The Trinity River Vision Authority's Rockin' the River series got off to a bumpy start this year, with an opening-week rainout. Since then, though, the series -- which concludes Thursday (Aug. 9) with a performance by Johnny Cooper -- has been successful in its second summer.
In 2011, the inaugural Rockin' the River series featured concerts every other week, going into late August. This year, the series went to a weekly schedule, taking a week off in honor of the Independence Day holiday. There were other changes this year as well, most notably that this year, there was a $5 for inner-tube rentals -- but people who wanted to float on the river could do it for free if they brought their own tubes.
Aug. 9 might seem a little early to be ending a summer concert series, especially one in which people can watch shows while floating on the river. But Matt Oliver, public information officer for the TRVA, says the closing date comes from a lesson the TRVA learned last year.
"Last year, we went until Aug. 25," Oliver said. "We didn't even think about it till it happened, but it was a really small event last year, and we realized that we were fighing with the going-back-to-school crowd. We kept thinking it was the heat, but it was because of that."
This summer has seemed tame compared with last year's record-breaking heat, but there have still been plenty of days over 100 degrees, especially during the past couple of weeks. But Oliver says the turnout has been consistent throughout the summer.
"We haven't really seen a dropoff," he says. "We lucked out two weeks ago, because it was the kind of crazy overcast day where it kept looking like it was going to rain but never really did. But last Thursday was every bit of 108, and it started out slow but ended up coming on strong, and once Ryan Turner went on at 6:30, it was a full crowd."
Oliver says that exact attendance is hard to assess, but he believes that between 1,100 and 1,200 people have been truning out every week. He believes that the expanded schedule helped, and that having weekly events helped keep interest up this year.
"People are approaching us for events that don't necessarily have anything to do with TRVA, but because they want to use Panther Island Pavilion to do their own thing," Oliver said. "We're always looking for that, and we're always entertaining ideas."
Gates open at 4 p.m. for Thursday's concert. Admission is free; tube rental is $5 and beer is $2.50. Although you can bring your own tube, you can't bring in outside drinks. For a map and a list of do's and don't, go here.