Ohio River Revival
IRONTON — He’s a registered respiratory therapist in North Carolina by day, but by night, veteran music lover and promoter Bob Delong has been thinking of ways to breathe new life into his hometown.
Delong, an Ironton native who is best known on the regional music scene for helping start and book the now-gone Appalachian Uprising festival for several years, is back with a new one-day-only, progressive bluegrass and old-string band music festival set for this summer.
The Ohio River Revival will take place on Saturday, June 29, at the Ironton Riverfront.
Delong has already booked a handful of well-known regional jamming string bands including Asheville’s red-hot Town Mountain, festival favorite progressive blugrasss unit, Restless Leg String Band, The Shelf Life String Band out of Pittsburgh, and Knockin’ Spirits out of Portsmouth, Ohio. Several other regional string bands and artists are TBA.
“Here’s a sweet little awesome show that is just a start,” Delong said. “I want to have eight to 10 bands and just one day where you can come down to the river or boat up and sit on the boat and listen to the music.”
Delong said he is making the show free but will have beer sales to help pay for the bands. He is also currently seeking a handful of presenting sponsors as well as a few food vendors as well.
“We’re having a free show for families and for kids,” Delong said. “I still
love my town and we can put on a great show. It is such a beautiful environment on the river.”
Delong said he hopes that Ohio River Revival will not only bring in music fans from around the region to come to Ironton to stay the night and bring in tourism, but that also he will be able to establish this as an annual festival to be able to give money back to the city as well.
“In the Tri-State you see the riverfront has been rebuilt in Ashland and Huntington, but Ironton could use a little more love,” Delong said. “Our whole goal with this is trying to create funds for things like repainting the murals on the floodwall, and lights on the boat dock. I’ve talked to the mayor and anytime we can create any type of money and proceeds to give back to the town and back to the Tri-State it’s a good thing. We have other ideas to expound on this, we’re just getting it started and will go from there.”
Delong said he wants Ohio River Revival to be a positive festival that helps spread good vibes, good energy and more hope into the city with a sharing of good music, art, food and friends down on the river.
“We have beautiful people and talented artists and strong individuals offset by some of our brothers and sisters who are on a path of depression and it is easy to get that way with every single dollar going to get high,” Delong said. “A lot of those folks and they need a venue to present, something to look forward to and something to give them hope.”
If you would like to help sponsor Ohio River Revival or are interested in vending or volunteering, please call Bob Delong at 740-550-2002 or email theohioriverre-