The Trinity River Vision Authority was having a board meeting on June 7, the first scheduled day of this year's Rockin' the River tubing-and-summer music series at Panther Island Pavilion, when a storm blew through. The board quickly made a decision to cancel the event, and even though things had cleared up around the show's scheduled 4 p.m. start, a TRVA official says that the cancellation wasn't an overreaction.
"It was about 2 o'clock, and we could really see that it was raining like crazy," says Matt Oliver, the TRVA's public information officer. "We made the call because there are so many sponsors and people that have to know. And we went down there, and it was just a mud pit, where they were trying to bring these trailers and 18-wheelers in."
Because this is an event that involves people actually being in the water, watching live music while floating on inner tubes, the water level was also a concern, too. And even though things cleared up well before nightfall, weather forecasts predicted storms into the night.
When things like this happen in a concert series, people do tend to lose track and maybe forgot the next show -- or several shows -- that come along. Which has something to do with why Oliver is making an extra push to get the word out about the series. Not just that it's still on -- popular local act Josh Weathers and the True Endeavous is scheduled to play this Thursday's show -- but that it's grown from its 2011 rookie year (coincidentally, Weathers opened the series last year).
"We have more events this year, and we kind of changed the stuff that we did for people on the shore," Oliver says. "If you don't want to float int he water, if you just want to bring a towel and sit on the banks, there's different stuff you can do. But after last week, we want to make sure people know things, and this is like almost having an extra week to pump out as much as you can."
My DFW.com colleague Preston Jones wrote about this year's series about a month in advance of its scheduled start, but here's the key paragraph:
"A few differences from last year's Rockin' the River series: There will be tubing every Thursday, from June 7 through Aug. 9, with the exception of July 5. Last year, the series was every other Thursday. Also new, tube rentals will be $5 but you're able to BYOT. Admission is free, and this year you'll be able to purchase beer on site, for $2.50 a can. Six-packs will also be available." Fred's Texas Cafe will have its food truck on site.
"We're trying to keep the event free, but we're looking at bands that have a really big following," Oliver says. "Whether it's people coming from [Fort Worth] or coming from Arlington or coming from Dallas, they're coming specifcally because they really want to see the band playing that night."
Last year, the headliners were preceded by a music mix put together by sponsoring radio station 95.9 FM The Ranch, but this year, each band will have an opening act. The gates open at 4 p.m., and the headliners go on at 6:30 p.m.;
If that sounds a little early, there's a reason for it.
"We're always leaning on the side of safety, to the point where when the sun starts going down, the event is over, so we have plenty of time to get people out of the water before it gets dark," Oliver says. But the music won't stop -- the Ranch will present its acoustic "Pickin' Parties" on a separate stage. "People may be getting out of the water, but we're not saying 'time to go' and shutting all the lights down."
For more on the series, and for a list of things you're encouraged to bring (and encouraged not to bring, go here. For information on Panther Island Pavilion, including other upcoming events, go here.