LITTLE ROCK — After 40 years, the annual Riverfest music festival in Central Arkansas is shutting down.
DeAnna Korte, the festival’s director, said Tuesday that costs and competition prompted the decision by the nonprofit Riverfest Board of Directors.
“We can no longer deliver the experience that Riverfest fans have come to expect,” Korte said in a statement. “Rising costs of performers’ fees, coupled with a greater number of competing festivals around the country, are the underlying factors leading to this decision.”
The festival’s budget is $2.6 million, which is “a shoestring budget” in the world of music festivals, she said.
Korte also said that because the festival was outdoors, the weather affected its ability to be financially successful.
“The things that we could control, we controlled to the best of our ability,” she said.
After the festival lost money in 2015, a separate, family-focused event called Springfest was created last year in the hope of attracting families who could not afford the rising ticket prices driven by performers’ fees. Riverfest remained music-focused and was moved away from Memorial Day weekend last year in the hope of increasing attendance.
The largest annual event in Arkansas, Riverfest at its height drew 250,000 audience members and had an annual estimated impact of $33 million on Central Arkansas, according to the board of directors.
“With our bills paid, and our heads held high, we are closing the doors,” Cheddy Wiggington, the board’s chairman, said in a statement.