Rose On The River Festival Recap Day One

Bass Nerds Marc Najjar and Jody Miller head out to the inaugural festival for Bass Magazine

Rose On The River Festival Recap Day One

Bass Nerds Marc Najjar and Jody Miller head out to the inaugural festival for Bass Magazine

Day One (July 4th, 2024) – Coverage & Photographs by Marc Najjar & Jody Miller

Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket 

The inaugural Rose On The River festival kicked off yesterday at The Salt Shed in Chicago, a newly repurposed indoor/outdoor venue at the site of the historic Morton Salt factory. The latest venture from Chicago’s 16 On Center (who manages legendary Chicago venues such as Empty Bottle and Thalia Hall), the multi-purpose creative hub maintains the original architectural integrity while boasting a stunning 3600-person capacity indoor venue as well as the Fairgrounds, a 5000-person capacity venue nestled in between the building and the Chicago River. 

Opening the festival was the New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Hans Williams. As the crowd entered, they were greeted with the rich, soulful sounds of Hans and his band, who features Alabama native and New Orleans based bassist, Elliott Miller. Deep, silky-smooth bass blanketed the fairgrounds as a chorus of the band’s voices provided the perfect backdrop for Hans to belt out a lovely set on a beautiful Independence Day.

Elliott Miller of Hans Williams

Next was a switching of gears featuring the raucous, high-energy outfit of Andy Frasco & TheU.N. Andy’s on-stage antics were matched by the acrobatics of his band, as they all took turns climbing over each other, Andy’s keyboard, and even dragging each other across the stage. Bassist Floyd Kellogg kept the party moving with rock-solid playing and athleticism that would inspire Olympians. 

Floyd Kellogg of Andy Frasco & The U.N.

Taking the stage as direct support was Neal Francis, Chicago-based piano wizard who is keeping the retro R&B sounds alive and well. With the tasteful grooves of Mike Starr on bass, the band’s influences from Dr John and The Meters was met with a warm and delighted response from a captivated, dancing audience.

Mike Starr of Neal Francis

Closing out the evening were Louisville-based Alternative Rock titans My Morning Jacket. With a catalogue of songs easy to sing along to, the band has become known for stretching out and creating a sonic whirlwind of delight. Bassist Tom Blankenship kept this freight train going into the evening with a beautiful backdrop of fireworks across the Chicago Skyline. Joined by the wonderful Karina Rykman for a stretched out version of ‘Touch Me I’m Going To Scream’ into a fun-yet-muscular take on the classic ‘Louie, Louie’!

Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket