Riverfront Ribfest 2018

Thursday, August 9th

Uncle Kracker, BlueHouse, and Chad Lee


Friday, August 10th

Travis Tritt with special guests Tyler Reese Tritt, Faren Rachels and Sack of Lions


Saturday, August 11th

Spin Doctors, Bowling for Soup, and Tonic


Sunday, August 12th

El Patron 2nd Birthday Celebration featuring four local bands, a church service, and horse show event.

Council Bluffs, IA – August 6th, 2018 – BBQ, music, games and rides are the ingredients for a fun event for the whole family at Riverfront Ribfest from August 9 – 12 at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs. Thank you to our sponsors Bud Light, Iowa West Foundation, Sprint, Springhill Suites by Marriott, BKK Insurance, Coca-Cola, Family Fare, Heartland Properties Inc., Omaha World-Herald, Clubtails and Midstates Bank.

The Rib Teams

Back for its second year, the festival features five national award-winning BBQ teams, bringing their mouthwatering rib recipes to Iowa and Nebraska. These rib teams include:

  • Aussom Aussie BBQ – from Pennsylvania and Australia
  • Blazin’ Bronco – from Florida
  • Desperado’s BBQ & Rib Co. – from Ohio
  • Cowboys BBQ – from Texas
  • Johnson’s BBQ – from Virginia

In addition to the delicious ribs, all of your favorite carnival food-inspired sides will be available for purchase from Caroline’s Catering. Beverages will also be available to purchase.

The Live Music

It’s a little bit country, a little bit 90s rock and roll, and more! The live entertainment over the four days includes something for everyone:

  • Thursday, August 9: Uncle Kracker, Blue House and Chad Lee (live music starts at 5:30 p.m., Uncle Kracker takes the stage approx. 9:30 p.m.)
  • Friday, August 10: Travis Tritt with special guests Tyler Reese Tritt, Faren Rachels and Sack of Lions (live music starts at 5 p.m., Travis Tritt takes the stage approx. 9:45 p.m.)
  • Saturday, August 11: Full day of music featuring headliners Spin Doctors, Bowling for Soup and Tonic. Schedule of live music includes:
  • The 70’s Band (11 a.m.)
  • Damaged Jenny (1:30 p.m.)
  • Evandale (4 p.m.)
  • Tonic (5:30 p.m.)
  • Bowling for Soup (7:30 p.m.)
  • Spin Doctors (9:30 p.m.)
  • Sunday, August 12: El Patron 2nd Birthday Celebration including four local Hispanic bands, a church service and horse show event.

Additional information about the bands and photos are available upon request.

Additional Entertainment

Free carnival rides for children and adults are included with your paid admission.

Tickets and Admission

Advance tickets to Riverfront Ribfest are now on sale at RiverfrontRibfest.com.

  • Advance purchased 3-day Rib-Hopper passes (normally $30) are available for just $15 and will include Thursday, Friday and Saturday night concerts.
  • A limited number of VIP tickets are available to purchase in advance for $25 (ages 21 and older). VIP tickets include seating in private VIP area, one drink ticket plus access to private bar and premium restrooms. Chairs are provided or standing room is available in back with cocktail tables. Only 500 VIP tickets are available per night Thursday through Saturday. (Friday Travis Tritt VIP tickets are sold out).

Tickets will be also available at the door and can be paid via cash or credit card.

Daily general admission Thursday, Friday, Saturday (includes admission, carnival rides and that day/night’s concert): 

  • Adults: $5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $10 after 3 p.m.
  • Kids (5-16): $5
  • Kids (0-4): free

Daily general admission Sunday: $5 (free for kids 0-4)


Riverfront Ribfest hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday, rain or shine.

Location and Parking

Riverfront Ribfest is located on the Council Bluffs side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park. The park is now clear of any flood damage and ready for the events!

All parking is free. There are limited handicapped spots close to the event, please enter through the Harrah’s Stir Concert Cove parking lot. Parking is available on the east side of the park by the River’s Edge Pavilion and the new development. There is also parking available on the Nebraska side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which is a beautiful walk across the Missouri River to Riverfront Ribfest.

There will be parking under the 480 bridge, available through the access road just north of Harrah’s. Both the west lot of Harrah’s and the Stir Concert Cove lot will be open with free parking. There will be transportation available back and forth to the park. Please note, Harrah’s Stir Concert Cove has a concert on Friday and Saturday night. All efforts are being made with Stir Concert Cove to coordinate parking and concert end times to ease traffic concerns as best as possible. Please consider other parking options for concerts those nights.

Clear Bag Policy

All bags will be checked. Riverfront Ribfest follows a clear bag policy. The clear bag policy affects the type and size of bags permitted into the park – not the items (keys, makeup, combs, phones, wallets, and credit cards) that you would normally bring to an event. Guests can still carry these items in their pockets. Guest will also be allowed to openly carry a blanket or jackets into the events, although the will be subjected to search. For the fastest way to enter the event we strongly encourage guests to not bring any type of bags, but if you must, outlined below are the specific types of bags that will be allowed inside the event.

  • One bag that is clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and does not exceed 12” by 6” by 12”
  • A one-gallon clear plastic storage bag (Ziploc or similar)
  • In addition to one of the clear bags noted above, guests may also carry in a small clutch bag or purse approx. the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap.
  • An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection.


General Considerations

  • Outside food and beverage is not allowed (exception for documented medical needs). General admission tickets do not include food and beverages, VIP tickets include one beverage. Water, soda, beer, liquor and food vendor sales are available for additional cost.
  • There is no age restriction. We pride ourselves on being a family fun event. ID’s for alcoholic beverages and wrist bands will be checked and given at drink ticket counter.
  • For a full list of festival rules, including prohibited items and items allowed in the park, visit RiverfrontRibfest.com.

Volleyball Tournament

 The fun doesn’t stop at delicious ribs, great music and fun carnival rides. Riverfront Ribfest is proud to present the Serve-it-Up Grass Volleyball Tournament. Each day will have a fresh set of tournaments with multiple divisions. Registration for the volleyball tournament is $20 per person – register at RiverfrontRibfest.com. The volleyball registration fee includes free entrance to Riverfront Ribfest, including all concerts and carnival rides.

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