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Mississippi River Festival making a comeback

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - It might be a 40-year-old memory for Michael 'Supe' Granda, founding member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, but it feels like yesterday; now he's getting to relive it.

“We played the Mississippi River Festival three or four times,” Granda said. “Once it was with the Guess Who, once with Doug Kershaw, and once our opening act was a young singer by the name of Jimmy Buffett.”

From 1969 until 1980, the Mississippi River Festival was a music mainstay on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. From Janis Ian to James Taylor, everyone who was anyone in the music world played the outdoor stage at the MRF.

“The Who, The Grateful Dead, Jackson Browne, and folk artists like Linda Ronstadt and then the St. Louis Symphony, that was their summer home,” said Terry Perkins, Carmen Concerts promoter.

“It was the St. Louis version of Woodstock, except it went on for 11 years instead of three days,” Granda said.

Monday afternoon in the KSHE-95 studios, some musicians and music fans gathered to talk about recapturing that MRF memory with the MRF Revisited.

“One night I was lying in bed, I had just fell asleep and it was boom, Mississippi River Festival Revisited,” says David Thomason, Carmen Concerts founder. “So it just hit me and the next morning I was up trying to figure out everything I needed to get done.”

Mother Nature won't be a factor in the re-imagined MRF because the Meridian Ballroom will be home to the first two shows, featuring Pure Prairie League and Poco. Carmen Concerts, the promoter behind the revisited idea, said more shows in other venues will be announced soon.

“Recreating something that was great we know we can’t capture exactly,” Perkins said. “But music is a wonderful thing and it creates wonderful memories and we want to create some new wonderful memories.”

That's what happens when you connect daredevils, dreams, and memory lane.