David Shaw, of The Revivalists, reflects on Big River Get Down, what’s in store for weekend

HAMILTON — David Shaw’s Big River Get Down Presented by Miller Lite will kick off the 2022 RiversEdge concert season this weekend. The Journal-News spoke with David Shaw, a solo artist and frontman of The Revivalists to talk about his signature, hometown festival and what we can expect from this year’s event.

David Shaw’s Big River Get Down is slated for Friday and Saturday at RiversEdge Amphitheater. The two-day event will feature multiple bands, including a solo performance by David Shaw on Friday night and a headlining show with Shaw and the Revivalists on Saturday.

Other artists who will perform throughout the weekend will include The Record Company, Maggie Rose, Judith Hill, Karina Rykman, Chris Gelbuda and the Raelyn Nelson Band. On Friday, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, doors will open at 2:30 p.m. and the music will start at 3:30 p.m.

Q: This year, the festival will return after a two-year hiatus from COVID-19. What have been some of the personal highlights for you?

David Shaw: I have to say the first year we did it, it was just really special to see the response from the community, and how much the community rallied around it. So, that was really just a huge affirmation, like wow, this thing is needed, the people love it, and this thing is going to go. This is awesome. So, that was a special moment for me, to just realize that people were super into it, so that was cool. And, I have to say, a very special moment for me, personally, was when the city honored me with the Key to the City. That was a mind-blowing moment for me, you know. Growing up as a little skater-kid in Hamilton, I never, ever thought that I’d be receiving that honor, and I don’t take it lightly. I’ve really tried to keep that in mind, how much weight that holds, and how much the people of the city believe in me. I just want to continue to give back.

Q: We’ve talked about the fact that you brought this festival to Hamilton, but you could have taken it anywhere, why did you want to bring it to Hamilton and what does it mean to you to be able to have it in your hometown?

A: Well, I had been touring a lot of these different cities, and I realized that Hamilton was one of these places that needed something. It needed the arts. It needed that, and I think they had a little something brewing. It’s called the “City of Sculpture.” It has an edge to it, but it just needed somebody to push the needle a little bit, and I had gone to this festival in Canada, in Fredericton, New Brunswick. This town was very similar to Hamilton, and I saw how much this town thrived around this festival. It was a lightning bolt moment for me, and I was like we’ve got to do this…When I first approached Adam (Helms, the festival’s producer,) about doing the festival, I mentioned Fredericton to him, and it was this very pure moment and vision in my mind, where I was like this could be this, and all we need to do is plant the seed and it’s going to grow. Now, we’ve seen what can come of it, so it’s really special. Also, like I said, I just wanted to do something for my roots. Growing up and being a part of a small town is very much who I am, inside, still, for sure. It has shaped me in every way imaginable, so it just felt good to do.

Q: You take a hands-on approach as far as being involved with the festival. Why is that important to you?

A: First off, it’s fun. I realized if you’re not having fun in this business, then, it’s just not worth it. It’s just too tough and it’s too hard. So, whatever you do, you have to make it fun. I really enjoy going through these bands with Adam (Helms.) He’s honestly great at finding new talent. He’s an A&R guy in hiding right now. I’m telling you. Seriously, he’s got a great ear. Our tastes align, and they also complement each other. So, we picked the line-up together. I would never honestly say it that it was just me picking it, it’s very much a collaborative effort, and I enjoy it, thoroughly.

Q: David, do you remember The Revivalists first show in Hamilton, when it shows were still being held under the parking garage? What was that like for you?

A: That show, under the parking garage, is a show that I’ll never, ever forget. I’ve probably played thousands of shows, and that one is imprinted in my brain. That was when I knew that something was going on, for sure. That’s what set everything off. It was a holy sh*t moment.

Q: David Shaw’s Big River Get Down has garnered national attention. What would you say to people out that that haven’t experienced it?

A: I’d tell them to get to Hamilton to see what’s going down, because you just have to be there and be in the vibe. It’s almost like New Orleans in a sense, where everybody can have their thing that they say about it, but once you come and visit the city, you get a feeling like, okay, this is a really special place, and this place needs to be nurtured, and there’s a special energy here, and if given the right food, it can grow and turn into something truly special. I think that’s the path that we’re on right now and I just want to keep feeding that good energy.


A two-day general admission pass is $80. Single day tickets are available. The cost of a Friday only general admission ticket is $40, and a Saturday only general admission ticket is $75. For more information, visit bigrivergetdown.com and riversedgelive.com.

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