Rib Fest to feature barbecue, music
For one Indianapolis family, the last 16 Labor Day weekends have been a celebration of ribs and music.
The tradition will continue with the 17th annual Rib America Festival from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday at Military Park at White River State Park.
This year’s musical lineup will feature bands varying from George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic to Blue Oyster Cult. The Werks will perform Saturday.
“Saturday is centered more around jam band kind of music,” said Chris Lucas, marketing and social media specialist for Rib Fest. “We have a bunch of local acts that are coming as well as the bigger acts. We’re really excited about Saturday and the new music we’re doing.”
Lucas said this year’s Rib Fest will focus more on music than in the past.
“George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic are very animated, very lively,” Lucas said. “It’s always a good time. Everybody always jokes about how crazy Clinton is. It will be interesting to see him in this type of crowd.”
Lucas said The Werks, based in Ohio, are a “pretty strong scene in the Midwest.”
“I’m looking forward to going to Rib Fest,” said Rob Chafin, drummer, singer and songwriter for The Werks. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. We have a lot of good, close Indiana friends, and they’ve always said it’s fun. We’re excited to get in there, have fun, eat some ribs.”
Rib Fest, whose sponsors include Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Indiana Pork Farmers, Hoosier Mama and IU-Purdue University Indianapolis, will have at least seven businesses cooking ribs to feed the crowd.
“Food’s gonna be great, acts are gonna be great,” Lucas said.
Dave Lucas created Rib Fest in 1996 as a local family event combining summer food and music. It has grown since then, drawing musical talents as well as barbecue businesses from across the country.
“I’ve been going my entire life,” Chris Lucas said. “It’s going to be a really fun event, and we’re really excited about the musical acts we have.”
Chris Lucas graduated from IU last spring with a degree in telecommunications. Though he has always been a part of Rib Fest, he recently accepted a position working with his father in Rib Fest’s management.
“It was a great opportunity, and it is definitely the combination of music and barbecue that have made this event a self-sustaining presence in the Indianapolis market for the past 16 years,” Lucas said.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department will stage a barbeque cook off Saturday. Attendees will vote for their favorites based on samples.
“It’s the second annual IMPD versus IFD cook off,” IMPD officer Tiffany Haston said. “We each get ribs that are donated to the event, and we cook them up. We each have our own secret recipe.”
The winning team donates their cash prize to a charity of their choice. If IMPD wins, the money will go to Heather’s Voice, a domestic violence awareness charity.
Debbie Norris, Heather’s mother, created Heather’s Voice to educate teens about domestic violence after Heather was murdered by her boyfriend in 2007.
Tickets are free if purchased from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday through Monday. Tickets cost $7 otherwise.
“We had well over 300 people try our ribs last year,” Haston said. “We expect it to be a huge event this year.”
Bands to perform at Rib Fest
Duke Tumatoe and the Power Trio
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic
The Twin Cats
Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk
Hunter Smith Band
Blue Oyster Cult
The Late Show
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