by Jessica Waytenick •

Contact - Jessica Waytenick, 800-747-7800, ext. 827 or

Quad Cities - More than grain, lumber, and coal traveled up and down the river--the mighty Mississippi also brought music. Jazz flowed from New Orleans and Memphis; blues from the delta; bluegrass from the farms; and songs from the fiddlers from the North Woods.

A young Louis Armstrong received valuable musical training working in dance bands aboard excursion steamboats in the early 20th century. Davenport’s native son and jazz legend, Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke, learned how to play jazz from the musicians on the steamboats that would dock here. It was said that people could always tell when Bix was playing the boat’s calliope. Louie Bellson, a graduate of Moline High School, was an internationally-acclaimed drummer and artist who performed in most of the major capitals around the world. Only behind Bob Hope, Bellson and his late wife Pearl Bailey, have the second highest number of White House appearances. Bellson sadly passed away in February 2009.

"The Quad Cities has a long affiliation with live music," said Ellis Kell of the River Music Experience, and accomplished musician himself. "We've hosted a wealth of renowned musicians here throughout the years."

The Coloseum Ballroom in Davenport has been a staple of the Midwest music scene since its birth in 1914. Somewhere along the way, the Col (as it is most often referred to) transformed from musical staple into a legendary musical venue. The list of musicians that have performed there is a who's who history lesson with names such as Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Duke Ellington, The Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra.

The Quad Cities has always had a special place in its heart for music. And it's putting itself on the cultural map as a place for tunes in the Midwest with nationally recognized music events like the annual IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in July, Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival in July, River Roots Live in August, Quad City Symphony's Pops Concert in September, and numerous festivals in Rock Island celebrating music as diverse as reggae, ska and zydeco. Today, not a summer weekend goes by without a festival centered on music.

Along with the festivals, there are always places to hear live music. According to a study done in 2004, the Quad Cities as a region ranks above the national average on things to do after 5 p.m.

The River Music Experience in downtown Davenport, Iowa, features local,regional, and national touring acts on a weekly basis.  The RME also offers live music for free inthe on-site café from 12-1 pm Monday-Friday, and other evening special concertsand events throughout the week. 

The iWireless Center, a 12,000-seat, world-class facility in Moline, Illinois, and the Adler Theatre in Davenport, Iowa, both bring in national touring concerts. Also local coffee houses, bars, and restaurants frequently showcase the region's musical talents with live music of all genres.

One example is the Rock Island Brewing Company (RIBCO) in downtown Rock Island that has been the Quad Cities leader in live entertainment for 30 years. They are dedicated in providing quality music for with a well rounded scope of music on their jam-packed music calendar.

Also, the Quad City Symphony was one of the first symphonies established west of the Mississippi River. It has enjoyed almost 100 years of performances and visiting soloists. The regular concert season performances are the first weekends in October through April.

Joined by the Mississippi River, Moline/East Moline and Rock Island are the riverfront cities in Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport make up the cities on the Iowa side of the river. Together, these cities and the surrounding communities make up the Quad Cities.

Along with music, the Quad Cities is also known for its abundance of special events, festivals, attractions, museums, biking/hiking trails, river boats, gaming, golf, outdoor recreation, historical attractions, shopping, performances, professional sports teams, restaurants, and, of course, the Mississippi River.

For information on the Quad Cities area, call the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at

When You Go
River Music Experience
129 Main St., Davenport, IA

iWireless Center
1201 River Dr., Moline, IL

Adler Theatre
136 E. 3rd St., Davenport, IA

Rock Island Brewing Company (RIBCO)
1815 2nd Avenue, Rock Island, IL

Mississippi Valley Blues Society
Festival in July

Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Society
Festival in August

River Roots Live
Festival in August

Quad City Symphony
Pops Concert in September

The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District
100 19th St., Suite 109, Rock Island, IL


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