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River Rats Festival to feature local acts, physical performers

Dozens of musicians and performers are set to play at the Magnificent River Rats Festival in Athabasca June 30 and July 1. The two-day music festival along the Athabasca River will feature both local acts and performers from across the country.
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Magnificent River Rats Festival president Ida Edwards and the festival River Rat mascot are preparing for the upcoming festival being held June 30 and July 1.

Dozens of musicians and performers are set to play at the Magnificent River Rats Festival in Athabasca June 30 and July 1.

The two-day music festival along the Athabasca River will feature both local acts and performers from across the country. Jesse Roper and One Bad Son will headline June 30 while Boogie Patrol, Electric Audrey 2 and Cindy Paul will headline July 1.

Magnificent River Rats Festival society president Ida Edwards said there will be a variety of different acts for families to enjoy.

"It's a festival of discovery, of original artists. The music is going to be varied," Edwards said in an interview. "The festival is for family. Come out, bring your lawn chairs, sit down, relax."

The festival will feature artists who won local competitions to get their way onto the festival stage. Ayden Burger who won the Edwin Parr Composite School Battle of the Bands will play July 1 and Edmonton-based performer Riell, who won a musical showcase at Neighour's Pub, will also play July 1.

The festival features other local acts such as Gear Sebastian and Ken Flaherty, according to the festival website. Edwards said giving an opportunity to local artists is important.

"We want to develop our local talent and we have to support them by having events where they can come out and share what they are doing," she said.

The event will also include a circus arts drop-in-area for kids and a performance from the Flyn'bob Circus Show June 30. A first for the festival, Edwards said adding the circus acts is following with a trend of music festivals including acts from the physical arts.

"This is a new trend with festivals to have the active performing arts branch off into the physical arts, which is circus, the acrobatics," Edwards said. "The physical performing arts is coming out more and more strongly."

Edwards said she hopes to see modest growth for the event but recognized other events that weekend, namely the Grassland Homecoming, could have an impact.

"I'd like to see five per cent, I would be thrilled with that," Edwards said.

People should come to support a local community festival, she continued, which has its advantages.

"It's a local community event," she said. "It's an opportunity to meet with friends and neighbours and not to have to travel a long distance and fork out mega bucks to go to a fun time."

Tickets are available at the riverratsfestival.com, with $40 for a two-day pass, $25 for a daily general admission and $20 admission for youth and seniors. Kids 12 and under are free with an attending paid adult.