Festival raises money to keep local rivers clean

Allen Wallace photos.

There are not many festivals where attendees can enjoy live music and food and learn about macro-invertebrates, but Columbia’s annual River Rocks offers it all.

Justin Townes Earle was the main attraction at this year’s event along the Congaree River next to Founders Park, but the day offered many others along with the headliner.

Live music began at 1 p.m. and continued into the evening, with The Dubber, Stagbriar, Little Stranger, and The Artisanals serving as openers for Earle as a cloudy morning gave way to a warm and sunny afternoon.

“It’s just a perfect day to be out here, and Justin Townes Earle is amazing,” said Kellie Pearson. “And knowing the money goes to keep the river clean makes me even gladder that we decided to come.”

Proceeds from the event benefit Congaree Riverkeeper, a local nonprofit devoted to protecting and improving “water quality, wildlife habitat, and recreation on the Congaree, Lower Saluda, and Lower Broad Rivers through advocacy, education, and enforcement of environmental laws,” according to the organization’s website.

Local artists and other vendors were on hand, along with food trucks offering a wide variety of refreshments. The Riverkeeper and other organizations provided tables with educational materials about the rivers and the life they support.

The Center for Birds of Prey also offered a live demonstration including baby owls, who proved to be quite a crowd pleaser.

More information about Congaree Riverkeeper’s mission is available online.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment, Columbia, Richland County

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