Keokuk Rocks the Arts this Saturday

June 7, 2017

KEOKUK - The Keokuk Rocks the Arts Festival has booked three major acts in a variety of musical genres for performances on Saturday, June 10 – Denny Diamond, John Waite and Hell’s/Bells.

“With all the activities going on during Keokuk Rocks the Arts, it will be hard to choose a favorite – you’ll think you have gone to sleep and woke up in Chicago,” said Kirk Brandenberger, executive director of the Keokuk Area Convention and Tourism Bureau.

Single tickets are available for individual shows or a pass for all three.

Denny Diamond

Denny Diamond and the Jewels will pay tribute to Neil Diamond from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Grand Theatre, 26 N. Sixth St.

Since his appearance on Dick Clark’s television show “Your Big Break” in 2000, Denny has become one of the most sought after Neil Diamond tribute artists in the country. Joined by his sons Lucas and Spenser, Denny performs Neil’s tunes, plus a few from other favorites of that era, from Elvis and Johnny Cash to Glen Campbell, Buddy Holly and Ricky Nelson. The show is full of comedy and family fun.

The performance is co-sponsored by the Keokuk Concert Association, Keokuk Fine Arts Council and Keokuk Rocks the Arts committee.

Single tickets are $20 each, available at the tourism bureau at 428 Main St., or free for Concert Association season ticket-holders.

John Waite

British-born rock star John Waite has written, recorded and performed some of the most enduring popular music for more than 35 years. He will take the stage from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Grand Theatre.

Waite’s musical career began when he was tapped as bassist and lead vocalist for the Babys, who rocketed to Top 20 chart positions with “Isn’t it Time” and “Every Time I Think of You.”

Waite later launched a solo career, ignited by the release of “Ignition,” which featured the single, “Change.” That song rode the AOR charts for weeks in 1982.

His next solo effort, 1984’s “No Brakes,” did exactly what the title inferred, barreling at runaway train speed to international acclaim and U.S. platinum success thanks to the smash hit, “Missing You,” which did not stop until it reached No. 1 on the Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles, Album Rock Tracks and Adult Contemporary charts.

Continuing to evolve as both a songwriter and formidable stage presence, many hits followed. Waite’s “If Anybody Had a Heart” appeared on the soundtrack to the 1986 motion picture, “About Last Night,” starring Demi Moore.

In 1988, a reunion with former Babys bandmates resulted in the Waite-fronted supergroup, Bad English. The group’s 1989 ballad, “When I See You Smile,” went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and was certified Gold. The album reached Top Five and sold more than two million units in the U.S. alone. Bad English released two albums before breaking up in 1992.

Since returning to the recording studio and concert trek as a solo artist in 1995, Waite has produced a string of records, including a duet with bluegrass legend Allison Krauss.

Single tickets are $35 each, available at the tourism bureau.


For 20 years and counting, Hell’s/Bells has been a widely recognized tribute to AC/DC. The group will perform at 9:30 p.m. at the Keokuk Yacht Club, 2029 Mississippi River Road, Keokuk.

Touring 42 states, 50 weeks per year, Hell’s/Bells salutes the driving force of AC/DC.

“With authentic costuming, the look, the sound and all of the crazy antics of Angus Young, Hell’s/Bells is total energy, absolute adrenaline – the most complete party experience acclaimed across the United States, Honduras, Mexico, Trinidad and Europe by many die-hard fans,” according to promotional materials. “Hear all the hits of both singers, Bon Scott and Brian Johnson. If you can’t have AC/DC, get the next best thing.”

Single tickets are $20 each, available at the tourism bureau.

$50 passes available

A $50 pass includes admission to all three shows, plus the Wine Over Water/Brews on the Bridge event hosted by Keokuk Main Street Inc. on June 10. Passes are available at the tourism bureau or the Keokuk Hy-Vee.

Rocks the Arts

The Rocks the Arts Festival “has been a real collaborative effort, with over 10 organizations and 40 individuals involved in the planning stages,” Brandenberger said. “With indoor and outdoor activities, the central committee tried to make Keokuk Rocks the Arts enjoyable for all who attend.”

During the three-day event, several musicians also will entertain at the Keokuk Union Depot on June 9 and 10, and McNamara’s Band will perform at 2 p.m. June 11 at the Rand Park Pavilion. There is no charge for the depot and pavilion events.

“All the activities are quality,” Brandenberger said. “The Tourism Bureau would like to see the festival return on a yearly basis.”

For more information, call 524-5599 or visit Facebook.com/KeokukRockstheArtsFestival.