The first Rollin' on the River Festival in 1989 featured Buddy Holly's Crickets. In the second year, the festival moved downriver to Keokuk's Hubinger Landing and featured a reunion of hometown bands. The third year, the festival received a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which gave organizers a needed financial boost and the blues was chosen as the primary music format. The Festival was moved to historic Victory Park, where it remains today.
The event is the longest running blues festival, and the only one of its kind in the Tri State Area. Thru the years "Rollin' on the River" has presented some of the finest blues musicians around, including Magic Slim, Jimmy Thackery, Studebaker John, Joanna Conner, Lonnie Brooks, Bernard Allison, Buckwheat Zydeco and Doyle Bramhall, just to name a few!