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New Alternating Currents Highlights Announced for Three Quad-Cities Downtowns

The 2021 Alternating Currents festival will showcase 120+ live performances, film screenings and art-related events from Thursday to Sunday, Aug. 19-22, at more than 30 venues across three downtown Quad Cities: Davenport, Rock Island and Moline. Designed to showcase

New Alternating Currents Highlights Announced for Three Quad-Cities Downtowns

Alternating Currents started in 2017, replacing the 12-year-old River Roots Live.

the vibrant culture of our downtown areas, the annual event features a variety of indoor and outdoor events including musical acts, film screenings, a comedy lineup and many art-inspired activities.

Alternating Currents is a festival featuring more than 60 national, regional and local acts over the four-day event at locations across Downtown Quad Cities including 25 locations in downtown Davenport. Now in its fourth year, Alternating Currents is organized by the Downtown Davenport Partnership (DDP), a division of the Quad Cities Chamber, in collaboration with local talent across our region’s creative community.

“Alternating Currents gives us an opportunity to showcase the businesses and vibrant cultures of our Downtown Quad Cities businesses while at the same time, it allows us to offer four days of great entertainment, much of it by local talent,” said Jason Gilliland, Director of Events for DDP.

All Alternating Currents performances are free to attend. Visitors are encouraged to travel from one venue to the next — easily identifiable by their yellow Alternating Currents venue signage. For the first time, Alternating Currents also will feature events at several downtown Rock Island venues as well as at Bass Street Landing in Moline. Also new this year, complimentary pedi-cab rides are being offered to help transport festival goers from one venue to the next. Pedi-cabs will be in downtown Rock Island on Thursday and downtown Davenport on Friday and Saturday.

“The best way to navigate the festival is through the Alternating Currents’ new app,” Gilliland said. “Users can craft their own festival

New Alternating Currents Highlights Announced for Three Quad-Cities Downtowns

24 downtown Davenport venues will be part of Alternating Currents.

experience and schedule that is unique. Using the app, they can ‘favorite’ an artist, click to find their performance time and location, as well as use the map to discover all of the participating venues.” To download the free app, visit alternatingcurrentsqc.com.

This year’s festival is presented by GreenState Credit Union and the Regional Development Authority (RDA).

The festival’s indoor and outdoor venues provide space for attendees to keep a safe distance. In between performances, they can explore our walkable Downtown Quad Cities and experience all the other restaurants, shops, bars and other entertainment venues.

Alternating Currents will kick off Thursday with a Mural Unveiling from 3:45-4:45 p.m. at 313 20th St., Rock Island. A blank alleyway wall is being transformed into a beautiful mural by Rock Island High School student Riley Jones in collaboration with professional muralists Dana Harrison (whose artist name is Limone) and Brandon Warner (ASPHATE). The mural is an adaptation of Jones’ artwork, originally titled “Black Pride,” that was competitively selected by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos and is displayed at the U.S. Capitol this summer. The project is part of a public art initiative of the Quad Cities Chamber and Quad City Arts.

New Alternating Currents Highlights Announced for Three Quad-Cities Downtowns

The idiosyncratic, delightfully weird Squonk “Hand to Hand” will perform outside the Davenport Skybridge Aug. 20 at 2 and 6 p.m., and Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Here’s a look at some of the Alternating Currents’ highlights:


  • Blues band Avey Grouws Band, 7 p.m., Thursday, Bass Street Landing, Moline.
  • Squonk Opera!, a group of interdisciplinary performing artists from Pittsburgh, will give three performances: 2-2:30 p.m. and 6-6:30 p.m., Friday, and 10-10:30 a.m,, Saturday, at the Davenport Skybridge parking lot. A Meet & Greet with Squonk will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, at Quad City Arts, Rock Island.
  • Punk band Radkey returns to Alternating Currents for their second appearance after just finishing a leg with the Foo Fighters 26th anniversary tour; 9:15-10 p.m., Saturday, at Lopiez’s 2nd Anniversary Party, Davenport.
  • QC COLLABS, a mixed media project consisting of an album featuring local talent, will be at 7-7:45 p.m., Saturday, River Music Experience (RME) Courtyard, Davenport. The project is led by Josh Graves of Underground Economy, a collaborative hub at the RME for creatives and entrepreneurs.


  • Mural unveiling/ceremony, 3:45-4:45 p.m., Thursday, in the alleyway by 313 20th St. Rock Island. The event will honor young artist Riley Jones and feature music by DJ Cat Dady, a spoken word performance by Aubs & Wes Julien, and remarks from other special guests.
  • Gallery opening of Mike Leinhauser and Judith Eastburn Exhibit, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday at Quad City Arts, Rock Island. The dual exhibit features a collection of black and white portraits, and landscapes by the regional artists: Leinhauser, of Bettendorf, and Eastburn, Des Moines. The event also includes a reception for the 2nd Ave. Window Exhibit featuring works by Zay Williams of Zay Creatives, Davenport.
  • Crafty Cat Indie Art Festival, an indoor fair with 130+ vendors, from 5-8 p.m., Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at the Davenport RiverCenter.
New Alternating Currents Highlights Announced for Three Quad-Cities Downtowns

The Q-C power pop band Einstein’s Sister will play Aug. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Stompbox Brewing and 11 p.m. at Mac’s Tavern.


  • Meet & Greet with Illinois Film Office, 5-7 p.m., Thursday, at Rock Island Holiday Inn. Attend a reception with Peter Hawley, the film office’s director, and Ted Reilly, founder and executive director of Chicago Media Angels.
  • Musician William Campbell, who wrote the original score for the Oscar-nominated film Hunger Wardwill perform on piano at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, and 1:30 p.m., Saturday, at the Figge Art Museum, Davenport. Campbell, a St. Ambrose University professor, also will participate in a Q & A at 4 p.m., Saturday, at the Figge.
  • The Quad Cities River Bandits will show The Sandlot, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, at Modern Woodmen Park, Davenport.
  • Alternating Currents Film Festival will showcase a variety of original films Thursday-Sunday in three different programs: family-friendly, mature audiences and experimental. Each program will host a variety of showings on multiple days. The family-friendly lineup, which will be shown at Figge Art Museum and Mockingbird on Main, both in Davenport, includes the showing of Sea Dogs, an animated short produced by Alternating Currents Comedian Spencer Louks.


  • Stand-up comedian Nick Thune from Los Angeles, will perform 9-10 p.m., Thursday, at Raccoon Motel, Davenport.

For a complete schedule of events, visit www.alternatingcurrentsqc.com

New Alternating Currents Highlights Announced for Three Quad-Cities Downtowns

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.
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