Free Hall of Fame Rockin’ River Fest concert next Friday night on downtown riverbank

YouTube Poster

They’ve played the White House, Wheel of Fortune, recorded with Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, and shared a stage with Dan Akroyd and the Blues Brothers band, James Brown, Tina Turner, John Fogerty, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Buffett, B.B. King, the Neville Brothers and Britney Spears.

They’ll be headlining the Rockin’ River Fest next Friday night, June 24, on the Rue Beauport stage along Cane River Lake in downtown Natchitoches, during the 2022 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.

Those credentials belong to Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. and the Zydeco Twisters. Dopsie ignited the 2019 Rockin’ River Fest even without his bandmates, but the entire ensemble is coming to play Louisiana’s oldest city this time.

Opening the show: one of the hottest acts in south Louisiana, MJ Dardar, known for combining rhythm and blues, country and soul. Some of Dardar’s musical influences include Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett and Don Henley. He will take the stage at 6 and play a two-hour set, then, give way to Rockin’ Dopsie and the Zydeco Twisters, with music lasting until 10:30, no admission required.

Rockin’ River Fest, a focal point in the 2022 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration June 23-25, is presented by Rapides Regional Medical Center.

Along with great music, the family atmosphere offers free games for kids on the riverbank under the Church Street Bridge, thanks to Louisiana Propane Dealers. Food trucks and refreshments will be on hand.

And what’s a big event in downtown Natchitoches without a spectacular, holiday-season level fireworks show?

This one at 9:15 is set to sports-themed music, just after dark, following introduction of the Class of 2022 LSHOF inductees, headlined by six-time NFL Pro Bowlers Jahri Evans (Saints) and Kyle Williams (Bills; also part of LSU’s 2003 national championship team), and Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Steve Duhon. Among the 12 inductees, six are LSU legends.

There’s an upscale party up on Front Street at Mama’s Oyster House and Blues Room, and out front in a VIP zone on the bricks. The Hancock-Whitney Taste of Tailgating shindig runs from 7-10, with guests enjoying tailgating-inspired food stations, specialty cocktails, free beer and wine, a silent auction, and music by DJ Geaux.

Tickets are $100 per person ($50 for under 21 partygoers) and must be purchased in advance through the website or by calling Gracen McDonald, the LSHOF Foundation executive assistant, at 318-554-9020.

The Taste of Tailgating party has filled to capacity in the four previous Rockin’ River Fests. The crowd in and around the amphitheater, however, has no capacity limit, and the entertainment is cost-free.

“Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. is the Mick Jagger of the marsh,” said The Travel Channel.

“You’re everything Vanna said, and then some,” exclaimed Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak when the band taped a week’s worth of the game show.

The Friday night spectacular sets the tone for next Saturday’s festivities, which begin with a free New Orleans Saints & Pelicans Junior Training Camp and include the Roundtable Luncheon and the Taste of Louisiana Reception at the LSHOF Museum. Capping the schedule: the Induction Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25.

Reservations are necessary for the free Junior Training Camp by visiting or calling McDonald at 318-554-9020. Those are also pathways for tickets to the luncheon and induction reception and ceremony.