Portsmouth’s annual River Days began as a celebration of the end of summer, says Portsmouth’s Timothy Angel. And as he has served as president and chairman of the River Days committee for a total of 21 years, it’s probably safe to say he knows what he’s talking about on the subject of the yearly festival.
On Tuesday, Angel and the River Days committee made what is usually the highly anticipated announcement of what musical acts will be in town for that annual party. Come the end of August and the end of summer, residents and visitors can look forward to two headliners, the festival’s national acts. The Georgia Satellites will cap off the first night’s festivities Aug. 30, while the second national act, Spin Doctors, headlines on Sept. 1.
Southern rockers The Georgia Satellites rose to fame primarily on their 1986 hit “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” Spin Doctors were hugely popular in the early 1990s with their album “Pocket Full of Kryptonite,” eventually going triple platinum and spawning the hits “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” and “Two Princes.”
Other acts will include local artists Steve Free and Josh Stewart. Moving in Stereo is a Cars tribute band. Ohio band Electrik Circus blasts out 1980s arena rock and will headline Aug. 31. Local act Doc Roc & the Remedies will close out River Days the evening of Sept. 2 just prior to a fireworks display. Doc Roc is a bit of a tradition, says Teresa Bratton, one of approximately 15 members of the River Days committee.
Bratton talks about getting a wide variety of acts and making sure they don’t clash. She quipped that you don’t want to put a folk act on the same bill as a heavy metal band.
For a complete listing of River Days acts, visit the River Days Facebook page.
Angel says picking acts for the festival is not an easy task. He admits some folks might question why River Days can’t attract some perhaps-bigger names. “These acts don’t come cheap,” Angel points out, adding some bigger bands people might like to see ask for fees in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. River Days is supported by donations and sponsorships, Angel notes. “You don’t have a gate charge,” he continues.
Additionally, Angel points out the festival is not just about the music acts, but includes the River Days pageant and one of the biggest daytime parades in Ohio.
“People don’t understand what it takes to put on this event,” Angel says. “It’s tough.”
Still, it’s a challenge he obviously enjoys, one he has stuck with for more than two decades.