivers Art Festival (Covington, LA)

St. Tammany parish is an “arts-oriented community and mecca for artists and art lovers”. The Three Rivers Art Festival supports the description by exhibiting 200 artists and generating 60,000 visitors each year. Talk about support for the arts!