Country Music Alumni

America’s River Festival in Dubuque has hosted many talented acts throughout the years.  Since 2005, Dubuque has been bringing in names like Sam Hunt, Justin Moore, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brett Eldredge, and many more.  Some bands were up and coming at the time but now have their spot on the main stage of country music.

Lady Antebellum-cropped

Lady Antebellum was formed in 2006 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The band performed in Dubuque’s 2008 River Festival, a year before they had their first number one hit single “I Run to You”.  Lady Antebellum has since gone on to win numerous Grammy’s, Teen Choice Awards, American Music Awards, and People’s Choice Awards including: Best Country Album, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Song, and many more!

Little Big Town

Little Big Town performed at 2008’s River festival as well.  They have been nominated for many awards since 2006, but won their first award in 2011 for Vocal Group of the Year at the Country Music Awards.  Other awards for Music Video of the year, Vocal Group of the Year, and Single of the Year are just a few of what this band has accomplished.

Kellie Pickler_Color

After reaching the top 12 on American Idol, 19-year-old Kellie Pickler’s singing career took off running.  She was eliminated in 2006, and went on to win the Songwriter Award for “Red High Heels” in 2007.  She performed at the 2008 River Festival, which was in the same year that she won numerous awards for her song “I Wonder”.


Dierks Bentley has also been nominated and won many awards for his country music.  His song “What Was I Thinkin” won the Breakthrough Video of the Year award in 2004, and “Drunk on a Plane” won the CMA award for Video of the Year in 2014.  Another alum, Brett Eldrege won new Artist of the Year award from the Country Music Association Awards in 2014, and so did alum, Justin Moore.

Sam Hunt Photo

Singer/songwriter and one of Nashville’s hottest acts, Sam Hunt, joined the alum ranks after his 2015 America’s River Festival performance. Known for his unique blend of country and r&b, Hunt has soared to the top of country charts with songs like “Leave the Night On.” Though his career as a singer may have just started climbing, he started off as a successful songwriter for artists like Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, and Billy Currington. Hunt won New Artist of the Year Award at the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards and is nominated in 2016 for Album of the Year and Single Record of the Year for “Take Your Time”.