Rockin’ the Rivers: Montana’s homegrown rockfest

Cheap Trick, Zakk Sabbath and Lou Gramm headline festival Aug. 8-10

New & Notable

Rockin’ the Rivers, known for bringing in big name rock and metal bands, is Montana’s original homegrown three-day rockfest. Starting Thursday, Aug. 8, and running through Saturday, Aug. 10, at The Bridge outside Three Forks, this year’s festival will be headlined by Cheap Trick on Thursday and Zakk Sabbath featuring the Viking Thunder god Zakk Wylde on Friday. Lou Gramm, the original voice of Foreigner and Asia, finishes up the party on Saturday night, with Asia lead singer John Payne.

Just announced: Wylde will be joined on stage by Rob “Blasko” Nickolson on bass, who plays with Ozzy and Rob Zombie, and drummer Joey Castillo, who plays with Danzig and Queens of the Stone Age.

Rockin' the Rivers campers show off campsite decor.
This crew took top honors for best campsite decor at Rockin’ the Rivers.

“What keeps the fans coming back is – obviously – the bands, and good times,” says the festival’s office manager, Jodie Pettit.

Hundreds of festival-goers haven’t missed a concert since Rockin’ the Rivers was established in 2001.

“There’s been a huge following from the conception of Rockin’ the Rivers that keeps coming back – it’s like a reunion to most,” says Pettit. “The campers returning year after year really get into this event. They have poker runs, a camp-decorating contest, and rows of campers even have named their so-called streets.”

This year’s roster of artists has collectively posted over 60 Top 40 hits, with 30 of them hitting Billboard’s Top 10. Rockin’ the Rivers fans are sure to recognize many 2019 performers, including Warrant and their hit song “Cherry Pie,” Saliva singing “Your Disease,” and rock band Dokken shredding their hits “Alone Again” and “In My Dreams.” Saturday’s line-up boasts The Guess Who (7:30 p.m.) and Hinder (5:15 p.m.), who combined have 26 Top 40 hits.

More bands featured on the main stage at Rockin’ the Rivers include Dead Fervor, local band of choice Pinky and the Floyd, biker band Nova Rex, Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band Whiskey River, plus Adelitas Way, Comatose Pose, and Hot For Teacher, a Van Halen cover band. An additional 14 bands play on the second stage.

Locally owned and grown, this year’s festival brings over 25 bands to two stages, with music for all ages (kids 12 and under are admitted free). Pettit estimates the age range at “mostly 35-60 but definitely younger and older goers as well.”

Gates open at 8 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, with camping available on the festival grounds.

For tickets and additional information visit or call 406-285-0099.