Rivfest returned for it’s 3rd year after the tragic death of River Reeves and his Viola Beach bandmates Kristian Leonard, Jack Daikin and Tomas Lower along with their manager Craig Tarry. This year Rivfest was spread over 2 days and they teamed up with Scruff Of The Neck to bring a new Friday night showcase at Parr Hall to provide a platform for some of the Northwest’s best Indie acts.

The main festival was spread across Warrington with acts on in: Parr Hall, Friars Court, The Lounge, The Old Town House, The Volstead and The Auction Rooms; with different activities happening outdoors and across the town.

We started our day at The Volstead to catch Olly Thornton & The Shirts play some incredible music to a tiny bar with the sunlight streaming through the windows to provide the backdrop to their infectious music and Olly Thornton’s catchy vocals.

After a soothing start to the day we caught Saytr Play having their pre-gig Tequila’s before playing a heart-felt set to a rather empty room – a familiar feel to the afternoon. Despite the small turn out for one of Manchester’s most well known bands they still put on a stella performance and delivered it with the same passion and desire as if it was in a small venue in Manchester (which they have just announced a show at).

The K’s were next on the main stage at Parr Hall and the wall of noise coming from the stage was something i’ve not heard for a while. Just incredible, raw, indie/rock music with clear influences from The Jam and The Who. The K’s hold themselves well and have all the infrastructure to become something special.

Up 3 flights of stair and we found our base for the next few hours – The Auction Rooms. First up in the hotbox was The Zangwills who delivered a great set for a young band with a lot of talent just waiting to be shown to everyone. Following this was by far the best performance of the day – Dear Caroline. They tore up the tiny stage and were so enveloped in their own music that you felt a part of the band yourself. The room was bustling with bands who had been performing that day (Saytr Play & Dantevilles to name 2) who helped push the energy from Dear Caroline whilst acting as their roadie’s putting everything on the stage back in it’s place after they had thrown themselves around putting their heart into every song.

Fickle Friends closed the two day festival in the Parr Hall and the performance almost perfectly summed up the festival. With technical difficulties on stage and a half empty room Fickle Friends powered through and gave their upmost efforts to put on a special performance for a great cause and something which has impacted so many current and future bands.

Rivfest is a great platform for some of the best up-and-coming bands to display their talents and enjoy the festival together, just as Viola Beach were doing before the tragic events in 2016.

Written by: Stuart Daley
Photograph by: Jon Lingwood