Music rocks River Days


River Days wouldn’t be itself without a lineup of music, and the Friends of Portsmouth brought entertainment to thousands over the weekend with a series of acts that had people singing along in true River Days fashion.

Opening Friday night was Bad Habits “The EyeDocs of Rock,” followed by the Stars of the Million Dollar Quartet and Kenny Aronoff, before a group ensemble of all performers; Saturday continued with Direct Energy and Neal McCoy; Sunday wrapped things up with McGuffey Lane and Chris Higbee just before the big fireworks display.

“Bad Habits had the great privilege of playing with Jacob Tolliver and the Stars of the Million Dollar Quartet, as well as world famous drummer Kenny Aronoff, for a second time in Portsmouth,” Bad Habits member and Friends of Portsmouth volunteer, Dr. Michael Raies of Portsmouth Vision Center, said. “The energy just grew as the night went on and everyone, including the crowd, just started feeling so much better. We guys on stage just kept having more fun. It was an amazing night.”

Familiar tunes were played as people wandered the riverfront, eating festival food and drinks. Boats gathered on the water as the music played. The levee was filled with thousands over the three-day event, with the second and third nights not dropping the ball.

“Not only did we have a great night playing opening, but the rest of the guys truly played their hearts out for great shows, with the crowd getting more receptive to each song,” Dr. Raies said. “It was truly great to have our show, as well as Direct Energy, Neal McCoy, McGuffey Lane and Chris Higbee all take our stage this River Days.”

Raies was particularly taken by McCoy, “He is an amazing performer. Now I see why he was voted entertainer of the year back in 1998. I don’t care if that was over 20 years ago, he hasn’t lost a thing or missed a beat. He is an incredible performer.”

Raies echoed that music is a fundamental aspect to the celebration of River Days and believes it is instrumental to the success.

“Music is a cornerstone of any event. It brings a joy and spirit that you just can’t do without,” Dr. Raies said. “Music is so important in our lives and it is woven into the fabric of River Days since its inception; music and River Days just go together.”

Raies said that he believes the performances met the challenge of the meeting standards people expect and that the overall weekend was well received, full of energy and spirit, and entertained thousands.

“It was a fun-filled weekend, despite weather challenges raining on our parade; it felt like River Days was coming back,” Dr. Raies continued. “You know, the pandemic really took a lot from us and getting back to pre-Covid energy felt like a real possibility this weekend—we were recapturing the energy of River Days of old.”

The music and River Days are all managed by the Friends of Portsmouth, 501©3 non-profit serving the downtown of Portsmouth. For more information, visit

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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