Your Guide to Loessfest 2017

Break out the disco shoes and get ready to shake that booty – Loessfest is back to kick off the summer this Memorial Day weekend. Mark your calendars for an unforgettable celebration of all things Council Bluffs at the foot of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge – beginning with a free (yep, free!) concert from KC and the Sunshine Band. Unlike previous iterations of the festival, the organizers are condensing what's normally a full week's worth of events into a weekend flurry of family-friendly activities, movies and concerts you won't want to miss. Never been to Loessfest? No worries, we've got you covered. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this much-loved event.

The lineup

Bring grandma, invite the neighbors, alert the press – the 2017 lineup promises to draw one of the largest crowds in Loessfest history.

Friday, May 26

  • 7 p.m. KC and the Sunshine Band with special guest Bluffett, a Jimmy Buffett Tribute Band

Saturday, May 27

  • 8 a.m. Run Loess Half Marathon + 5K
  • 5:30 p.m. Country Rocks the River with Season 15 American Idol champion Trent Harmon, Omaha's award-winning duo Belles & Whistles and Minneapolis-based Maiden Dixie

Sunday, May 28

  • 11 a.m. Bike the Bluffs
  • 8 p.m. Omaha Symphony Concert + Fireworks for Freedom
  • 9 p.m. Movie in the Park – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Monday, May 29

  • 9 p.m. Movie in the Park – Rocky Horror Picture Show

Admission

If the incredible lineup hasn't won you over already, allow us to seal the deal: Loessfest is FREE. With the exception of the Run Loess Half Marathon and 5K, which requires a runner registration fee, Loessfest events won't cost you a dime. Translation: you have no excuse not to clear your schedule to check out this annual festival.

Park opening times

Tom Hanafan River's Edge Park will open at 4 p.m. every day throughout Memorial Day weekend. Pro tip: show up early to claim a prime spot on the Great Lawn.  

Parking

To avoid traffic delays, grab your squad and consider carpooling to Loessfest – while jamming to your best summer playlist, of course. Parking is available on both sides of the river for all Loessfest events, including the parking lot just north of Harrah’s Casino and Harrah’s parking garage. Due to construction, there will be limited parking on the east side of the levee in the old Playland Park area, just east of the Great Lawn. On the off-chance your GPS malfunctions, have no fear! Parking maps and detailed directions to Loessfest are available on loessfest.com.

Food, drinks and coolers

A festival on the riverfront wouldn't be complete without food, of course. A large outdoor food court will offer a wide variety of concessions to keep you fueled throughout Memorial Day weekend. Outside food and soft drinks are more than welcome in the park, but remember to leave the alcohol at home. Fair warning: coolers and large containers will be searched at the park’s entrance, and if alcohol is found, you will be required to return it to your vehicle or it will be confiscated. Relax! This isn't the Prohibition. Beer and wine will be available for sale once you're in the park.

Park rules

Feel free to mark your territory on the Great Lawn with picnic blankets and lawn chairs, but keep in mind that no tents, awnings or lawn chairs with shade awnings are allowed. Likewise, no signs, banners or anything that sticks up in the air will be permitted. Everyone wants the best, unrestricted view of the stage, after all. Hyped up for summer yet? Follow the Loessfest conversation on Facebook and Twitter for lineup details, up-to-date status of events and more.
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