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Riverfest wraps up with musical bang

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published May 26, 2014 at 11:24 a.m.


Crews prepare for one of the many musical acts which performed at 2014's Riverfest. The festival wrapped up Sunday night with The Fray, followed by a fireworks display over the Arkansas River.

The Fray closed out Riverfest on Sunday night, the last band to perform after three nights of high-profile musical acts.

Lead singer and band co-founder Issac Slade said it was an exciting beginning to their tour, which will span 33 states over six months. The tour is to promote their fourth album, Helios, which dropped in February.

“It's a funny thing, making music for a living for this long,” Slade said. “The first two albums we were just holding on for dear life, and by the third we had started figuring things out. By the fourth, if you love us or you hate us, we're doing it on purpose.”

The band has only grown closer since they began 12 years ago, he said. In his mind, that's against the norm, as most bands he sees start out very close and then by the end they're on “five different buses, they hate each other so much.” But, Slade said, that isn't the case for The Fray, which he founded with his friend Joe King, who also celebrated his birthday this weekend.

The Wallflowers, whose music inspired the band, also played Sunday. For Slade, that was an unreal moment.

“I was walking over and I saw Jakob, the singer, and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, be cool, Slade,'” he said. “So I'll probably go introduce myself to Mr. Dylan after this is done.”

The Fray doesn't get to spend very long in Little Rock, but the band said it's been a goal to play here ever since they started making music. The closest they ever came was the outskirts of Arkansas before this, so Slade said the band was excited to cross it off their bucket list. Slade said he and Ben Wysocki, the band's drummer, got to meet a fan who drove up from Houston to see them play. Slade said they bought her lunch and got to hear about their music from a fan's point of view, which he said is rare.

“We got to spend some time here today walking the along the river as well,” Slade said. “Saw some dumba**** on jet skis going way too fast. But it's got an amazing vibe here.”

The band was also excited to see some of the Clinton Presidential Library, as the band has worked with the Clinton Foundation before and are big fans of former President Bill Clinton. When Bryan McKnight canceled one year, the band even played at Chelsea Clinton's birthday party.

“Her and her 1,000 best friends,” Slade said.

From here, the Fray will make their way back through the United States, stopping in Colorado to play at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in their home state.

“I think that's my favorite place to play,” Slade said. “Difficult, because they're a bit harder to impress, being our hometown, but one of the most gracious and loudest crowds.”


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