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About R&S

Interested in learning more about the Rivers & Spires Festival? Well sit back and relax, we’ve got a story for you….

Our Purpose in Life is to showcase Clarksville’s heritage, tell our history, honor our heroes and to cultivate the arts in order to promote tourism as well as have an economic impact in the community and the downtown central business district.

January 22, 1999 changed our city forever. A devastating F4 tornado ravaged Historic Downtown Clarksville. A total of 515 structures were damaged resulting in nearly $73 million in damages. From this fierce disaster arose a revitalized downtown Clarksville.

Over the next four years, rebuilding efforts were robust and culminated in the need for a celebration of this revitalized treasure. Several groups wanted to produce an event with regional appeal. From this concept, the Rivers & Festival was born.

Once you view the downtown skyline, the festival name seems obvious. Clarksville is situated at the crossroads of the Cumberland and Red Rivers. The historic downtown is dotted with churches, a courthouse, museum and other spire-riffic structures. Some of the spires were destroyed in the tornado and had to be rebuilt. The name Rivers & Spires is very representative of the beauty and appeal of our community.

Over the past thirteen years a LOT has been learned about the festival business. First off, we know how important it is to keep this even FREE and OPEN to the public. No gate fees, no hidden charges. Food and drink ticket purchases are required if desired, but that’s it. This leaves our event as one of the largest and most economical family events in the Southeast. We’ve also brought in some great performers. Past headliners include Lee Greenwood, Diamond Rio, Charlie Daniels Band, Clint Black and an appearance by Miss U.S.A Rachel Smith.

Of course we have hit some hurdles. A few times…

But these obstacles and threats to our sanity were quickly overcome and we still produce a rockin’ event.

Don’t take our word for it. The festival continuously receives top awards from many regional, national and international associations.  Past awards include the prestigious International Festivals & Events Association’s Gold Grand Pinnacle award and the State of Tennessee’s Tourism Spotlight Award. The festival has also been recognized as among the “Top 100 Events in North America” by the American Bus Association and “Top 20 Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society. Recently we were also awarded top honors from the Southeast Festival and Events Association.

It takes over 35 committees and 600+ volunteers joining forces for this 3-day machine to shine. No doubt, a community-driven, community-focused event. The Rivers & Spires Festival has become the premier event in our city and region. Since its inception, the festival has proven Clarksville can bounce back from anything.

For more information about the festival contact Theresa Harrington, 931-245-4343 or email:

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Are you a Festival Director looking to further develop your event?  Then contact us today to set up a “Behind the Scenes” look at how we operate.



Fabulous Sponsors
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