Photo Credit: Moon Tunes (La Crosse, WI)

Unique Performances on the Great River Road

Looking for a little more than just good music? These unique performances provide an out of the ordinary experience along the Great River Road!


Great River Shakespeare Festival (Winona, MN)

As the company remarks “small town, big drama”. Join other locals to experience Shakespeare in high-quality production with the small-town feel.  

Art in the Park (Bemidji, MN)

This annual festival is a mix of entertainment and local art! All sorts of vendors showcase their craft and passion at Bemidji’s summer get together.


Reggae Fest (Trempealeau, WI)

Midwest and Caribbean come together in the annual Reggae Fest. Visitors can dance and vibe with others in a colorful gathering at the Trempealeau Hotel.

Moon Tunes (La Crosse, WI)

Grab the coolers and lawn chairs! The festival gathers different musical acts for free in the summer. The season winds up with an annual Woodstock Tribute, so pack the tie dye.


GermanFest (Guttenberg, IA)

Guttenberg has a strong German heritage — and it’s celebrated too! German dancing, live music, Weiner dog racing and more can be expected.

Irish Hooley (Dubuque, IA)

Celebrate Irish and Celtic culture in Dubuque. Great River Road travelers can enjoy pipe performances and traditional Irish dance.


The Rust Belt (East Moline, IL)

Listen to music in a rustic venue of an old automobile manufacturing plant. The venue has hosted notable names such as Bon Iver, The Cerny Brothers, William Elliott Whitmore, and more. 

Nauvoo Grape Festival (Nauvoo, IL)

It’s time to celebrate the wine industry! Live music, along with plenty of wine and family fun opportunities, makes a great gathering during summer’s peak heat season. 


The Muny (St. Louis, MO)

Great River Road travelers can join others in “America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre”. Keep an eye out for their renditions of popular musicals!

Music Under The Stars (Hannibal, MO)

This annual music festival takes place right outside Mark Twain’s boyhood home. Visitors get the chance to listen to tunes and experience Historic Hill street. 


Paducah Symphony Orchestra (Paducah, KY)

Classical music enthusiasts will enjoy western Kentucky’s world-class performance center! If visiting during the winter months, the orchestra showcases a traditional Christmas concert.  

Banana Festival (Fulton, KY)

Celebrate Fulton’s rich history in banana commerce by listening to free live music! There is a little something for everyone such as a talent performance show and street dancing.


Hattiloo Theatre (Memphis, TN)

The only Black repertory theatre along the Great River Road, they offer incredibly unique performances and powerful dramas.

World’s Oldest BBQ Festival (Covington, TN)

It’s time to take out the adult food bib! While visitors eat great bbq, they can watch live entertainment, participate in the Cornhole Tournament, and watch aircraft flyovers.


Crowley’s Ridge Saddle Charity Rodeo (Forrest City, AR)

Great River Road travelers can watch professional rodeo cowboys ride some bulls! Children who are 10 or under are free with an adult.

Flatland Hillbilly Hoedown (West Memphis, AR)

The hoedown is inspired by the television show, “Hee Haw”. Visitors can expect laughter, music, and a good time in Arkansas’ West Memphis!


Photograph by Ride Hamilton

Mississippi Delta Tennessee Williams Festival

(Clarksdale, MS)

As written in the title, the gathering celebrates the music behind Tennesse Willaims. The festival was also awarded for its excellence and community collaboration by The Mississippi Humanities Council.

Elvis Festival (Tupelo, MS)

As the home city of Elvis, Tupelo celebrates the King of Rock and Roll every year. Preliminary rounds of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest also take place at the festival.


Music Box Village (New Orleans, LA)

Watch and listen to performances — on an interactive art site! Great River Road travelers will experience a whimsical village with musical houses and eclectic performances. 

Alligator Festival (Luling, LA)

Combine food, music, and alligators for a fun Louisiana festival! Where else can you listen to live music while eating delicious alligator dishes?