Rockers, Riders, and Ribs: Thousands expected to attend one of Longview's largest festivals

Rockers, Riders and Ribs Saturday, October 22, 2016, in downtown Longview. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

One of Longview’s largest festivals returns Oct. 20-21 in an expanded format that will feature more live music, more biker events, more barbecue and more family friendly fun.

Rockers, Riders and Ribs, which attracted more than 10,000 attendees to downtown Longview last year, will feature 14 bands performing over two days, as well as dozens of vendors, bikers games, a rib cookoff and children’s activities.

“If you want to have a day that’s affordable and fun, and have a concert experience, this is the place to come. We have 14 bands performing, and they’re quality musicians,” said Larry Jobe, event coordinator for the festival and advertising director of Longview News-Journal. “It’s a great place to enjoy sights and sounds with your neighbors and friends.”

The event begins at 4 p.m. Oct. 20 with the Roughneck Harley-Davidson/Lone Star Ice House/Electric Cowboy Kickoff Party. The free evening will feature seven musicians – Cole Allen, Ally Venable Band, Wes Jeans, The Mansion Family, White Trash Wannabees, 13 Shots and Drug Store Gypsies – performing at Lone Star Ice House/Electric Cowboy in Longview. From 4 to 11:30 p.m. there will be live music, food vendors and a beer garden at the location.

On Oct. 21, the day begins with a ride for motorcyclists. Kickstands will go up at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Lone Star Ice House/Electric Cowboy and bikers will ride to the iconic Auntie Skinner’s Riverboat Club in Jefferson, where they will enjoy brunch and activities. More than 800 bikes have already registered this year, with more expected, Jobe said.

Gates downtown will open at noon Oct. 21 and the daylong festival will last until midnight. Bikers will parade into downtown Longview for a day of music, food and entertainment. Festivities include a car and truck show sponsored by ABC Auto Parts; the Scooter Shed Rib Run which features $1,000 in prizes; Torch’s Rock ’n’ Roll Inferno featuring Heather Spitfire performing fire tricks; and the Rider2Rider R3 Stunt Bike Team performing stunt bike tricks.

More than 200 booth spaces have been sold this year, up from the 114 booth spaces that were sold last year, Jobe said. That means more vendors for festival-goers to enjoy. Harley-Davidson is bringing its demo truck down to Longview from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, allowing East Texans to take demo rides on their bikes.

Meanwhile, the Lucky 7 Custom Cycles Bike Show and Soundoff will be a centerpiece of this year’s Rockers, Riders and Ribs. The contest will dole out more than $5,000 in cash and prizes.

“It’s a sanctioned event featuring some of the best custom bikes in Texas and some of the biggest motorcycle stereos that you’d ever want to hear,” Jobe said.

The Kids Zone will feature a slew of children’s activities, including multiple bounce houses.

Meanwhile, in terms of entertainment, Rockers, Riders and Ribs will feature some high profile acts. The Oct. 21 lineup includes local band White Trash Wannabees, Hootz, Brandon Giles, Louisiana Swamp Donky, Lance Lopez, Kentucky Head Hunters, Edgar Winter and Foghat. Rock band Foghat will headline the event. With hits from the 1970s, 80s, 90s and present day, the band is perhaps best known for its song, “Slow Ride.”

General admission on Oct. 21 is $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the festival. A portion of the proceeds from the festival benefit nonprofit organizations, including Bikers Against Child Abuse, Pink Ride, Junior League of Longview, 100 Acres of Heritage, Go Texan Gregg County and the Robert Arellano Foundation.

The festival not only provides fun and contributions to nonprofit groups, it also offers a boost to the local economy. Jobe said last year’s 10,000-plus attendees came from 35 different states with at least half of the festival-goers came from outside the immediate East Texas area. The festival accounted for about a $1.8 million impact to the local economy, he said, including people spending money at local hotels, restaurants, stores and more.

At Rockers, Riders and Ribs, not only does admission give attendees access to live music and festivities, it also is their chance to win a 2017 Dyna Street Bob that has been custom dipped. Roughneck Harley-Davidson of Longview is providing the bike and Diamond C. Trailers of Mount Pleasant donated a custom trailer for it. It also features a seat customized by G-Force Seats, lights from Barron Lighting, and custom grips and foot pegs provided by Choo Choo’s Customs of Gilmer. It’s valued at about $30,000 and will be given away to one lucky attendee at Rockers, Riders and Ribs. A person’s admission ticket is his or her chance to win; there is no extra fee.

For more information about the 2017 Rockers, Riders and Ribs, visit www.rockersridersribs.com.

If you go

  • When: Oct. 20-21
  • Where: Lone Star Ice House/Electric Cowboy on Oct. 20; downtown Longview on Oct. 21
  • Price: Free on Oct. 20; $15 in advance or $20 at the gate Oct. 21