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Llano Rock’n Riverfest canceled

Llano River dam

Severe drought conditions have forced the city of Llano to cancel Rock’n Riverfest, a multi-day event featuring personal watercraft races on the Llano River. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Llano’s annual summer watersports festival, the Rock’n Riverfest, has been canceled due to severe drought conditions. The festival was to be held July 1-3 at Badu Park. 

Llano County is experiencing the second-driest year to date in the 128 years that conditions have been recorded, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. These conditions led Mayor Pro Tem Kara Gilliland and the city’s Water and Wastewater Department to call off the event. 

Rock’n Riverfest features personal watercraft racing, live music, and vendors, drawing in a big crowd that generates a lot of action for local businesses. Vendors set to participate in the festival will be refunded their site fees and the Jettribe Mid America Water X Championship race will be moved to another location.

“The biggest concern, as you can see with the river, is that it is not flowing,” said Matt Hilton, a Christmas Lighting Committee member.

Hilton was referencing the lack of water coming over the dam in Llano. This lack of flow is a concern because any fuel spillage from the personal watercraft could potentially remain in Llano’s drinking water until the river spills over the dam.

In an effort to salvage the weekend, the Christmas Lighting Committee, Llano Chamber of Commerce, and Llano Main Street board are planning to hold some activities on Saturday, July 2. A children’s parade on the courthouse square and non-motorized boat parade at Badu Park will take place at 7 p.m. A fireworks display is also planned pending approval from the Llano Volunteer Fire Department.