“People who help do it because they like it and out of the goodness of their hearts. These people really want to be here. Music and production aside, that’s what makes RiversEdge really special. The whole community rallies around it and people want to get involved. It’s just a special place,” said Helms, who volunteers for the weekly concert series by booking the bands, managing the website and promoting the shows.
In addition to Helms, other key RiversEdge volunteers include Steve Maxwell, Clint Cole, Peggy Bange and Tami Rose.
Cole helped produce the concerts in the early years. Now he uses his talents to create visual art for the promotion of the concert. It also takes photos and videos.
Maxwell oversees the set up of the site, which encompasses everything from setting up tents and cleaning to much more. Bange organizes and recruits all RiversEdge volunteers, and Rose, who never misses a gig, helps scan tickets at checked-in events.
“Once a week, during the summer, we take off the pollution and garbage collection hat and put on our rock and roll hat. It’s fun for us. This is a passion project for all of us. It’s been from the start,” Helms said.
Opportunities for interns
In addition to volunteers, RiversEdge offers a paid student internship program, which was started by Andy Kirk around 2015. The program has continued to attract students interested in a career in the entertainment industry. Several of the interns were from Hamilton, while others were from Cincinnati or Dayton. Approximately five paid student interns are selected each season.
Each year, RiversEdge reaches schools such as the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Wright State University, Butler Tech School of the Arts and others, as well as nearby colleges such as the ‘Belmont University in Nashville.
Helms said one of the benefits of the internship program is that it brings a new perspective and energy to RiversEdge every year. Several of the trainees went on to pursue careers in entertainment.
“They are interested, they want to learn and that keeps us engaged. Our team loves to teach and we all love music, said Helms: “It’s a win-win situation for everyone. We have had great success with the program.
Kirk moved on to another position, but Helms said he was instrumental in the room’s growth in terms of production. Rettich, a seasonal employee, now oversees the stage, sound and lighting and he also runs the internship program.
Resident Services Group honored by the City
The Resident Services Department and RiversEdge Volunteer Team were recognized by the City of Hamilton in June 2020 for this innovation as part of Public Service Appreciation Week. These individuals have been honored by their peers for exemplifying the city’s core values by bringing live music to Hamilton.
“The city has recognized our renovation department for arranging the live concert pods, being able to produce live music safely, and no COVID cases have been traced back to RiversEdge. Our department was awarded the Innovation Prize. So it’s really just a big group of passionate people,” Helms said.
At the height of the pandemic, the Resident Services team adapted RiversEdge’s concert operations and viewing format, so Hamilton residents could safely enjoy outdoor events. At a time when healthcare mandates were rapidly changing, the Resident Services and RiversEdge team of volunteers overcame major challenges during a season when other sites canceled and postponed their events.
RiversEdge has attracted up-and-coming artists like Billy Strings, The Record Company, The Marcus King Band and many more. Big River Get Down and David Shaw’s The Whimmydiddle Country Music Festival, two iconic music festivals in Hamilton, grew out of the RiversEdge concert series.
HOW TO REGISTER
Those interested in a RiversEdge internship can email Al Rettich for details and information on how to apply at A[email protected]. Applications should be submitted in early April.