History & Mission

The first Rock the River event was held in June of 2015. The original goal was to provide a complementary event on the same day as the ACA's Great Rappahannock whitewater canoe race, which is now celebrating its 40th year! The RTR planning committee wanted to bring together the many people who enjoy and benefit from the rappahannock river either through tourism, business development, recreation, or cultural influence.

The event offers opportunities for local vendors to meaningfully engage with the community, Musicians, food vendors, craft breweries, artists, and community organizations partcipate to network, present their products to the public, and to show their support of the community. Excluding the beer garden, the rock the river event is free to everyone; this illustrates the event's commitment to family-friendly, fun, and inclusive experiences for everyone.

rock the river is organized by a committee comprised of non-profits and for-profit business owners. Event partners include representatives from the American Canoe Association (ACA), Adventure Brewing Co., Virginia Outdoor Center (VOC), Gravatt Productions, and Fred Events, LLC.

Direct Impact to the Community: Rock the River and its supporting events donate to seven different local charities; past years’ events have donated over $10,000. The event planning committee values its community partners and invites local vendors, musicians, and craft brewers to participate in the event prior to extending invitations to others. Non-profit organziations are not charged to host a vendor booth and artisans / artists who do not have brick-and-mortar operations are charged minimal fees to participate. 

Designations: We are pleased to announce that Rock the River is a certified Virginia Green Event. This designation is equally important to our partners and vendors. Rock the River is committed to minimizing environmental impacts and selecting vendors that will help promote and increase environmental awareness. Not only will this set a great example for event visitors but will also shed a positive light on the causes valued by the participating vendors and sponsors.  Event staff host a park and river clean-up event the morning after the festival. The goal is to present the park back to the city of Fredericksburg in better shape than it was received. The Rock the River committee takes pride in being designated a Virginia Green Event and good steward of city resources.